The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on consumer behavior, with some analysts projecting that the global lockdowns and mitigation efforts have accelerated the shift away from physical stores, and towards digital shopping, by roughly five years.
That presents a whole new set of challenges, and opportunities for retailers and retail marketers. And while it’s unclear how much the current trends will hold in the wake of the pandemic, it’s important to understand what’s motivating people’s current shopping habits, in order to assess how you can meet those needs moving forward.
Which is what Facebook’s latest ‘Future of Shopping’ report is all about. The 64-page guide is part of Facebook’s new ‘Industry Perspectives’ series, which will see it working with a range of experts, in different verticals, to determine key trends, and provide guidance for brands based on the latest consumer shifts.
You can download the full retail trends report here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key notes and stats.
First off, Facebook looks at how shopping motivations have changed, and the key factors that currently determine people’s in-store shopping habits.
Price has, of course, always been a key consideration, but right now at least, safety is also top of mind for in-store shoppers.
That makes sense, but it’s interesting to note its significance in this listing, and to also consider these trends in comparison to the top factors that determine which brands people shop with online.
If you’re looking to maximize in-store and/or eCommerce performance, these are the key elements of note, and it’s worth highlighting each, where you can, within your marketing communications.
Interesting to note, too, the relatively low results for customer service here. It seems that our priorities, at least right now, have put less emphasis on this element – though I would argue that it remains a critical factor, both in-store and online.
Facebook also looks at some of the top benefits that consumers have found with the shift to eCommerce, which includes the capacity to better your purchases in order to get the best deals.
As explained by Facebook:
“Consumers are realizing the benefits digital can bring to their shopping experiences beyond simply efficiency. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) shoppers globally say the internet makes it easier to compare products by price, and 67% say the internet makes buying products less risky.”
That’s an important factor in your listings, and competitor research. These days, your customers are going to be spending more time analyzing their options, which means that you should also be aware of what’s on offer elsewhere, while you should also be looking to communicate your returns policy for added assurance.
Facebook also notes that the pandemic has prompted more consumers to support local businesses, in an effort to boost their communities.
This is a positive shift, which could help sustain these smaller providers throughout the economic downturn, while it may also lead to greater local support in the longer term, as more people become aware of, and connected to, those within their vicinity.
The report also looks at the types of communications consumers are seeking from brands right now, which again sees a focus on safety.
While Facebook also looks at the key factors in modern brand loyalty – with some very valuable branding notes:
The full report includes a range of expert insights to help businesses effectively action these trends, and additional notes on consumer shifts that can help shape your strategy and approach.
You can download the full Facebook ‘Future of Shopping’ report here.
Meta Launches New Reels Features, Including Stories to Reels Conversion and Improved Analytics
As it works to latch onto the short-form video trend, and negate the rising influence of TikTok, Meta has announced some new updates for Reels, across both Facebook and Instagram, including additional Reels insights, the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker, and ‘auto-created’ Reels clips. Yes, automatically created Reels videos.
Here’s how the new additions work.
The main addition is the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker from Stories to Reels, providing another way to prompt engagement from other users via Reels clips.
As you can see in these example images, you’ll now be able to post ‘Add Yours’ questions via Reels clips, while you’ll also be able to view all the various video responses to any prompt in each app.
It could be another way to spark engagement, and lean into the more interactive ethos of the short form video trend. Part of the appeal of TikTok is that it invites people in, with the participatory nature of the app essentially expanding meme engagement, by making it more accessible for users to add their own take.
Meta will be hoping that the ‘Add Yours’ sticker helps to facilitate the same, prompting more engagement with Reels clips.
Next up is auto-created Facebook Reels, which, as it sounds, will enable users to automatically convert their archived Stories into Reels clips.
As you can see here, you’ll soon see a new ‘Create from Your Story Archive’ prompt in the Reels creation flow, which will then enable you to convert your Stories into Reels clips.
So it’s not exactly wholly automated Reels creation, as it’s just flipping your Stories clips into Reels as well. But it could provide another, simple way for users and brands to create Stories content, utilizing the video assets that they already have to link into the trend.
Worth noting that Meta also recently added a tool to convert your video assets into Reels within Creator Studio.
Meta’s also expanding access to its ‘Stars’ creator donations to Facebook Reels, which is now being opened up to all eligible creators.
Meta initially announced the coming expansion of Stars to Reels back in June, which will provide another critical monetization pathway for Reels creators. Short form video is not as directly monetizable as longer clips, where you can insert pre and mid-roll adds, so add-on elements like this are key to keeping creators posting, and fueling an ecosystem for such in its apps.
Stars on Reels will be available all creators that have maintained at least 1,000 followers over the last 60 days.
Meta’s also adding new Reels performance insights to Creator Studio, including Reach, Minutes Viewed, and Average Watch Time.
That’ll provide more perspective on what’s working, and what’s not, to help optimize your Reels approach – which could be especially valuable in the coming holiday push.
Lastly, Meta’s also expanding some Reels features that were previously only available in Instagram to Facebook as well.
Crossposting from Instagram to Facebook is now available to all Instagram users, while Meta’s also expanding its Remix option to Facebook Reels also.
As noted, Reels has become a key focus for Meta, as the short-form video trend continues to gain traction, and TikTok continues to rise as a potential competitor. By replicating TikTok’s main elements, Meta’s working to negate its key differentiation, which could ensure that more of its users don’t bother downloading a new app, and just stick with its platforms instead.’
Which, whether you agree with that approach or not, has proven effective. Reels content now makes up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, while video content, overall, makes up 50% of the time that people spend on Facebook.
Meta additionally notes that it’s seen a more than 30% increase in engagement time with Reels across both Facebook and Instagram.
Meta doesn’t need to ‘beat’ TikTok as such (as much as it would like to), but it does need to dilute its significance if it can, and make it less appealing for users to have to start yet another new account, and re-build their friends list.
That’s why it’ll continue to replicate TikTok at every turn, because millions of people are currently not going to TikTok because of the presence of Reels in its apps.
You can learn more about Meta’s new Reels updates here.
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