E-commerce is ever changing, making it crucial for companies to harness the power of genuine content creation to propel their social commerce game in 2023. Social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok are opening new doors for companies to connect with and learn about their customers - however, we must understand the processes and strategies that will open these doors.
In this episode of Building Brand Advocacy, Lisa is joined by a panel of social commerce experts, Camilla Craven, Marketing & Communications Director and Consultant; Dave Morrissey, Vertical Manager of eComm & Retail at TikTok; and Paul Archer, Founder and CEO at Duel. Together, they give you the key that will drive a successful social commerce strategy in 2023.
If you’re interested in attaining exponential brand growth by unlocking the powerful door of social commerce, tune in to this episode of Building Brand Advocacy.
Paul - Hello. Today we have a special episode where we are going to be sharing a panel that I sat on that was organized by some of my team here at Jewel about the future of social commerce. It’s really interesting. It’s a space that’s absolutely exploding, not really that well understood in terms of the way it’s defined. And so what we’re trying to do is try and kind of clarify what it means, clarify what it means for brands going into 2023 and some of the trends that we’re doing. So it’s been moderated by Lisa, who’s on the Jill team, runs our branding community side of things and was previously a gym at Lululemon. And then we’ve got sitting on the sofa, we’ve got Camilla Craven, you may remember from one of the earlier podcasts. She’s marketing communications director and consultant, previously at FaceGym, Charlotte Tilbury benefits and what she doesn’t know about advocacy isn’t worth knowing. And we got Dave Morrissey who covers e-commerce and retail at TikTok and what they’ve been doing, the insight that they’ve getting from that company as it’s exploding at the moment, it’s really interesting. And so we get in there, we jam about it, we we chat a little bit of various different things. I hope you find it useful. We jump in about halfway through the action and would love to hear any feedback if you think this is the kind of episode that you like to hear.
Lisa - Just to set us off. Social commerce is set to rise to over 900 billion. I still have to get my head around that number, by the end of this year, which is approaching really quickly and it’s set to rise to trillion, several trillions in 2028. Let’s talk about what actually is social commerce and how did this concept grow to where it is today.
Paul - I think it seems quite well, not very well defined, just like that answer, actually. I’ve actually listened to quite a lot of different papers around it and there’s been a lot of this trend was started off in China and the behaviors and shopping behaviors which are a few years ahead of the west and social commerce is a thing there and it’s becoming a thing in the west. I would say it’s definitely a thing already, but it’s now becoming much more aware in terms of how people can tactically get behind it. But for me, I would define it as any kind of commerce revenue that has been driven inspired by a person on social media. It is the human element of it. What I’m not talking about is like anything ads count. That’s just like buying ads on a media platform where people’s attention are. But it’s that genuine human social content creation that is driving commerce and so therefore social commerce. I think that’s my definition anyway. And then the one that’s sort of taken part.
Lisa - Thank you. Dave, you want to add to that?
Dave - Yeah, I’ll go with all that in a big way. I think social commerce is kind of a bit of a buzzword at the moment that hasn’t been put into kind of layman’s terms. I think what it is, is I think you can start I think in marketing speak, we say creator led, creator-led commerce. And we don’t say the word influence anymore. It’s creator-led commerce. But in layman’s terms, I think, is that it’s human-led. It’s human-led, it’s everyone, everyone can know from setting up a shop for setting up canva as you’re kind of portal even ticks up a shop destination as well. Anyone who has a phone and has a product or service can suddenly be a shopkeeper. That’s essentially what it is. But then we can break in into the myriad of ways they can be in places they can be. I think when you’re kind of alluding to China there, we’ve seen this with Joy and our sister app, which is more the live shopping stuff coming over.
And it’s an interesting time because I think everyone thinks live shopping, I think QVC reality, it’s someone in their office just spit the phone and go, oh, here’s our products, let’s unbox it and suddenly let’s sell something.
Lisa - I love that analogy that you made with everyone’s now their own personal shopkeeper without having that physical space. That’s a great analogy.
Camilla - And I think social commerce as a term will change as the days, weeks and months go on. I think if you think the original definition of social commerce minimum started in 2005 when Yahoo have customers actually just leaving reviews of product that was considered social commerce, if you ask anyday person right now, they probably still think it’s so linked to social media actions on that. And again, that’s going to add to your point about anyone with a phone, but it can even be offline online and that huge shift. But I think the possibilities are almost endless for what this world is going to be in social commerce. And we’re all obviously leaders and lunaries in terms of what that looks like right now, but some of it’s even beyond probably our world is dream of what that would be like.
Lisa - That’s a great point as well. Camilla, the change that we’ve seen, and I guess to go a little bit further into that, where have you three seen that customer behavior change over the last ten years and now coming in more specifically into the last couple of years, how has that consumer behavior changed?
Camilla - I think the number one change is just how everyone shops there used to be used to be able to say someone, I’m off shopping, I’m going shopping today.
Lisa - I’m going to go shopping.
Camilla - People don’t go shopping anymore. They’re constantly shopping. If you want to put some other terms in contextual commerce in terms of where people are at any given time and where that’s happening. But more importantly as well, that blend of wanting entertainment and community and social engagement within the act of the world of commerce as well, I think is what I would say is the number one is behavioral changes.
Dave - It’s not a linear place anymore. Nothing is clickbait. Suddenly this immediacy is there. So we’re constantly in shopping and transaction mode. So, yeah, it’s a very complicated world.
Lisa - Like Camilla just mentioned, maybe you don’t have that intention anymore. Oh, I’m going to go shopping. But then you also have the opposite intention as I’m not shopping, I’m on social media. But all of a sudden I’ve clicked on something and then I’ve realized, oh, I am shopping right now.
Camilla - That switch varies, but you’ve still got some shopping habits, which there’s still the traditional eight, nine touch points. Or talk about a marketing of what it takes to get to a sale. And then you have that compressed commerce where someone’s not even looking for it, and they’ve gone from inspiration to check out within app, within platform, in space of three minutes.
Dave - We gave a research website, Walnuts Limited. Camel Research of TikTok users has found that when they come to the platform, get inspired to buy something or inspired by a brand or service, wow. The means they come there to somehow propensity to purchase and engage in a brand just goes well. So it’s your point, it’s there to entertain, but suddenly commerce is just blending into it, into that psychology almost.
Camilla - It also is driven by who inspires them as well again, and I think we’ll see that shift again and again. But take 5-10 years ago, it was often only those of influence, only the mainstream. Your peer to peer recommendation was always important, obviously, but that shift in terms of where you get your who informs your thinking, you know, in that community piece, and I’m sure Paul will be, anything you want to stay on that.
Paul - I think that there is also it used to be a limited number of options. So trust didn’t matter too much, right? Because basically if you went into a store, whoever had enough money to advertise on one of the major TV channels and actually your consumption behavior was somewhat limited. But now actually you saying, Dave, that the ability for us to whip up a shopify store and sell anything, and then you have all the various different drop shipping that’s going on through Amazon. Actually, trust then becomes really hard because you’re overwhelmed by decision. Your decision used to be limited not just by who was that? It could be that you were limited to this store or that store because that’s the only one that was in your high street. And then when suddenly when you’ve got millions of choices, actually, then how do I limit my choice? Then becomes the behavior that you have to do, who do I choose? Who I trust more? And then it became about building trust, building reputation, the first of which was reviews. And then we’ve kind of compounded. On top of that, we’ve got those various different things to try and tell you that, oh, there’s only five left or 13 people are viewing at this point right now. You get urgency and you get the panic. And then I think, ultimately, we’re now moving to a stage of consumption behavior which is dictated by various different people whom we choose to take information from. And as content creators that we choose to follow, that we choose to stream, that we choose to listen to, whoever it is, their opinions will shape our opinions, and we’ll go with their opinions. And in this, I am also including our friends, who we follow on Instagram, and our family, we take messages from WhatsApp as well. But that’s the way that we decide, because I think reaching a stage of decision fatigue of every single person, that anything that can reduce that, anything that can make yeah, you should go with this one. And therefore I don’t need to then look at 15 different options and read the reviews and go down to the one star one to see if they’re not so good. I just got, all right, my best mate says, do this, I’m going to go with that.
Dave - It’s just easier instead of all the dash of people, buy from people.
Paul - Yeah.
Camilla - At scale.
Dave - Yeah.
Lisa - That will circle, some may say. So with this space we have, there’s a number of different demographics and I guess how do these demographics play a part in the future of social commerce and how do these demographics drive revenue in different ways, because we have a few different groups that play here that we’ve seen as different platforms have emerged.
Paul - TikTok, surely you guys are going to have more data and demographics than anyone else as you invade and secretly track everything that we’re doing.
Dave - So what we’ve seen, and I think there’s an interesting kind of cognitive distance, there are bias around TikTok in in our industry in that it’s for young people and it’s just girls dancing. That’s why it’s dates. And also it’s just a brand channel. So I’ll get to that in a minute. But the fastest demo, fastest growing demographics we see are the 35 to 44 demos on the platform. Interesting, I recall in the UK alone, I think UK and us quite similar in the breakdown. About 70% to 80% of the user base is in that cohort and it’s 44 plus there as well. And I think the reason being is these older demos are growing very quickly because it’s not a social media platform, it’s entertainment platform. There’s something there for, like, book talk, like feta cheese. We suddenly sell out feta cheese in the UK because people start to do things like the. Yeah. Like you see all these trends and phenomena and it’s a place where culture is just exploding. And because of that, because culture is born and culture for everyone and all these multicultural are things that’s where you start to see all the demographics come in in a very big way. And then they’re spending like 120 minutes a day on the platform sort of watching a film basically on TikTok equivalent. And then when you bring the brand side into it, it’s gone from being a branch on it’s now performance channel, and there’s also TikTok shop there to bring the whole loop together. So if she sees something in your feed, she goes to the brand shop or the creator shop and transacts in the app. So it’s a much different platform that people think it is in terms of demos and usability and what’s actually happening from social commerce perspective.
Camilla - I was going to come at the question in a different angle, more from when we think about different segments through the marketing lens of how you then approach that as well. I mean, for a long time, if you spoke to any marketing director and their team, if you talk about driving social commerce, you’d be thinking about people with significant influence probably as the primary channel. Whereas really, I think that needs to pivot completely and you’re already seeing that. But through down to thinking about your customer first and foremost, how do you really mobilize that engine? And ironically, we’ve always been focusing on people of influence to drive us new customers without using our existing customer base to actually drive that customer base further. And actually the authenticity and the power they’ve got by being an existing user anyway is way more authentic in the first place. But the other audiences that get me really excited, as well as your employee base experts, a lot of these slightly more untapped world. I mean, there was a big project that was going on while I was at Charlotte Tilbury with Jewel, and still is going on these days, which is Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Makeup Stars program, where we had 800 makeup artists working for the business. And actually, again, going back to my sort of that Avon ladies sort of comment that I made, you know, how do you turn, how do you use that world to supercharge and superpower, what’s going on in terms of that influence, to then drive that broader demographic piece that you’ve got going on in terms of the actual end user?
Speaker E - Yeah, it’s interesting.
Paul - We’re seeing at Jewel, I mean, we work with 50 odd brands around the world and so we’re seeing an odd we’re seeing all the different demographics I’ve been putting in from quite a wide lens. And you have something like Magic Makeup Stars with makeup artists. You see quite a few of those as industry pros, but it doesn’t stop there. You’ve got anyone who is a trusted node within a network who can influence someone’s sale is someone who can drive commerce socially. Right? So, yeah, you’ve got the makeup artists, but you’ve also got industry professionals such as climbing instructors, ski instructors, professional athletes. You have social creators and like fashionistas who they are famous for their style or for their makeup tutorials and so when they recommend a particular beauty brand it has massive impact and it can drive revenue but it comes from an authentic place because they are genuine experts in what they talk about. So I think that’s what’s really interesting is it’s going downstream. Who is the node that can influence people in the most authentic way? Not the person who’s got the most reach. I heard actually from a TikTok creator, the best definition that you referred earlier about how we can’t say influencers anymore and they’re creators but actually I think that the idea of anyone who’s creating content on a platform that’s being consumed out in the world that’s a creator. But an influencer is someone who’s famous. We previously called them celebrities but they’re someone who’s got they have been quantifiably given a fame score on their Instagram account or whatever that says this person has 4.3 million followers, therefore they’re an influencer. But then there are all the other millions of people who are influential to a group of people but it’s not a substantial amount of people. If you look at Instagram for example, 65% of people on there have more than 1000 followers. So that basically means the majority of people can influence a thousand people. And a thousand people is basically a village.
Camilla - A thousand true fans.
Paul - So you can see a thousand true fans. That can they can. That can really. And if you imagine if a brand would be able to get 1000 people to go out by one of their products and then tell one other person, I think every brand would jump at the opportunity. And that’s kind of what we’re allowing to happen now.
Dave - When you talk about the nodes, do you find the brands you’re working with are kind of daunted by where do we find these people and who these people are because it’s become earlier wildwell west, there’s everyone out there. How are you working with brands to help them, guide them and find these people?
Paul - We get this question every single day and this one asked me earlier what’s the big most common question is. Well, where do I find advocates basically? And the answer is the same is they already exist. You are saying to your customers they live within the channels that you already have given someone the opportunity to engage with you, reach out to you, follow you. So the biggest of which is your biggest community is your customer community in your CRM if you’ve got one particularly for a DTC brands but also a social channel. It doesn’t matter whether it’s TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, those people who opt in to say I am following you, I like your brand enough that I’d like to see content from you. Those guys are fans. And so if you can then say hey, would you like to do something with us. And you kind of open up to them and they opt in. There is a kind of a meeting in the middle. There’s a relationship building piece. And when they create content, when they go out there and they promote and they advocate, it comes from a very authentic place and therefore and it’s that authenticity, it’s that trust that converts. And we’ve experiments that can convert about three times higher. It’s just by the difference between a pay to play like sort of pay me to pretend to like your brand influencer and someone who’s a genuine fan side by side, they will outperform that three times, which is quite remarkable.
Dave - We have lots of brands in our audience today. So, yeah, absolutely. That might start from within, look from within and build out from there.
Camilla - I also think you’ve got I mean, the beauty of TikTok is spread that on and there’s other ways and other channels that’s doing that right now. But you talked about democratization earlier, but how someone with and you think and you’re talking about the sphere of influence from celebrity through to essentially a friend of ours. And that nano influence. But based on how the algorithm can work on TikTok, as we all know, one piece of content can go famous overnight, let alone if that person has got that huge influence. I remember there was a cast member which is one of this what Sephora called their employees when I was at Chart Tubbie. And this one cast member made this incredible piece of content showing the efficacy of a product that we had. And it went I mean, I hate using the word viral. I don’t call it anymore, but I’m going to determine that trending.
Dave - Trending.
Camilla - But, you know, one person that we didn’t even know was in our brand ecosystem as an advocate for our brand, essentially made more influence than the Kardashians put together in terms of such an impact.
Dave - Looking within is an interesting way to see it because we see some of the brands we’re working with, the ones who kind of most leaned into trying to find ways to particularly create ads that convert. And quite often it’s the employees in the room, especially the ones, the younger folk who are on the platform, who know the visual language, they know the identity, they know what’s trending. And this is where I find more exciting. It’s sort of figured democratization. It’s the actual creative directors of yesterday and all these things, they don’t really get this new space. Whereas the younger folk in the companies, they’re the ones who know what’s going on. They know what’s trending, they know how to engage, they know it’s LoFi, they know it’s authentic. And they’re the ones who are taking the brand or taking the product and service in the office and creating content. And that is performing incredibly well. So it’s actually brands looking who they have in the office and empowering them to be the kind of creative leaders of tomorrow.
Paul - And it’s not just the office. I think this is where brands are sitting on an untapped goldmine. I think you touched on it earlier. Familiar is that in a store, if you’re a retail brand, you will have thousands of store members, store associates. If 65% of them are on Instagram, they’ve got more than 1000 followers. But they’ve also got all of those that’ve got your product, they know your brand value, they know your brand narrative, they know how to tell that story. And they probably love the brand as well. It comes from a pretty authentic place. And I think look at Lululemon. You guys got 25,000 store employees. And the way that you know whether someone who works for Lululemon in the room is they’re probably already told you and they head to toe Lululemon and they talk about it all the time. But if you just imagine, okay, well, how do I weaponize that audience? 25,000 people each going out, creating content, talking about their lives, their fitness, their products and doing it and making sure that lives natively on whatever platform they create for the one that they work for, where their friends and their community live. It just is so authentic and so powerful.
Dave - The thing is, it’s actually not that this deal seems daunting. Brands actually not that hard when you start to break it down like that. It’s actually look at what you have around you. It’s more DIY, but it’s a lot easier than writing brief, traditional advertising. Like it briefs the brief and then the brainstorming. It’s just get the phone, get the product service and go play.
Camilla - Yeah.
Dave - And that’s it. And your point is like looking around who you have, you have an army of people who are advocates for your brand because they want it, they’re competitive with each other. Like it’s all there for the day. It’s just a new muscle and mindset for brands.
Camilla - And I think everyone feels very on the brand side. I talked to a lot of much earlier stage businesses who have super overwhelmed about where to start right now and how to solve it. And what I keep reminding them is, yes, there’s some brands that are doing it brilliantly across thousands of people. But start at small, start at home, start with, you know, ten will impact another ten, which will impact another ten. It will grow and more importantly, better to start where’s that where there’s an authentic base to start from that you can then build off versus trying to build inauthentic relationships with people that don’t do it at scale.
Paul - And that’s the key word, relationship. If you want someone to go out and create on your behalf, they’re going to do it because of more often more than money for showing that. That will help. There’s no doubt about that. But they’ll do it. It’s a relationship. They’ve got to understand the brand values and the brand and the story. For them to tell your story, that’s like basic stuff. They need to know it. So if a small brand is going out there, going out to try and do this, the advice that I always give them is nurture that. Just find a bunch of people within your customer base, talk to them, build a relationship with them, chat to them, and then they will go out and they’ll create on your behalf and be a part of it and just platform them and celebrate them. Every single time someone talks about your brand online, you like and you comment and you reshare and you put them into their CRM e-mail, just say, thanks so much to whoever who did this. It’s not that hard just to kind of be nice and be kind with it. Just do that enough and you’ll build up a bit of a brand stuff.
Lisa - Yeah, brands out there, treat them like gold. Absolutely. And then, Dave, just switching a little bit gears into the actual platforms out there. How are social platforms encouraging social commerce or helping social commerce?
Dave - What’s your opinion on that TikTok we have, Well, first of all, what works in the platform from ads and organic perspective is what we’re all talking about. Very human led, very authentic, low quality shot and phone vertical. That’s just what works. That’s your best practice. Like, there’s loads of nuances there. You have to work with hooks and everything, all that sort of thing. But as a starting point, that’s starting point, a product on a white background following her on the Internet is gone, thank God. Discouraged ecommerce and even these bespoke beautiful Hollywood productions of products that’s gone as well. That doesn’t work on the platform. And what does work is the humans, the humans playing. So we’re really gung ho and supporting brands with this because it’s their path to success in the platform. And also we find it’s kind of a new creative bar in the industry. If you get this working, you probably tell the platforms it might work well. But what we have is a TikTok creator marketplace. So the marketplace, any brand can go to there’s ten class counts, over 500,000 there. And you can select creators by demographics, people who follow them, what products have trended around them, sort of wealth of data there to help you understand, pick and select a brand. Let’s say I sell tennis rackets or something. There’s a crater over there, that building over there, that building over there that can do that. And the price point is there. You can just brief them there within the system and it brings you back into the ad system and the organic flow as well. So we have a whole platform within the platform for creators and brands to work with them.
Paul - Do you think that devalues, again, the authenticity of the advocacy? If they aren’t an actual customer, you’re kind of searching them and you’re kind of paying them to pretend it’s like they’re active, rather than in a world where authenticity is the currency that matters most? How do you sort of play that off? Because that seems almost counter to a lot about what TikTok’s about.
Dave - I suppose that the people there are the ones who are the authentic. I think we have a team, we have quite a substantial team who are working to understand and make sure these are the right creators to be featured in the marketplace. It’s not just everyone gets put there. So there’s that authenticity filter is being done by us as an organization. I do get your point. It’s not as good away as going to finding real ambassadors and advocates for that brand. But given what we’re talking about, the complexity and the daunting task for brands to find people, this is kind of one way we’re kind of going to help brands and we also, again, we encourage brands to in house. Who do you have? Who do you have your customers? So we’re doing all that as well. And we have a wealth of creative partners in our ecosystem who can work with brands as well. And at any agency we’re trying to help cover all angles, really. I do get your point. It’s not, as Michael McCarthy slightly controlled working with these, but it’s there to be tested and tried. It’s I think social and humans in general isn’t perfect, it’s messy. So the thing is, you’re going to have to work with it and find what works best.
Paul - And we find that across the board. It’s part of a mix, right? As with marketing, it’s part of a mix is that brands would love to work with true brand ambassadors or customers, but sometimes that’s not on offer. Or they’ve worked with all of one brand that’s got such a big powerful program that they’ve actually saturated their customer base and they’re working in new markets. So, like, if you’re a British brand, wanted to work in North America where you don’t have any customers, so therefore you won’t have any advocates, you’ve got to go a different approach. But one of the things there is just that, well, still, there should be an expectation of education, of learning. Gifting products just get into people’s hands and so they can try it out for us.
Camilla - I was going to say I love the role of the affiliate world as well, to drive all of this. I think, again, there’s some risk for brands where they’re testing and trialing without knowing that impact that person. But if there’s ways and assuming new partners and technology and solutions to be able to layer in an affiliate model that feels quite risk free in terms of that trial and creating a bit of that incentivization before you necessarily need to then take it to that fully paid format as a middle ground, which I think is quite exciting.
Paul - I think that’s a big. Shift that’s going to or is already happening. I know that a lot of budgets have been pulled away and there’s been a lot of disruption in this sort of influence the space. A lot of platforms are really struggling as they kind of budgets move away from it as people try and figure out what’s going on. And in a lot of cases they’re bringing them in house. It seems that there is a similar trend that’s happened. First of all, social media came out and there are a whole load of social agencies that exploded and they did incredibly well. And then social media became in house and in fact it became such a sort of dismissive thing. It’s the thing that the intern does in some organizations even though it’s like their biggest mouthpiece. But I have other opinions about that, but it’s something which is always done in house and then influencers came out and everyone’s like don’t know how to do it and agencies start to explode and then it starts to be brought in house, like social commerce and there are some social commerce specific agencies that are popping up. There’s a lot of TikTok agencies you said, within your ecosystem because people just don’t know how to do it. And it will be interesting to see if that will probably go through the same trend that starts to be bringing in house.
Dave - It depends on the minds that you have as a business. I think if you’re going to be a business that truly drives, especially as we’re sorry, the R words recession as we go through this period, the brands that businesses truly drive are customer focused, customer obsessed. So to that point, the intern who does social media or the grad who’s doing social commerce stuff over here in the corner, you’re missing the point. They’re the people who are actually engaging with your customers. They have a feedback loop that you should be bringing back to parts of the business and they can create just a whole new space like TikTok. They should be the ones given more responsibility. They should be empowered because they are on the frontline with your customer. If you want to try today and tomorrow, you want to be there.
Lisa - Yeah, love it. Yeah, go ahead.
Camilla - I don’t know if it’s a change of subject completely, but we’re talking a lot about social commerce off brand platforms and obviously talking about how it’s not brand led. However, I did just want to just touch on as well what I think is quite exciting in terms of brands trying to make their e-comm platforms feel social in nature as well. And that reverse switch. So I can’t remember when one of you said at the beginning the pop up from FOMO where it’s like five people are shopping your brand at any one time through to talking to a company essay called Ganda who have these pop up box pops that when you’re sitting on a PDP page. You start feeling almost like you’re in a world of TikTok in terms of video streaming, but not embedded in the page that feels like you’ve just blended your social world and the world of ecommerce at once.
Dave - E-commerce sites are so static. It used to be of the products, my background is great, but now we have a model, like, why can’t that be more like, why can’t that be a video and they’re actually trying it on there. And then.
Camilla - There was another one. I just blow my mind in terms of currently any resolution for publisher sites, but it’s going to shift, hopefully social platforms as well, a company called Carted where you can be, say, reading an article and put like three items in your basket with three different brands and you check out on that page, you don’t even leave. And then you get those three different delivery confirmations from the brand. You never even need to leave that page. So you never even have to end that world for multi brand shopping as well because there’s still obviously there’s plenty of solutions to that single-brand in app, in platform shopping lease.
Paul - You’re removing the retailer from it, but it’s still direct to consumer but it’s multi brand.
Camilla - So people like department stores for a long time where you could get multiple things at once. And then suddenly there was the shift of, okay, you could then shop in app and make it more convenient. And that compressed commerce, but it still only sold the one brand. And now you can all those shifts.
Dave - And it aligns to the actual culture on the street where it’s like, what are you wearing? That kind of question. And you can see the magazines and stuff and it’s like this, this and this brand. Why can’t that be translated into these text messages where you can just what.
Camilla - Was it you’re talking about the red dress analogy to me earlier.
Paul - Well, with the AI wants me to go really deep on the latest AI research. But yeah, it just that blowing my mind. Because we can take the let’s just say, for example, we want to create the perfect piece of content to persuade me to buy a particular product. Is that the AI can take our public information, aka. Like our Instagram account, where we’ve got our faces on there, our likes, our tastes, our likeness as well. And that’s quite important. And then we’ve got a particular product, a red dress, a blue suit, whatever, that we have also an entire likeness. And then the AI, we have stitched that together to show a picture of me walking down the street in the blue suit doing whatever. And this means that creative has just been completely rethought because an AI is going to do something that’s better and able to scale better than anything that’s ever been before. So what do we mean? How do we sort of tap into that customer experience where I think it gets very interesting like the AI aside because that’s another rabbit hole.
Lisa - I was going to say…
Paul - The kind of the social commerce element of it is because we will have such good, such efficient content creation, whether that’s text or image which is AI enabled in many ways in a very, very short period of time, I predict, over that period of time, what becomes more important then is the distribution mechanic. It becomes the trust channel that you do, which is when social commerce a trusted person that you like or you see or you’re inspired by, you’re just browsing through TikTok, you’ve never heard of them, but what they create is very convincing enough so that enough people liked it and the algorithm put it forward, right? So that then becomes the piece. And what I think brands will and do find the hardest is to relinquish the control. And you were talking about the idea of an ecommerce site which has content with someone’s like a very generic white background, someone’s face on it. Now, at Jewel we have a user generated content tool and we have tens of thousands of pieces of incredible UGC for many of our brands. And we can literally just power all their ecommerce set pages and we haven’t been able to get a single brand to do it. They just don’t want to rely. You can be entirely UGC and they’re like the models and the shoots. And we have managed to reduce some content creation budget so they do only one shoot a year rather than five because they’re using it. But still the ecommerce sites look the same and it feels really old school. And so I think that’ll be a thing that we’ll see changing a lot more is that you say that experience, that social experiences in the same way that wherever you are now, whether you’re now on TV ads, you see people clapping and in a way, a TikTok-style effect that changes from one scene to the next scene is now the norm. The way that people consume content, I suspect the way that we buy and the way we present and the way that we market will then follow this trend. So I think we will see a lot more UGC and creative edge content on product display pages. But be amazed. It’s blowing me away how hard it’s been.
Lisa - We’ve got ten minutes left and we have a lot of brands on here who are popping through with questions. So before I really want to get to you guys out there, what are some examples, brands that are thriving in the social commerce space? Any examples of brands who are doing this really well? I know we’ve just talked about a few examples there, so any other ones that could be useful for our audience today?
Dave - Like I said, I call out World Cosmetics, World Deodors, they’re doing amazing stuff on TikTok, Twitter from how they’re working on creating their organic content that feeds into ads, quite significant volumes. And they’re really nail it’s authentic. They’re doing a lot of it in house. So just the creative mindset and muscle they have for this new space. I think they’re one of the leaders in the UK and also they’ve just started doing live shopping the last couple of weeks and really starting to evolve that this is what I say to brands with this new live shopping phenomenon that’s coming over. If you think of it as QVC, that’s fine. That’s your kind of go-to bias or mentor model. But I challenge brands to make this whole new place for shopping. You as a shopkeeper, try and do something completely wild, like go, it’s a whole new place to do something, so try it out. And wild are starting to do that. They start to get really interesting creative in this new space while also having the whole organic and ad.
Lisa - Great, we have the authentic first leading into a wider strategy. What else do we have up there?
Paul - I think the leaders in this space are beauty, fashion brand brands in terms of they’re very visual, they’re very social first, and also they know their customer is on social rather than a lot of brands. They kind of pretend they’re not necessarily, but they’re very much yeah, all right, this is our channel and they invest heavily in it. And so we’ve seen some really great programs, people building large communities of advocates and creators who will go out there and kind of creating amazing content, putting out there and then driving very substantial amounts of revenue through it. So I think quite a few in the jewelry space. One of our favorites, Monica Villa, they’re working with thousands and thousands of creators, and the hashtag #mvinsiders is just like hundreds of thousands of pieces on there. So that one’s incredible brands like Neon in terms of candles and things like that. Mint Velvet doing a phenomenal job, very curated, but content that’s still kind of hundreds of creators putting things out there. I think it’s just I think anyone who is, like I said, relinquishing the power, just letting these guys tell the story and just like empowering them with, here’s our product, here’s why we believe this is what we believe, and then say, go and tell people what you think.
Dave - To that point, I think if you’re a CMO and you have a book of brand guidelines, honestly, honestly, that’s it. I just think you have to just throw it out the window and let the real people, your advocates, guide your brand and that they’ll be winner as well.
Camilla - I think what’s important when we talk about, like, best case examples, it’s easy for them to think about the bigger brands that have a lot of big teams, big spending power, ability to bring in amazing partners like the Jewel. But actually, sometimes it’s even the startups, I think, which are doing exciting things going back to your point about the reliance on big shoots and that big creative, they don’t have the money for those big budgets. Their creative starts raw and starts with real people and starts with three employees around the table. And actually, it’s where you see some of your best work, where it’s actually that just getting scrappy, getting real, and, as you say, putting the power, trusting in your brand, that the voices will tell it in a way that might not be exactly how you tell it you would have told it, but it’s authentic, and it’s their interpretation of your brand.
Paul - Like more loathing. That’s what she and the successful is coming from and so much of that kind of content is that authentic message that you’re using.
Lisa - People, got a couple of audience questions here. Thank you all for sending these through. Let’s see how many we can get through as a branch that is different, go into social commerce. We’ve kind of gone over a little bit, but this is a good one to touch more on not having the bandwidth to fully figure it out yet as a lot of brands out there have not what are like three main steps they can take or actions. If we kind of take the discussions we’ve been having today and whittle it down to some best practices, what can the brand do tomorrow in house to start building out more of a social commerce strategy or channel? If you had to pick three.
Paul - I would say I’d start off with just reach out to your existing your own channels and offer it. Just say that we’re looking for creators, we’re looking for brand ambassadors. Are you one? And a creator is not an influencer, right? This isn’t someone who’s got millions of followers. It will be someone who self identifies as a creator. They could have three followers. The fact that they do that, it’s unlikely they only have three followers if they create and put themselves out there. But it’s a modest audience, but they’re following you, they’re fans of you and they self identify as a creator. And you say do you want to do this and we’ll give you some free product. It costs you virtually nothing to do that. And then they will then sign up, just start then engaging with them instead of WhatsApp group of a slap channel an email list and then just start building and nurturing those guys to say look, we’ll give you free product if you start creating and you’ll stop being prescriptive and tell them what you want them to say. And also don’t worry, you will get breakage 10% of that content. The products you send out will not get any content created on it. And some people won’t create content for three months afterwards, but just like trust in it because they will trust in you, trusting in them.
Camilla - Great.
Lisa - Anything else to add on that one?
Camilla - I would just be like the same tactic, but on different channels to identify your top 20. Start to watch 20 customers, start nurturing them, say thank you to them, gift them something earlier and new product launch, bring them into the fold. And then the third tip would be just look at your employees and even if that’s two of them, what can you do and how can you nurture it?
Dave - I’d agree with the employees on the next company meeting, ask everyone in the audience who has TikTok and who’s posted on TikTok, and then give them a raise.
Lisa - Yeah. And also, why do they love the brand? Right? I think we talked to a lot of brands. It’s really interesting when we put those questions out there and see what kind of brand values actually resonate with employees or with customers. And brands are sometimes surprised they might have a top one or two values that they think, but it might be something else. So starting with those customers and those employees and asking them the question is a great place to start. Great. Okay, we have another one. How do you manage audience concerns about privacy and lack of protection on transactions made over social commerce platforms, particularly with an older audience demographic, privacy and lack of on-transactions made?
Camilla - Good question.
Paul - How much transactions are you actually driving through TikTok as the platform itself, or how much of that goes towards the brand it’s spinning.com?
Dave - And yeah, I think that comes down to the structures and rigor that businesses, right?
Paul - That’s it.
Dave - It’s how you’re dealing with everything from GDPR to so on, so forth, and your own supply chain, your own deliveries, everything. That’s the whole thing. I think that’s more business operations to.
Lisa - Look at and that’s a different demographic, I guess, as well.
Camilla - But I think my advice and everything is focus on the low hanging fruit and where there’s opportunity, if there’s audiences that are resistant to the movement or whatever you’re trying to do, it’s going to take a whole lot more work to try and convert them immediately.
Speaker E - And I think that goes back to trust and authenticity. If you’re having people talking about that product or brands to those people that they trust and believe in, that they’re advocating for this brand they bought from, I think that kind of social proofing gets off that hurdle.
Paul - And we were talking about the cool and sexy TikToks of the world. Right there is the old big F, right? We’ve got big blue Facebook. And actually I’m nerdy enough to have gone through all the data that people use to get the stats around the 3.3 billion trillion dollars by 2028. And a huge amount of that revenue is coming through Facebook marketplace. And they’re kind of counting that as revenue that’s coming driven through social, which is debatable. But Facebook is a massive channel and my parents are on Facebook, those people, and there is also already a huge amount of revenue happening. And this is thinking about, these are forums, these are Facebook groups where people are saying, hey, I need a thing, and someone says, oh, by the way, I use this, I found it really good. If they go by that social commerce, it’s probably already happening with that business.
Camilla - I think Facebook is actually for all of their challenges and faults, no one else has cracked that closed same community world. And whatever topic you’re in, whether you’re in beauty or new first mums or people going through P.E. with Joe and losing weight, there’s really safe spaces where people really rely on those communities and they’re almost quite powerful, quite scary powerful. The influence they have on one another there and the decisions they make.
Paul - Yeah, probably more influential than to anyone. You stumble on something but you feel someone you genuinely trust says, buy something, you go and you buy to the conversion rate and the time to purchase is much, much shorter.
Camilla - Yeah, okay. It looks like a marketplace of needs as well. I’m looking for, you don’t see that on the other options.
Lisa - We have one here with what am I, my brand need to do to start paying attention from a social commerce perspective that they’re currently not? How can brands adapt and move into this space if they don’t see it quite as a priority yet? I feel like this is maybe from brands who make wider company, they don’t see this as a need to act.
Camilla - Now, I would just listen to some of the stats you said at the beginning of the session and requested, if I’m really honest in terms of that priority. I mean, the number one country of adoption of social commerce is actually Thailand at 88%. UK is still around 46%. But if you’re talking about the trillions. And numbers, like coming up. I think sharing some facts would help.
Lisa - Got some facts sharing.
Dave - I think you have to look at if you look at past eras and things like it’s like there was the internet, like you should be there if you’re a brand. Then there was pivot to mobile. Should be doing that. I think this is the new one where it’s human-led creator-led marketing and commercials and I think this is going to be here for forever.
Camilla - You have to lead in and do I say cheaper?
Paul - Yeah.
Camilla - I talked to a lot of peers all the time and friends in the industry. The tide has definitely turned, but I remember a lot of conversations only three years ago where people say, wait, your title is advocacy director. What do you actually do and how do you actually get a business to believe the impact you can be making in a world like that? I just think that the proof is there now in the data points and if you can shift the cost of acquisition into a different model yeah, definitely.
Paul - If you’re working at a brand that’s not quite ready for it and won’t adapt to it, that’s great. When your brand doesn’t survive, there’ll be lots of other brands you can go get a job at. You want to look at it negatively. Sorry, but the other thing is that you were saying about the advocacy. We’ve been tracking that from a job title perspective. We started talking about advocacy about four years ago. Five years ago, there was about ten roles on LinkedIn, and you were one of them, I think. And then now there are thousands and it’s become a thing. But what I don’t think is it’s not particularly well understood. Advocacy is basically word of mouth, generally happening online. And it’s any way that someone who is a fan of the brand or a customer is supporting or recommending it over a period of time. And that’s the definition in terms of that relationship that they have with them, which is key. And I think so much about social commerce is just the output. It’s the outcome you get of great advocacy. Put those together. So what a brand can do is that they can work really focused on, well, how do I nurture those relationships with my existing customer? Is to give them a remarkable experience so they become fans. And once they become fans, and how do I get them to tell other people about it? And once they’ve done that, how do I get them to do it again? And it’s just like run through those and think about how do I just add value in every single touch point? And then the advocacy will take care of itself. And once you’ve got that, it’s all going to happen on social. So you’re going to be fine.
Lisa - Okay, well, thank you, everyone. I guess the last question we’ve got time for today is, how does social commerce impact the high street and the future of shopping experiences?
Camilla - Well, believe that specific I shared earlier in terms of overtaking, because I think there’s quite a big shift, there’s a big movement. I think it’s called ROBO. I don’t know whether you meant the acronym of Research Online Buy Offline. In terms of a shift, I think the role in offline shopping is going to be actually bigger than over the last couple of years in terms of the post covered world and that return to discovery. So I think there’s going to be always that relationship between the two of them. I can’t imagine a world personally where in-person doesn’t exist, but I think it will be very different. I mean, maybe there won’t be retailers, maybe all go into the equivalent of what soldiers looks like. And it’s basically all of us sharing our wares and mini marketplaces offline. I don’t know, but I struggled to see a world where it’s gone completely.
Dave - Yeah, I think it’s following your customers wherever they are as the kind of principle. But also, like, you start to see a lot of talk of like, how do we okay, how does DTC brand, ecommerce brand exists in the omnichannel world? I think we’ve seen kind of best in class in the UK with the opening of Gym Shack store on Regent Street. Was blown away by that. It was like, this is a full multipurpose space, it’s a gym in the store. And they just brought and of course, they’re a brand who kind of led the charge in this creator-led movement and they’re bringing those principles of the customer and deploying what they know and what they learned from the customer into that store. People can go and sort of we know how much gym is costing in London, but it’s free there for their customers. Just these things that really taught for really customer folks obsessed. And if you apply those principles and that taught mindset to if it’s your .com your shop on TikTok or your store or pop up, whatever, you’re going to.
Lisa - Win a huge omnichannel channel play there for sure.
Paul - Yeah. And I would add to that social commerce, you’d be forgiven to think of social commerce is just direct to consumer brands. Advertising makeup is like creators on TikTok. And what it is, is it’s an umbrella term that actually, I think, allows brands to be able to focus a lot of disparate things that have sat in other parts of an older school infrastructure. CRM, over here. PR. Here. Where does influencers go? They kind of go PR and we got social. No one knows what to do with a lot. Social commerce actually brings it together. It’s any commerce, any revenue that is influenced by social. It doesn’t have to happen online. Think of the feta cheese you’re referring to, but sold across the lab. It’s all been bought in store, but it’s influenced by social. And so I think by actually freeing yourself with those and just thinking, well, how do I influence the opinions of my customers? Where is their attention? Well, 120 minutes a day is spent on TikTok. Well, there’s a good place to spend your time to try and influence and try and do that and then where they purchase it doesn’t matter. Do you need to attribute it? It would help if you could, but also doesn’t matter too much, but also.
Camilla - Social comments as well, like straddles the gap. Like, let’s say, for example, I was shopping a fashion brand that didn’t have an in person outpost. If I can see someone who’s my body shape wearing it on their channel or even somehow the brand housing it, then it partly removes the need to even go in and try it because half of the challenge of traditional e-commerce was, well, there’s a beautiful model that’s a size eight and that doesn’t relate to me. I think social commerce can also blend the offline online shopping experience and bringing a bit of reality to CBC, definitely.
Paul - And reduce returns as well in the carbon footprint. That’s kind of happening with a lot of fast fashion. That’s what 40 -50% standard return rate is actually if you show a real person wearing it and it has been.
Lisa - Shown to actually reduce definitely all complementing each other in that big wheel of where your customers are and where they want to be. So lots for brands to take in. We are out of time. However, as you all can see, there’s so much to talk about with this subject and in this space. So we’ve actually recently launched a Future of Social Commerce for 2023. We published the report on our website so that’s accessible to all. You can just go to duel.tech and it’s in the top NAV there under the Future of Social Commerce. So if you want to read a little bit more, have a little bit more visual for what we’ve been talking about today, we go into lots of more detail on that report. And thank you for everyone who has come to join us today. If you have put a question in the chat, we will get back to you. I will send them to our panelists and we can get some dialogue started over email so we have not forgotten about you. I have got you all right here. And finally, thank you to our three panelists. It’s amazing to have you here today and I hope you’ve enjoyed your time.
Camilla - Thanks for having us and thanks for helping lead the way in this category. We need podcasts like you guys to do that.
Dave - Thank you guys.
Lisa - Thanks. Bye everyone. Have a great evening.
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