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Are you ready to shop on social media?

Brief analysis of the new online battle

Are you ready to shop on social media? Brief analysis of the new online battle

Recently, searching some brands on Facebook, I noticed that the new trend among emerging fashion labels is to not have an account on this social. Instagram is enough, they add Tumblr at most. At the same time, I noticed that fashion advertising started to appear even on Snapchat and brands are ever more active on this platform. This and many others are signs of change into the intrigued relation between fashion and social media, always looking for new potential customer and strategies to draw them in. So, one question arises: are they doing that properly?

After several collaborations between luxury brands and social stars, and the rush of getting the celeb with the most followers on Instagram, it's time to do the current state of this situation. It's not easy to do a complete overview of this phenomenon, which includes a significant amount of elements, first of all the target. How to attract a new target? How to get its attention, captivate and hold it? And, above all, how to turn it into a real purchaser? The strategies are a lot, but what we have to know now is that Snapchat is the social who's doing better. Premise: which is the most wanted target for the majority of brands? Very easy, the Under 21. The Generation Z, namely the today's teenagers, is the most impressionable and inclined to shop target which trendy brands want. Sadly, the guys of Generation Z are elusive and not so interested in social media.

Unlike us (I'm, alas, part of the Generation Y) this target was born and raised online, and it's more disenchanted to social like Facebook – see the quitting or indifference to this app among very young people. In addiction, for the new generation social media are one with the real life. Let me explain: social media are not considered as window to show a certain lifestyle or the “right” brand, but they are an extension of daily life. According to Marcie Merriman, expert and Excutive Director of Growth Strategy and Selling Innovation at Ernst & Toung, for the under 21 “Their entire life, if it’s not shareable, it didn’t happen, […] Experiences define them much more than the products that they buy”. Considering also that Generation Z is more careful about shopping, compared to previous ones, for brands to capture properly this target is a challenge. All of this to say that today brands have to be able to enter into the new, young, potential customers's daily life, without disturbing advertising, but with tools and viral strategies who can integrate their products in the users's social experience. It's not a coincidence that Instagram is the favorite social of the new generation, according to a Piper Jaffray's 2015 survey.

Instagram, the app to share video and pictures used by 500 million users monthly and acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, is developing some shopping-friendly sale strategies. The tool who allows to save feeds in a secret board, creating a sort of wishlist similar to that of e-commerce websites, is a good xample, but also the “tap to view” tag who allows users to have more info about a specific item among the twenty brands who have this option. However, there's still long, too long time between to inspire and to buy. Despite these little innovations, users who shop an item immediately after saw it on Instagram are few and, frequently, to complete the purchasing they take even more than one day.

And Snapchat? The social who dominated the 2016 is the best app to reach the infamous Generation Z, as we said before. Snapchat has particular dynamics compared to its “brothers” and its selling potential is more complicated on this platform for the brands. First of all, Snapchat is a “close” app in many ways, in particular for the inability to include external links inside, fact that complicates the sale strategies for luxury brands. Tommy Hilfiger and L'Oreal tried to approach actually this app, but with poor results, considering that the platform is not shoping-friendly and it doesn't allow users to get more info about items, much less to buy them instantly. Second sore point of Snapchat: the secrecy for its user data. In fact, Evan Spiegal, co-founder of the app, wants to guarantee the privacy of his users. However, after several pressure by brands and marketers, last September Snapchat launched some new pilot-applications to experiment users's app targeting, allowing brands to analyse and filter potential customers and create aimed advertising. Music for the ears of brand marketers, as we can assume fromMichael Scheiner, VP Marketing and Communication at Abercrombie & Fitch: "If there is a teen, and they are spending time on a fashion channel within Snapchat, that would be a great person for us to target"So, Snapchat, for now, appears like the best social to reach potential customers, but the way to the real purchasing of products is still long.

And Facebook? The Mark Zuckerberg's network, with its 1.79 billion active users monthly, is maybe the social who can really turn marketing strategies into real sales. In addiction to its ability to profile its users, giving brands the possibility to personalize and offer targeted products, the Facebook's revolution is the launch of an automatic chat for the users. In the occasion of Tommy X Gigi collection, for the first time  this new “shopping experience” was used, by which users can submit questions to an automatic bot and add items directly to the cart on So, the application simulates a human conversation who satisfies the users's requests and, at the same time, creates a direct relation between brand and its customer, making the purchasing more rapid, but also giving rise to a positive shopping experience – which means many thumbs up fot the brand.

So, the war between social media to take the throne of online sales seems to be still open. Maybe, the crucial point of this issue is that social media are still not considered as a shopping online platforms. As much as Facebook & Co. can introduce new tools and go through the needs of their users, maybe just their users are not ready to buy a new dress on a social network. Maybe, the time is the last obstacle on social media for the brands. Meanwhile, the game is still open, bring it on.