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Omniplatform eCommerce Strategy: Influence, Engage, Transact, Connect
01/29/22

Omniplatform eCommerce Strategy: Influence, Engage, Transact, Connect

In this report, the PSFK Labs  team explores the tools, technologies, and solutions brands and retailers are using to influence, engage, transact and connect with consumers across an omnichannel ecommerce and social commerce landscape. Through five featured trends and highlighted marketplace examples, this report will help your organization develop a strategy that provides elevated engagement for customers as they engage with your brand in the digital domain.

With consumers increasingly spending their time on social media and streaming platforms both creating and intaking content, retailers as a result are garnering less consumer attention on their eCommerce sites. Brands have the challenge and opportunity to evolve their eCommerce strategy to meet consumers where their target consumers are, adapt their messaging to speak to their desired customer, and develop content that fits within these digital environments. While already popular in other parts of the world, emerging opportunities like livestreamed shopping and super apps are gaining mainstream adoption to engage today’s digital shoppers. From brand fan communities and personal shopping bots, to live streamed shopping occasions, services that elevate the customer experience will define the next era of ecommerce.

In order to meet the unique challenges of selling online in a rapidly shifting consumer landscape, retailers are actively exploring how best to integrate new payment methods securely, provide on-demand customer service assistance, and foster loyal customers in third party environments beyond the retailer’s digital store. To do so, brands and retailers are increasingly looking to social media, streaming platforms and mobile app leaders for innovative commerce practices. As a result, brands are cultivating an engaged consumer base and designing their strategies based on actual consumer feedback and data driven insights. 

With the growing demand and necessity for digital commerce channels and capabilities, retailers have been quickly transforming their operations and strategies to go beyond the convenience and utility of eCommerce to offer experiences that deliver personalized support, entertainment and a great sense of community. As the online world continues to become more inclusive, retailers are meeting their customers on the virtual platforms and tools of their choice, no longer limiting who, where, when or how a consumer can transact. Meanwhile, service providers are creating more and more tools to make it easier for consumers to pay, engage, shop and create on digital commerce channels. In this report, learn how to take advantage of anywhere eCommerce, how to cultivate an engaged fan base, and what social platforms and service providers are helping reach consumers on their own terms. 

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Deep Dive with PSFK’s latest report… Omniplatform eCommerce Strategy: Influence, Engage, Transact, Connect

In this report, the PSFK Labs  team explores the tools, technologies, and solutions brands and retailers are using to influence, engage, transact and connect with consumers across an omnichannel ecommerce and social commerce landscape. Through five featured trends and highlighted marketplace examples, this report will help your organization develop a strategy that provides elevated engagement for customers as they engage with your brand in the digital domain.

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Omnichannel eCommerce Insights – Proprietary Statistics from PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey

Today shoppers want engagement from brands and retailers in the same places that they are social or where they are consuming entertainment and news. 

33% of online US shoppers still prefer to click through and buy a product on a brand or retailer’s eCommerce site, even when that product is discovered on a social media or news site. 25% prefer to buy the product without leaving the social media or content platform, and 13% are still inspired to go buy the product in store.
PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey, January 2022

Already widely used in Asia, livestream selling in the West is slowly emerging as an engaging retail tool. 

56% of US shoppers have used a livestream to shop online, and 31% of those shoppers say they are more likely to buy a product that they discover on a livestream.
PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey, January 2022 

Expecting convenience across all digital checkout points, consumers are finding ways to remove friction from the payment process. 

73% of US shoppers find the payment process easy or very easy online.
PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey, January 2022 

29% of US consumers are or plan to use shopping assistants (bots) in the future.
PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey, January 2022

Shoppers are engaging in forums and other community spaces to learn more about products.

Research shows if a US shopper was to join their favorite brand’s online community they would most expect redeemable coupons (46%), to receive a token or digital asset for participation (32% of shoppers), guaranteed access to products prior to selling out (32%), early access to product drops (32%) and unique news and promotions about the brand’s product (28%).
PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey, January 2022 

Within online forums, US shoppers are least interested in peer-to-peer engagement, with only 15% wanting to interact with other community members and 15% interested in buying from another member of the community.
PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey, January 2022 

The following statistics are from the PSFK US Digital Shopper Survey. PSFK quantitative survey was run January 26-29, 2022. The audience were US smartphone users aged between 18 and 64 years old and the survey was ‘basic census’ balanced in terms of age and gender. The 292 respondents had household income between $0-$200k. For a copy of complete survey findings, contact: jeff.weiner@psfk.com 

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Trends Summary

PSFK iQ researchers have identified the key trends that define the most engaging and effective experiences between brand, retailer, shopper and fan.

Brand Fan Communities
In curating consumer “club” experiences, brands and retailers are tapping into like-minded communities, focused on specific hobbies or interests. 

Influencer Storefronts
As consumers increasingly look to their favorite creators as their first and sometimes only source of discovery, platforms are designing affiliate programs that allow them to curate their own shoppable storefronts. 

Livestream Connection
To provide shoppers with greater value, drive participation, and even encourage in-store visits, retailers are leaning into live shopping events to drive connection and engagement. 

Mobile Shopping Assistants
Digital consumers are increasingly seeking digital shopping assistants, mobile and desktop browser extensions and AI-enabled personal shopping services to fulfill in-the-moment tasks and to help them fill specific needs. 

Universal Wallets
Fintech platforms are developing their own one-stop apps by combining an array of payment options with a commerce marketplace, social feeds, and even one-on-one retailer chat capabilities in one destination. 

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Trends In Omnichannel eCommerce Engagement and Sales

Brand Fan Communities
Beyond an economic transaction – a one-time reward in exchange for fleeting engagement – true brand affinity is achieved through cultivating communities, where exclusive membership transforms customers and fans into loyal subscribers and collaborators. In curating consumer “club” experiences, brands and retailers are tapping into like-minded communities, focused on specific hobbies or interests. Within these modern membership groups and communities, consumers not only gain a sense of belonging, but access to new product drops, exclusive content or events and specialized expertise or services. 

To help its FLX Rewards members fight bots and secure coveted sneaker drops, Foot Locker updated its Launch Reservation system, providing members with a “Head Start” feature to reserve a drop spot and improve their chances to win exclusive sneaker releases. Members can easily search, identify, and follow launches and make reservation requests to purchase limited edition styles. Once the member selects the size, a countdown clock begins and notifies the shopper via the app if their reservation was approved or denied. FLX Rewards members can apply their XPoints to add a ‘Head Start’ to their entry and improve their chances to win exclusive sneaker releases. XPoints can be earned by completing online activities such as surveys, updating shopping preferences, connecting social media accounts, and by buying items across the Foot Locker family of brands.

Influencer Storefronts
Combining community and content with trusted guidance, the role of influencers has evolved from sponsored content to authentic recommendations and reviews. As consumers increasingly look to social media, and the creators they follow across those channels, as their first and sometimes only source of discovery, the platforms these influencers drive traffic to are designing checkout-supported features and affiliate programs that cast influencers as partners and allow them to curate their own shoppable storefronts, while providing brands and retailers with more targeted and valuable consumer engagement. 

Literati is a subscription-based platform that enables celebrities and digital creators to curate their own book club and is delivered to users in monthly subscription boxes. Subscribers also gain access to the Literati app which hosts online communities, where fans can interact with hosts and one another. Beginning initially with celebrity curators like Richard Branson, Megan Rapinoe and Malala, the platform has since tapped digital creators such as TikTok comedian Tinx, dancer Chloe Lukasiak, vlogger Nicole Laeno, and musician Brynn Elliot to curate their own book clubs. Users select which creator’s book club they want to join and for $26 a month, they will receive physical copies of the books and access to all the digital communities beyond their selected creator. 

Livestream Connection
Driven by necessity during ongoing lockdowns, livestream shopping has expanded to become a mainstream offering from today’s brands and retailers. To provide shoppers with greater value, drive participation, and even encourage in-store visits, retailers are scheduling live shopping events with exclusive offerings – think limited product drops, in-store only exclusive announcements, surprise guest hosts and one-time only access codes – that engage fan bases and further develop virtual communities. 

b8ta is a software-powered retailer designed to improve the customer and maker experience, allowing customers to discover, try and learn about new products while providing makers with a live selling platform to connect with their consumers. The retailer’s live programming, b8ta TV, combines pre-recorded content as well as live shopping segments and demonstrations, where viewers are able to interact with hosts and receive exclusive on-air giveaways that can be collected in-store. Available 24-7, b8ta hosts and stores are broadcasting throughout the day, giving users the ability to join anytime they please. B8ta also features regular programmed shows such as b8ta Unboxed and You Need This to keep users coming back.

Mobile Shopping Assistants
Digital consumers are increasingly seeking personalized assistance to fulfill in-the-moment tasks and to help them fill specific needs. Digital shopping assistants, mobile and desktop browser extensions and AI-enabled personal shopping services are proliferating by simplifying the customer’s journey and eliminating the need to use multiple apps and websites. In the context of shopping, this could mean working on behalf of a shopper to fill specific needs like the regular purchasing of common products or helping to find and buy products based on a set of criteria like sizing, pricing, etc. Resale shoppers-sellers are also increasingly turning to machine learning bots to help them scan retailer websites for limited-edition sneakers and other hard-to-find items. 

Fintech company MoonPay builds payment infrastructure for cryptocurrency so that brands and creators can easily and securely sell crypto without users having to leave their platform. For members, MoonPay offers a ‘concierge service’ that handles the sourcing and purchasing of collectables and crypto, which has been used by musicians Diplo, DJ Khaled, Martin Garrix, and Future as well as lifestyle influencers such as Gwyneth Paltrow. The firm lets users buy cryptocurrencies through conventional payment methods like credit cards, bank transfers and mobile wallets, and also sells its technology to other businesses including crypto website Bitcoin.com and NFT marketplace OpenSea. 

Universal Wallets
Alongside the rapid growth in digital commerce has come an expectation for hyper convenience, where all-in-one solutions eliminate the need to toggle between apps, manually compare prices and repeatedly input personal information. Building on the success of super apps like China’s WeChat, fintech platforms are developing their own one-stop apps by combining an array of payment options with a commerce marketplace, social feeds, and even one-on-one retailer chat capabilities in one destination. 

Wizard allows consumers to text a brand and have a conversation about their products before or after purchasing the item. Consumers simply text the brand’s number and are connected to an AI or human representative who can answer any product questions they might have. At the end of the conversation, the user will receive a link to a secure website to submit payment details to place their order. The platform provides brands the convenience of having artificial intelligence foster positive customer service experiences and generates a more natural way for consumers to access and interact with the brand’s virtual representatives. While conversational, text-based commerce has gained popularity in Asian countries, Wizard is bringing the same technology to American consumers by creating a mobile-first eCommerce experience. 

Trends Research Methodology
PSFK uses a robust, time-tested qualitative research methodology called Grounded Theory Analysis to gather emerging ideas from the marketplace, which are later used to identify trends for current projects. Grounded Theory analysis is a systematic methodology in the social sciences that takes a bottom-up, data-driven approach to generating assertions about larger ideas, trends and movements based on research collected around a directional brief. Via secondary desk research, the PSFK iQ research team gathers examples of innovation — weak signals of change on a global, regional and country level — for analysis. After a critical mass of data has been compiled, we leverage our deep category expertise to perform pattern recognition. Clusters of similar ideas are defined as trends which are brought to life using inspiring examples of innovation from the marketplace. To learn more, visit psfk.com/research

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Deep Dive with PSFK’s latest report… Omniplatform eCommerce Strategy: Influence, Engage, Transact, Connect

In this report, the PSFK Labs  team explores the tools, technologies, and solutions brands and retailers are using to influence, engage, transact and connect with consumers across an omnichannel ecommerce and social commerce landscape. Through five featured trends and highlighted marketplace examples, this report will help your organization develop a strategy that provides elevated engagement for customers as they engage with your brand in the digital domain.