With the upcoming back-to-school and winter holiday shopping seasons quickly approaching, all brands (no matter the size) hope to connect with new customers and keep current ones. And with recent struggles such as inflation, high interest rates, and supply chain hold-ups looming, many are likely to revamp their strategies for optimal success this year.
To understand how ActiveCampaign can set up businesses of all sizes for success (and future growth), we surveyed 1,000 US consumers to understand where their shopping preferences lie this year and what content is a priority for them when seeking out new brands.
The major finding revealed nearly half of the consumers polled said one of their top motivators to engage with a new brand via social media is that the brand appears trustworthy and transparent. That percentage increases to 58% when looking at just the millennial population. For a generation that has grown up online, the bar is high for them when it comes to trusting new brands.
Businesses need to have an omnichannel approach in place with consistent and authentic messaging to create great customer experiences for all generations.
It’s not enough for brands to start a shop on social media and wait for the sales to come in. This survey revealed that the content before, during, and after purchases matters.
Consumers engage with discounts
The survey also established different age groups have different preferences—making it crucial to send tailored product content to customers across all channels. 42% of all consumers said they’d be willing to engage if discounts are offered, and nearly one-third said they would engage after seeing relevant or personalized ads.
Omnichannel marketing is crucial for changes in consumer behaviors
However, not all shopping will take place online this year. 76% of those surveyed said they plan to purchase gifts in-person this upcoming winter holiday season. This is why an omnichannel strategy is key to providing the best overall experience and bringing in repeat customers throughout the year.
Social buying (and selling) is hot right now. Many consumers have used social media platforms for shopping in the past (72%).
The number of purchases made from social ads in the past 30 days is nearly the same (70%). This reveals that a social strategy will pay dividends for brands in the next few months.
Key industries to focus social ad spend on
When it comes to selling on social media, the star industries include clothing/apparel and food/beverage:
- 42% of consumers made purchases from clothing- and apparel-centered social ads (50% of Gen Z and 62% of millennials).
- 46% of consumers made purchases from food- and beverage-centered social ads (48% of Gen Z and 59% of millennials).
If smaller brands are looking for social ad inspiration, these industries are good places to start.
Nearly half of consumers polled said they use Facebook for shopping. This increased to 70% for millennials. Facebook Marketplace likely plays a large role in those using the platform to shop, including many small and local businesses selling on Facebook Marketplace.
The next most popular social platform to shop on is Instagram, made possible through its “shops” feature. 32% of consumers use Instagram to shop, nearly doubling to 53% when looking at just Gen Z respondents.
YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok fall closely behind in popularity.
Overall, consumers seem eager to find the next greatest brand on social media. They don’t want to miss out! Brands that run “shops” on social platforms like Instagram are attracting more customers—59% of consumers (and 76% of Gen Z) say they’ve discovered new brands this way.
Going further, 44% of consumers (53% of Gen Z) would purchase from a small business based on influencer recommendations.
This upcoming holiday season, it won’t be enough just to focus on social media, web personalization, or email marketing—omnichannel is key! It sounds daunting, but with the right technology tools in place, you can find success while also saving your team time. This will let you focus on the most important tasks: talking to and serving your customer base.
Successful brands that are using social media as a means to engage with customers have other solutions and strategies in place to complete their omnichannel approach. Check out ActiveCampaign’s 2022 Customer Experience Automation Impact Study to see how top brands are using CXA, social media, and other channels and tools for business success.
The survey was conducted online by Dynata from June 27-28, 2022. Dynata surveyed 1,000 adults (18+) living in the United States.