The New Retail Formula to Leverage Social Media as a Purchasing Channel

Retail, formerly the exclusive domain of brick-and-mortar stores, expanded many years ago to include e-commerce. New retail has expanded again and now includes social commerce and livestream commerce as well. Many attributes of Switzerland and the Swiss people make us an ideal audience to target with new retail initiatives.

What is Social Commerce?

Social Commerce Instagram

Social commerce differs from social media marketing in that users are able to make purchases directly through social media networks, rather than being redirected to an online store. Social commerce makes the link between social media storytelling and revenue generation with clever shoppable features like:

  • Swipe up
  • Linked shoppable product catalogues
  • Temporary flash promotions

With well-structured campaigns, brands can leverage social commerce to engage with potential customers and drive revenue.

Social Commerce is on the Rise

In Switzerland, the social commerce industry is expected to grow by 26.7% annually.

Social commerce capabilities and features are evolving and advancing quickly. Platforms and influencers alike are investing in social commerce and experimenting with new approaches. In July 2021, Pinterest announced its first set of tools to let content creators earn money with affiliate links.

TikTok introduced Shopping Ads, a new three-in-one commerce ad solution with new formats brands can adopt and combine: Video Shopping Ads, Catalog Listing Ads, and LIVE Shopping Ads. Shopping Ads aims to simplify the media buying experience and include new automation features. Billions are spent annually on TikTok live-stream commerce in China. TikTok is still working through its livestream commerce integration, in efforts to increase uptake with western viewers, and published a new overview of the brand opportunities of TikTok Live. 

The Washington Post recently wrote about how more Gen Z and millennial shoppers are turning to TikTok and Instagram to find and buy gifts. For example, TikToker Savannah Baron can make as much as $5,000 per month from affiliate links and brand deals. 
Jens Knossalla alias “Knossi” recently hosted a gaming event on behalf of Kaufland. The event, live-streamed on Twitch, also included his streamer colleagues Sascha Hellinger (Unsympathisch TV), Starlet Nova, SelfieSandra, Sascha Huber, Shpendi, and Aaron Troschke. The theme was that all guests are on Santa’s “naughty list” and must convince him otherwise in order to celebrate with Kaufland’s mulled wine. More than 661,000 spectators followed the event live.

Livestream Commerce

Livestream commerce as part of social commerce

Livestream commerce is a specific type of social commerce. With livestream shopping, consumers are able to interact with the host in real-time and make purchases directly through the live video promotion. With the immediacy of the interactions, livestream shopping helps brands connect with consumers and reduces barriers to purchase.

Livestream commerce is also on the rise. Surveys show more than 40% of European consumers are interested in buying electronics during livestreams on e-commerce sites or apps, and 34% are interested in fashion shopping via social media livestreaming. Amazon has begun paying a sales commission to influencers on products featured in its livestreams. 

Swiss retailer About You is presenting the latest styles via regular live streams hosted by popular influencers. On 8 December, the “NIKE Gift Guide” hosted by Nardos also included a special Christmas surprise. Betty Bossi also features live shopping events with themes such as spicy cooking and grilling. According to Forrester Research, 70% of European shoppers are interested in at least one form of “shoppertainment,” defined as, “an emerging form of e-commerce that provides consumers with a more personal, interactive, and engaging shopping experience by leveraging pictures, videos, interactive games, and/or livestream events to ultimately drive transactions.” Social commerce and livestreams present an opportunity for additional revenue for brands and influencers alike.

Social Commerce in Switzerland

Switzerland is an ideal location for e-commerce and social commerce. As of 2022, the internet user penetration rate in Switzerland was 91%. Additionally, Swiss people can rely on the local delivery infrastructure. “In 2021, sales in Switzerland of Swiss online retailers continued to grow faster than those of their foreign counterparts. In total, Swiss residents spent CHF 13 billion ($13.35 billion) in local online shops in 2021, and around CHF 2.1 billion ($2.16 billion) in foreign online shops.”

Social Media is a Prime Purchasing Channel

A brand’s social media profiles have become some of their most essential storefronts. Among millennials and Gen Z, social media is becoming a prime purchasing channel. 97% of Gen Z consumers use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration. Additionally, data generated by social commerce platforms can also provide insights that can be used to optimize campaigns and improve performance.

Social Commerce on TikTok

TikTok has invested more heavily in commerce capabilities, recently introducing tie-ups with retailers including Walmart that allow consumers to purchase products without leaving the app.” The TikTok Pixel, a small piece of code that you place on your website, helps you find new customers, optimize your campaigns and measure ad performance.

On 27 October 2020, TikTok announced a global partnership with Shopify to help merchants create and run campaigns geared toward TikTokers. Shopify is a subscription-based software that allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products. The partnership makes it easier for Shopify merchants to tap into the creativity of the TikTok community, be discovered, and optimize their marketing campaigns.

TikTok stores are not yet allowed in Switzerland, although they are in the US. Check-out in-app is not currently available in Switzerland, but we expect it to be soon.

TikTok Shopping with Shopify

Social Commerce on Instagram

Instagram enables you to use real-time and pre-made content to create an interactive, visual shopping experience that deepens connections with your community. With Instagram Shoppable posts, you can sell products directly from shoppers’ feeds. Product Tags let you highlight items from your catalog directly in your images and videos, so people can easily tap and learn more. As part of our Instagram marketing services, Kingfluencers can help make your products easy to discover on Instagram.

Connect with your Audience via Social Commerce

With Switzerland being an ideal market for new retail, contact us to explore how Kingfluencers can amplify your brand messages, helping you generate revenue with influencer marketing.

Source cover picture: Ad Age

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing