Appetite grows for in-app shopping

Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are quickly becoming a favoured destination for shoppers, according to research which revealed a 38 per cent rise in the consumers who place high importance the ability to discover new brands and purchase directly on these channels.

Bazaarvoice’s annual Shopper Experience Index, which surveyed more than 500 retailers and 2,000 consumers in the UK, US, France and Germany, also showed a growing appetite for visual content across platforms, with 91 per cent of UK brands saying this makes online shopping experience more engaging.

A similar majority of respondents pointed to the importance of engaging visual content when it comes to enhancing discoverability (86 per cent), deepening brand trust (77 per cent) and increasing conversion rates (73 per cent).

The findings come after Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, announced that the social media giant was shifting its focus away from the news feed - the main source of product ads on the platform - towards encrypted and ephemeral Snapchat-style messaging.

It comes after Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, launched in-app checkout as part of its big push into retail, offering brands an opportunity to release a visually rich customer journey from browsing to checkout entirely based in the app.

The study showed that visual content created and shared through social platforms carries huge value to brands in the wider ecosystem, with 27 per cent of UK-based brands featuring visual content from social media on product pages, and more than half (53 per cent) planning to in the near future.

Joe Rohrlich, chief revenue officer at Bazaarvoice, said: “The retail landscape has continued to shift over the last year, as modern consumers seek unique shopping experiences, new engagement and purchase channels and an increased level of brand and product transparency and authenticity.

“Brands and retailers that recognise these evolving preferences and deliver informative, interactive experiences online and offline can both retain their existing customers and attract new ones,” he concluded.

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