The Rise Of the Social Shopper
Not a fan of shopping? Who could blame you. For many, the whole experience of browsing crowded stores, queuing for changing rooms, lugging around a heavy basket, queuing again for the checkout and then ultimately dragging their spoils back to the car, is quite the ordeal. Fortunately, technology has facilitated a number of quicker and easier ways to navigate the trials and tribulations of retail, the most popular of which is to cut out the middleman of the shopping trip altogether and buy goods remotely.
UK leads the way in online spending
More and more people are choosing to shop from the comfort of their own homes, with online shopping currently accounting for approximately 12% of total annual spending in the UK (the highest in Europe).
It’s not difficult to see why shopping online has become the go-to method for expanding one’s wardrobe or personal library. Market leaders such as ASOS and Amazon offer massively discounted products, with a variety of cheap and speedy delivery options, not to mention incredibly user-friendly checkout systems. Similarly, the majority of offline giants such as Comet, Curry’s and Argos have established a substantial online presence to complement their flagship stores, and even small boutiques are beginning to recognise that a physical shop is no longer sufficient.
Social media and savvy shopping
But the popularity of internet shopping is not solely due to the online stores; social media has played its part. For many, the appeal of the shopping trip is that it is an innately social experience, and just as a large number of people are turning to the internet to find their bargains, it appears just as many are keen to carry that social aspect over with them. There are a multitude of shopping and consumer blogs out there, offering advice on where to find good deals, which online retailers to avoid, and how to make the most of your money.
There is now even an online equivalent to a girly day out, with sites like What I Wore Today giving fashion enthusiasts the chance to show off their latest buys. Founded by blogger Poppy Dinsey, What I Wore Today (or WIWT for short) comprises of a website, Twitter feed and popular iPhone app which enables users to take a snapshot of their favourite outfit and tag the brand of each item. The site also blends in components of a fashion magazine, holding competitions and posting regular “lust list” updates on current trends.
The app-y shopper
The proliferation of smartphones in recent years has also played a role in the increasing number of online shoppers. While a generation of tech-savvy youngsters have always used the internet as a shopping medium, older generations are also now using mobile apps such as Google Shopper to compare prices on items. And don’t think that this phenomenon is exclusive to high street shopping; it can also be applied to your weekly trip to the supermarket, with chains like Tesco now offering a mobile app version of their loyalty card.
Online sales in Great Britain increased by a whopping 14% last year, which is encouraging news for any business with an established online presence. And as shopping comparison site Kelkoo predicts similar growth in the near future, the message is clear to those without; there has never been a better time to invest in web and app development.
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