Digital Influence in Online and In-store Commerce

Is Brick and Mortar commerce dead? Absolutely not. Is eCommerce the most important sales channel in the future? Irrelevant. Neither online or offline sales really matter in the big picture. What matters is how customers shop and how much has digital changed the way retailers do business.

In 2013 36% of overall sales in US were influenced by digital. As social media influencers gained more and more … well … influence, this trend continued and now 49% of the total number of consumers in the US depend on influencers when purchasing, with 60% of teens depending on recommendations from celebrities and people they follow on social media.

So what does this mean for you and your commerce business?

1. Sales are now lead by (social media) influencers

This is not new by any means. Influent people will drive sales.

What’s new is the media they use to do this and their profiles. In the past we were influenced by celebrities smiling at us from glossy magazines and the TV.

Now the influencers that drive sales are people with access to a mobile phone, an internet connection, a channel on one of the social media outlets and a care for their following.

Reaching out to these new influencers is now a key factor in building your brand, your community and your sales.

2. Influencers are now an actual sales channel

A growing trend in emerging social networks is to build their business models on something outside of advertising. One such business model is commerce based revenue rather than advertising. As Facebook and YouTube have hyper-optimized their advertising models, newer social media outlets needed to innovate.

Enter live stream shopping. With this model, influencers can sell directly to their followers, charge a certain commission fee or even build their own product lines.

3. Brick and mortar shopping is definitely not dying. Unless it has to.

89% of all retail sales still happen in the confines of a physical store. Wait, what?

It seems that what’s causing retailers problems is failure to engage customers on all channels. Customers are pre-buying (shopping) on ecommerce sites but they pick-up, try on and eventually buy a lot of things in the physical store.

With Covid changing this in 2020, ecommerce stores have received more traffic and sales and brick and mortar stores need to join digital sales somehow. Some use live stream shopping to do that.

The trick here is getting the big picture right. To thrive – use different customer journey points and engage digitally in a relevant way. Customers may shop online and get an assortment ready but they want to enjoy the experience. Either in-store when possible or digitally through live videos. Just placing discounts in the mobile app doesn’t work. Each part in the shopping experience has to be personalised to that particular medium and need.

Author: Mihai Mike Dragan

Mihai Mike Dragan is an ecommerce expert and the cofounder and COO of Oveit, a global company focusing on live experiences technology, both virtual and in-person. Mike has an experience of over 15 years in building digital products, with a focus on ecommerce. He has worked with some of the largest consumer brands in the world, advising on their digital go to market strategy.   Mike Dragan is also the author of the "Understanding Omnichannel Retail - beyond clicks vs. bricks" ebook, a guide for companies that understand consumer behaviour across media. He holds two degrees, one in International Economics and one in Computer Science.

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