E-commerce is booming, with the impact of Covid-19 accelerating further what was already a clear shift from bricks and mortar outlets to online. The digital age is truly upon us, and brands must adapt their offerings to the increasingly tech-savvy consumer.

In this new webinar from Tipser, Johanna Bjork sits down with Tipser’s Head of Sales & Key Accounts Mikaela Jaconelli to look at how content commerce and social commerce are re-shaping e-commerce. They are joined by Harm Heibult, Product Director for Burda’s Lifestyle brands (Elle, InStyle, Freundin, Harper’s Bazaar, and Esquire) in Germany, and Kjell-Olof Nilsson, Former Head of Business Development & Innovation for H&M Group, now CEO & Founder of Opiqo Consulting.

The webinar also looks at how trends in China offer a glimpse into the future of e-commerce in the West and how brands both big and small should focus on an omni-channel approach in the future.

The topics explored in the webinar are all looked at in detail in Tipser’s report – The Sales Channels of the Future Report.

A breakdown of embedded commerce and social commerce

Mikaela kicked off the webinar by taking a closer look at the differences in how embedded commerce works in comparison to the more traditional affiliate model. Using a video to highlight the extra work the consumer is asked to go through when using affiliate links, Mikaela then showed how the buying process is simplified and made almost frictionless when using Tipser-powered embedded commerce.

The conversation then shifted to social commerce, which Mikaela defined as very similar to the embedded commerce mode, with the only real difference being that in social commerce, transactions are completed within the social channel. This trend towards social commerce is undergoing a massive surge at the moment, with Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Facebook all actively pushing this highly popular new sales channel.

“Brands cannot afford to ignore social commerce as social media is where research shows 3 out of 4 people go to get inspired about what to buy or what to wear.”

Source: Viya’s streaming room

Alongside the rise of social commerce, it is also important to note how this trend has been developed even further in China with the huge success of Live Video Shopping. Social commerce’s popularity is partly due to how it gives back some of the “sensations” that online shopping loses against the in-store experience. Live Shopping takes this to the next level by adding a human, usually, a celebrity or influencer, who tells the audience first-hand what the product feels like, smells like, etc.

More information on social commerce can be found in the full report.

Publishers are turning into marketplaces

The development of technology such as Tipser’s means that embedded commerce is something that publishers can now easily integrate into their sites. One of Europe’s most prominent publishers, Hubert Burda Media, has worked with Tipser to implement embedded commerce across its Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Esquire, and Freudin titles in Germany. Product Director at Bruda, Harm Heibult, joined the discussion to talk about the experience of transitioning their sites into marketplaces with Tipser.

“Shopping inspiration is part of our DNA. Our editorial teams are curating dozens of products every day and producing inspirational content around them. Allowing users to shop directly in this context is clearly a big opportunity. In enabling this, we add value to the users’ experience and monetize our content at the same time.”

The transition into embedded commerce for Burda has been so successful that they are now taking the next step into social commerce. While this is a shift that clearly benefits the user and the publisher, some brands are reluctant to work with publishers via embedded commerce due to the fear that it could have a detrimental impact on their own revenue streams.

Both Harm and Mikaela pointed out how brands should instead look at this relationship in terms of gaining additional revenue rather than losing traffic. Selling products via publishers through embedded commerce allows brands to tap into new audiences and attract new customers, and the high-level content in which it is packaged raises brand awareness.

Dive deeper into the conversation by catching up with the webinar here.

The Omni-Channel Approach

The new marketplaces that embedded commerce enables publishers to transition into, are yet one more example of the variety of sales channels that brands have at their disposal. While some brands may be reluctant to embrace new channels in the fear of losing potential traffic and revenue, research suggests that consumers are increasingly using multiple channels when they shop. A Harvard Business Review survey found that 75% of those questioned reported using various channels. These consumers are also the most frequent shoppers.

Kjell-Olof Nilsson, CEO & Founder of Opiqo Consulting, joined the discussion to add his insights into the Omni approach. For Kjell-Olof, the most important thing is for brands to follow the customer. By knowing where their customers are, brands can adapt their channels accordingly.

“In a time of blurred channels, brands can choose to work both with a “head” via their own .com site and become “headless” by taking advantage of new marketplaces such as those that Tipser helps to create.”

Brands have more options available to them than ever before, but retail stores on the high street are inevitably suffering in a digital age where frictionless, embedded commerce and social commerce have come to the fore.

Kjell-Olof offered some fascinating insights on how it is time for the purpose of the retail store to be reimagined.

“The store is the new media, and the media the new store.”

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