Personalizing the ecommerce experience is a top-tier priority for brands looking to connect with their customers on a deeper level. The next evolution of online shopping is providing customized routes for consumers to “choose their own adventure” when making online purchases. Enter: Shoppable Media.
Now, online shoppers can shop directly from the kind of media they like to consume, and when and where they like to consume it. Here we’ll guide you through the different types of shoppable content being used today and how user-generated content (UGC) and social media play a role in the growth of shoppable media.
What is shoppable content?
Let’s start by defining shoppable content. To break it down even further, first, how do we define shoppable? In the simplest terms, shoppable means that you can directly make a purchase. Shoppable content is when a consumer can click on a digital asset, whether that be a blog, video, photo, social media post, etc., and make a purchase from there. Ideally, brands want their shoppable content to allow the entire transaction to happen simply by clicking on the content, but for some platforms, shoppers still need to be redirected to a brand website to actually checkout.
While most people associate content marketing with the B2B space, ecommerce and retail B2C brands should also have a content marketing strategy in place - one that includes shoppable video content considerations.
Types of shoppable content with examples
There are several options out there for creating shoppable content. Depending on the brand and what kind of digital marketing tech it uses, where its customers are looking to shop online (ex: social commerce, video commerce, etc.) and other factors, finding the right fit for creating shoppable content shouldn’t be too hard. Here are the general types of shoppable content.
Shoppable social media posts. Popular social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest all offer shoppable feed posts to help enhance your social commerce strategy. The product image or videos in these social posts are “clickable” and allow shoppers to purchase what they clicked on immediately. This is a highly effective way to create shoppable content using familiar social media tools. An example of Instagram shopping posts would be when a beauty brand adds an image to their Instagram feed in which the products are all price-tagged and clickable, shoppers immediately are taken to the website to make a purchase. Keep in mind Instagram shopping posts can also be conducted through influencer marketing, where a brand ambassador can create a shoppable post on their own feed that drives consumers back to a merchant's ecommerce site.
Shoppable social reels. With short-form video still coming in as one of the most engaged-with types of digital content, social media reels are an ideal place for brands to insert some social commerce content. Brands and creators who have an Instagram Shop or Facebook Shop can also tag their products within the reels they create. Once consumers click through on the tag, they’re redirected to the brand website to complete the purchase. Note that Instagram delineates an Instagram Story (which are featured in small, bite-sized formats at the top of the app) versus an Instagram Reel (which is shared in feed or in Reel-specific feeds) - both both formats can be used to create shoppable video content.
Shoppable online articles. Long-form content still has a place in ecommerce. Bloggers, influencers and review websites that provide longer-winded information about an industry or product can feature clickable buttons for shoppers to make a purchase. An example here could be when an outdoor adventure brand has its tent reviewed by an industry influencer, the long-form review article contains a clickable link for shoppers to buy the product. This can also include paid content (advertorial style).
Shoppable ads. This might sound redundant. But when we talk about a shoppable ad we mean that the platform in which the ad is running is hooked up to an ecommerce tool allowing a way for online shoppers to make a direct purchase. An example would be a shoppable video ad that shows up on a user’s Instagram feed that looks similar to organic posts, but as a shoppable Instagram post gets attention and earns a click-through to learn more about the product and make a purchase. Other formats include an image, text overlay, a collection ad, or interactive scrollables and grids.
Shoppable user generated content(UGC). There’s no better way for a brand to gain social proof and credibility than by having real customers or influencers post about its product. Creating shoppable UGC taps into comments, reviews, posts, blogs and testimonials about a brand’s product or service. An example would be to gather customer testimonials about specific products and feature them in a social media post where the products are tagged and shoppable, or, collaborate with an influencer to have them publish shoppable (sponsored) content about the brand’s products.
Shoppable video. As opposed to shoppable reels, we mean longer-form video content or live streaming when we talk about shoppable video. An example could be a YouTube brand video about a product launch. This longer (5-10 minutes) form video will dive deep into the product’s backstory and features and have clickable links to make a purchase from within the video. It could be consumed live or pre-recorded. You can place shoppable video just about anywhere. For example, you could include an interactive video on a product page, collection, home page, or a specific gallery (keep reading!)
Shoppable galleries. A shoppable gallery basically emulates the feel of an Instagram Reels feed or a TikTok feed, and lets consumers browse through a collection of videos on a merchant's website. These videos are enhanced with product tags that let customers navigate directly to a specific product. Want to try creating your own free shoppable galleries? Check out GhostRetail's free shoppable video tool here.
The top 7 benefits of investing in shoppable content.
A pretty obvious outcome of giving customers a way to handily shop from within digital media content is increased sales. After all, you are meeting them where they love to scroll—the convenience alone is a reason to jump on the shoppable content train. But growing sales isn’t the only benefit of leveraging shoppable media. Here’s what we feel are the top benefits of investing in shoppable content.
1. Improved customer experience (CX)
Let’s be honest, shoppable content is fun for customers, is easy to use, and meets them where they spend their time online. Plus brands can pair it with solid customer service tools to make the experience even smoother. Additionally, statistics show that social media is overwhelmingly where Millennials and Gen Z discover and research products and services before making purchase decisions.
2. Super-charged brand loyalty
Shoppable content is engaging and it draws in customers who want to spend time researching a brand before they commit to a purchase. Through shoppable media, brands get to tell the stories behind their products, feature testimonials and real-life use cases plus broadcast a wider view of the company. These kinds of interactions help build brand loyalty and trust.
3. Close sales quickly
As we already mentioned, the convenience of shoppable content is unbeatable. Having a one-stop-shop for shoppers to research products, hear about other customers’ experiences with them, watch demos and live stream videos AND make the purchase all in one place shortens the buyer’s journey and sales funnel. More sales, on a shorter timeline.
4. Better insights
It’s all about customer data, right? By using shoppable media, companies can track buyer behavior before, during and after a purchase and get a much more well-rounded view of customers using in-depth insights. They can also take a deep dive into which campaigns or products performed the best, worst, and why.
5. Better conversion rates
Compared to static, traditional content, targeted shoppable content and shoppable ads makes the entire sales process much more personalized. In a best case scenario, what is being shown to the online shopper is super relevant (plus, that convenience we mentioned) which leads to better conversion rates all around.
6. Higher customer engagement on your site; not social media
The average social media session is up to 20x longer than a typical ecommerce session. But shoppable media can help claw back some of that time spent on a social media platform, by making your ecommerce site feel like a ‘place to be’ by offering similar experiences such as interactive video, shoppable galleries, or user generated content.
7. Improved brand awareness
There are a million and one ecommerce brands out there - but creating shoppable content can be a way to set your brand apart and give it some serious personality. There's even the potential for shoppable content to go viral, helping to boost brand awareness and people are both entertained while educated about your brand.
How to drive conversions from shoppable media
There are several tactics to use to drive conversions from shoppable media. After all, getting a click on an item is great, but it’s what happens after that makes the sale. Shoppers should be encouraged to engage with the shoppable content from start to finish, and feel confident hitting checkout.
Make it easy to purchase. The more hoops that customers have to jump through to make a purchase, the more the chance to lose them along the way. Work with platforms that take the least amount of clicks for consumers to browse the product and make the purchase.
Make your return policy known. When shoppers can easily recognize that returns are possible, and (hopefully) easy, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
Partner with influencers. When shoppers see influencers they admire and trust promoting a brand, they are more likely to make a purchase. This kind of influencer marketing and UGC is paramount for building a shoppable media strategy that works. Brands should consider working both with popular influencers and when appropriate, smaller, niche influencers to tap into more kinds of audiences.
Feature items with a variety of price points. This is smart—brands shouldn’t alienate online shoppers with lower budgets by only featuring premium, higher-priced items. By also pushing affordable and mid-range products, their efforts will cast a wider net and attract a higher volume of customers.
Choose formats your followers like to engage with. If a brand knows that its video content pretty much always performs better than static images—why would it choose a less-engaged-with format for its shoppable posts? That wouldn’t make sense. Companies should strengthen content marketing efforts by designing shoppable content in customers’ favourite kinds of media. Need help? Look at social media insights and analytics to see the most popular formats.
These tips are a great way to get started designing the shoppable content that is most useful for a brand and its specific audience.
Tools to get started with shoppable content
When we talk about getting started with shoppable content we don’t just mean finding the right shoppable media platform. Organizations looking to begin their journey of creating shoppable posts should build a toolkit of useful partners that can help shape a well-thought-out content marketing strategy anchored in shoppable media and attractive visuals.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of shoppable media commerce tools we think are helpful to create, track, share and execute shoppable media campaigns. It also never hurts to have the right customer support in place when it comes to investing in shoppable media.
For those looking to dip a toe into shoppable content and already using Instagram, there are a few ways you can create shoppable media there. Main feed posts, stories, reels and ads are all able to become shoppable content on Instagram. U.S.-based users with an Instagram business or creator account, once connected to a Facebook business page, can create shoppable content. There are a few more steps to get through and a final approval process, but once you’re set up, you can tag your products in posts and stories, making them clickable to your audience. And, with the Instagram Checkout feature, shoppers can check out without even leaving the app. (Another feature only available in the U.S. market.)
Previously, you could also make shoppable live video content with Instagram Live, however, Meta has rolled back that feature as of March 2023–they will be sunsetting the Live Shopping feature on March 16.
Another way to experiment with shoppable content is through a Pinterest account. Commerce profiles on Pinterest are able to create a shoppable pin with product information like price and inventory. Brand profiles on Pinterest can also create a Shop on their account by featuring shoppable products on their profile. This social media platform is easy to use from both the seller’s and buyer’s perspectives.
Hootsuite Scheduling Tool
With Hootsuite, you can schedule and publish shoppable Instagram posts. This is a great tool to have in a marketing tech stack as it saves loads of time to schedule out shoppable content. Brands can tap into the analytics features and AI-driven insights to round out shoppable media strategies.
Adobe Express for Design
A wonderful tool for those looking to design social media-specific shoppable posts using handy templates. Having guidance on how to connect with shoppers through visuals is a huge asset. Plus, this tool offers video and photo editing.
Brands Collab Manager
Facebook’s tool for working with influencers makes it super easy for brands to collaborate on shoppable content and social commerce posts with the right people. Here, brands can search out influencers to work with and influencers can look for companies as well. All you need to get started is a business / commerce or creator account on Facebook.
YouTube for Shoppable Ads
Brands already using YouTube as a marketing tool may want to check out the shoppable features. By syncing a Google Merchant Center feed to video ads on YouTube, brands can make their ads shoppable by sending viewers to their website to learn more about the product or service featured. This is a great way for marketing teams to experiment with shoppable media using a tool they are already familiar with.
GhostRetail Free Shoppable Video Tool
GhostRetail already offers an unparalleled owned live video co-shopping experience, one truly designed to simulate what it’s like to be in a store with an actual associate, and now they’re rolling out shoppable video.
GhostRetail’s shoppable video tool is in the beta stages, but you can sign up now to get early access. With GhostRetail, users can create shoppable video using existing video assets built for social media or their website. They can link products to a website and easily embed shoppable videos anywhere. The tool will be free and will remain free—forever. This is a great option for anyone looking to first get started creating shoppable video and who might need customer support along the way.
Take advantage of this way to experiment or get started with your shoppable content strategy. If you want to learn more about shoppable video, or live shopping, get in touch and we’d be happy to walk you through a demo.