Alex Brownsell, Senior Editor, Media, WARC, said that as social media’s popularity and influence continue to grow, community commerce is rapidly evolving to provide an innovative, effective and fast-paced way for brands and retailers to sell directly to consumers.
WARC, in partnership with TikTok and Publicis Groupe, have released a new study exploring the role social communities play in influencing purchase decisions, outlining the huge potential for brands to engage with audiences and increase unplanned purchases by narrowing the funnel between product discovery and purchase.
‘The findings in this report will help marketers seize new opportunities to deliver brand growth through these social communities,’ said Brownsell. The survey-led study, ‘From Discovery to Purchase: The Role of Community Commerce’, outlines the following insights:
(1) Community commerce as an emerging opportunity
Accelerated by the ongoing shift to digital, community commerce – defined in this report as entertaining creator-driven social content featuring brands – sits at the intersection of community, shopping and entertainment.
With the right approach and authenticity, brands can fit seamlessly into this social environment and engage with audiences as they congregate around particular interests, hashtags or creative stories. Brands offering genuine value exchange and willingness to test and learn are already reaping the rewards.
Amy Lanzi, EVP, North America Practice Lead, Publicis Commerce, commented, ‘The intersection of community, shopping and entertainment is what’s really different about TikTok. I can move from being entertained by my favourite creators into a shopping moment – or telling my friends about it or sharing it – pretty easily.’
(2) Discovery and inspiration disrupt the path to purchase
Social platforms have disrupted the purchase journey, which is now led by spontaneous discovery and inspiration. Every moment on a platform is an opportunity for conversion, and authentic creativity is key to attracting and retaining the audience’s attention.
With social platforms inspiring 70% of consumers to shop, even when they weren’t looking to, the power of community can drive engagement and stimulate decision-making.
John Dillon, EVP, Chief Brand Officer, Denny’s said, ‘The creative should be based in that community. Don’t do ads, do stories. That’s really the magic we see and that’s why platforms like TikTok have the ability to enable brands to get back to being creative and telling stories.’
(3) Propelling purchase decisions
Social platforms’ role as a connector makes it an ideal place for brands to reach their audiences, and by collaborating with creators, brands aren’t just placing themselves in front of people anymore, they’re becoming part of communities, and that drives action.
To maximise opportunities, brands must make the most of technologies that facilitate a seamless community commerce experience. All product categories have the potential to convert audiences: beauty, clothing and accessories led the way and now luxury and automotive are also maximising opportunities.
Daniela Mercado, Head of Mobile Marketing, Samsung Electronics America noted, ‘Beauty and fashion are definitely leaders in social media. They have done an incredible job, and because of the success that they have seen, the more expensive brands are following.’
(4) Content creators are the new brand storytellers
Creators are invaluable for driving the engagement that facilitates community commerce. They boost discovery (78%), educate and inform their audiences (76%), and inspire their audiences to try new products (73%).
Community is the new version of word-of-mouth, making it a powerful force for all types of social commerce, and the opinions of followers can boost or block sales. It stimulates belonging, information-sharing, and ultimately demand for your product through the powerful influence it can wield.
Kevin Shapiro, Senior Vice President, US Marketing – Consumer Beauty, Coty, said, ‘Influencers are really important because they each have their own reason for loving our brands. It’s fun to discover why someone is using our products, and we like to elevate and share those voices of discovery because they are authentic and true.’
The ‘From Discovery to Purchase: The Role of Community Commerce’ study is based on a global survey of 2230 consumers, 18-45 year-olds using two or more social media platforms (including TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Kwai), across 11 markets (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States), as well as one-on-one interviews with 18 C-suite marketing leaders (including Coty, Denny’s, Disney Parks, Mondelēz, Monster, Nestlé, Samsung Electronics, TikTok and Publicis Groupe) and analysis of WARC’s latest proprietary research.
A complimentary copy of the report is available to download here. The study includes chapter analysis, data analytics, case studies, expert commentary from industry leaders and implications for brands.