The Changing Consumer Landscape: Social Media and Shopping
posted by LIM College
by Achala Ganesan
Social media has changed the way that people consume items that range from disposables to luxury buys. Peer reviews are where it all started, with sites and forums like Amazon offering customers the opportunity to post their opinions of the products they’ve purchased.
Then it trickled into social media, with bloggers and vloggers being trusted opinion makers and voices of authority. Customers would do their “research,” often in the form of browsing blogs and watching vlogs to gather as much information as they could about products and services. From these arose “influencers,” who commanded authority and respect in the consumer circles and are an integral part of social media marketing today.
YouTube and blogging are considered the two most information-rich platforms that have influenced demand for fashion and beauty over the past seven years. It was in 2007-08 when the first YouTubers started uploading their videos which were shot on shaky webcams, narrating shopping experiences, providing opinions on items and demonstrating makeup application and fashion styling. It has evolved into an industry in itself, with the YouTube Partner program identifying and encouraging these rising stars and allowing them to do this full time.
Michelle Phan, make-up demonstrator, entrepreneur and YouTube personality
We ourselves have changed our habits. We comparison shop by turning to these online influencers who put together curated content and have them tell us what they feel about certain products.
Many of them have millions of subscribers and are amateur photographers/videographers with an eye for product placements, and display. One pretty Instagram or blogpost can send us (well alright, me!) to the store immediately to check out, if not buy, the product. Pinterest and Instagram have taken it one step higher, adding “buy” buttons to their products which take you directly to the seller site. So that lamp or dress that you’ve been lusting over? You can buy it in a few seconds!
We are a generation that shops in such a hi-tech fashion, that it’s all brands can do to keep up! I guess we’re one step closer to shopping in virtual holographic stores, who knows?