Collapsing the Purchase Funnel with Shoppable Content

April 10, 2024

Shoppable content is changing the way we shop online, and it’s happening fast.

The era of static ads linking to a home page and a long-winded purchasing funnel is coming to an end. In its place is a more frictionless shopping experience which amplifies convenience and connection. This change is here to stay and the impacts on eCommerce are profound.

 

 

Alice Cleret, eCommerce Director, Transact

Given our increasing familiarity with shopping online and improvements to web interactivity, shoppable content was always destined for a growth spurt. But it’s the ubiquity of social media – in particular Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok – which is the “X” factor here. These platforms have been busy expanding their influence on eCommerce by reshaping the way people shop online. With features such as in-app checkouts, they have now become virtual storefronts, blurring the lines between social networking and online shopping.

The value of global social commerce is now predicted to more than double by the end of the decade, to reach US$1.33 trillion by 2029. The explosion of shoppable content is driving this growth.

This article explores the variety of shoppable content and its benefits to brands and consumers and recommends some key best practices.

 

What is shoppable content?


Shoppable content is basically any digital asset – social media posts, images, videos, or ads – which you can click on to make a purchase.
 

Unlike traditional ads, shoppable content integrates clickable elements that grant instant access to shopping features. This simplifies the path to purchase, allowing shoppers to go from browsing to buying in just a few clicks. 

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are the pioneers of shoppable content and they form the backbone of social commerce. Through this, brands have been able to inspire impulse purchasing decisions and drive higher conversion rates. 

At its most powerful, shoppable content merges information and commerce, offering an educational and interactive shopping experience. With it, brands can:

  • Inspire customers: Inspiration now plays a huge role for consumers when it comes to shopping. More than ever consumers are looking for real and authentic information which can help them understand product quality, aesthetics, and value.
  • Show social proof: Leveraging user-generated content such as real customer photos and videos helps brands develop trust, credibility, and authenticity.
  • Provide a seamless shopping experience: Longer shopping journeys and complex navigation can negatively affect the shopping experience. Shoppable content can make our shopping experience quick, easy, and hassle-free.
  • Drive conversions with content: Shoppable content streamlines the purchase journey where users can easily get information, engage with content, and shop the products they like instantly.

Different types of shoppable content

Shoppable images (on-site)

Shoppable images feature links and buttons embedded into product photos, allowing us to browse and buy without leaving the page. This real-time shoppability encourages instant conversions and reduces the risk of cart abandonment.

Tip: Brands can create and publish shoppable images easily with the help of third-party tools such as visual commerce platforms.

Shoppable video

Video content has exploded in popularity in recent years, with over 5 billion YouTube videos streamed daily. Shoppable videos add clickable links or buttons to enable viewers to shop products featured in the video in real-time. Videos are also shared far more than any other form of content, providing extended exposure and traffic.

Shoppable UGC (User-Generated Content)

People buy from people. That’s why user-generated content such as reviews, testimonials, and social media posts have become so valuable for building trust and credibility – a key currency in today’s marketplace. Shoppable UGC leverages this by allowing consumers to buy the products in user posts directly from the content itself, making the shopping experience more authentic and personalised.

By combining the power of UGC and shoppable media, brands can create a highly engaging user experience for their customers, which drives sales.

Tip: You can embed user-generated video content on your website and make them shoppable with Videowise. As a YouTube Compliant Partner, Videowise can help you find positive videos about your brand and products on YouTube, make them shoppable, and monetise them directly on your site. You can also use them in your other marketing strategies.

Shoppable articles 

Articles and blog posts provide a platform for brands to share valuable insights, tips, and useful information with their audience. Shoppable articles incorporating product links or buttons without interrupting the overall reading experience, seamlessly blending content and commerce. Adding shoppability to an article is a great way to sell the products, parallel to content engagement.

Shoppable ads 

1. Product shopping ads: These ads are prominently featured in Google’s shopping section and at the top of search results for relevant keywords within a scrollable ad panel, inviting users to discover products while browsing. Key details such as promotions, product ratings, and customer reviews providing valuable information to potential buyers right from the start. With one click users can delve deeper into the product and make more informed purchase decisions.

2. Visual ads: Visual ads highlight products in Google’s image search results. They can be annotated with pricing information and link directly to relevant product categories on eCommerce storefronts. With attention-grabbing visual appeal and a streamlined path to purchase, visual ads enhance the overall shopping experience for users exploring product options. 

3. Social media ads: Shoppable social media ads are available in a range of formats across the major social platforms, with Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok rolling out major improvements in recent years. These ads are a compelling way to connect users to relevant shoppable items, in a visually appealing, immersive fashion. They are making it easier to shop online while creating a new category of shopping experiences.

  • Collection: Collection ads on Facebook and Instagram create an immersive experience for users. After tapping on an initial creative, shoppers can browse an embedded storefront, additional content, and lifestyle images with tagged products. On Pinterest, collection ads appear in a user’s feed and display one large image with three smaller images below. Consumers are then taken to a full-screen ad with 24 additional images. 
  • Instagram checkout: Instagram’s checkout feature allows users to tap on an image to see tagged products and make a purchase entirely within Instagram’s embedded storefront.
  • YouTube shopping ads: Shopping ads on YouTube are displayed in research results based on keywords used, and next to videos (including livestreams) as they are played in a space called Product Shelf. Channels which make use of the Product Shelf also have a Store tab on their channel’s page which displays all products actively advertised alongside videos. 
  • YouTube video action ads: YouTube’s video action ads enable brands to integrate product feeds into a skippable in-stream or in-feed video ad.  
  • TikTok video shopping ads: Shoppable ads appear on relevant TikTok content. 
  • TikTok catalogue listing ad: Currently only available in the US, brands can add products to a new shopping page available within TikTok. 
  • TikTok Live shopping ad: Another TikTok ad format, live shopping ads are displayed during relevant livestreams. This format is still only available in select countries. 
4. Shoppable TV ads: Connected TV (CTV) is making shopping straight from your TV easier than ever. While still the most high friction platform for shoppable ads, it is rapidly catching up with display and social media.

As CTV ad formats still take customers to a secondary device, shoppable CTV ads are better suited for high-consideration products compared to other platforms. Consumers are able to spend the time they need researching on their mobile devices before committing to purchasing.

A range of shoppable ad formats are available on CTV including:

  • QR codes: Consumers can scan an in-ad QR code to learn more or instantly shop.
  • Video action: A link is displayed at the bottom of a video ad, directing users to browse or purchase from their phone.
  • Pause screens: When a consumer pauses their content, a shoppable ad appears. If your traditional ads are not working for you, consider something different. With shoppable ads, your customers can buy directly from your ad. Shoppable ads can be implemented anywhere —on social media, your website, even on display ads – so they fit well into any marketing strategy. Shoppable ads are always accompanied by a call-to-action button— so whether the user is watching a video or looking at an image, they’ll have one-click access from wherever the ad is placed.

Best practices for shoppable content 

 

Here are our 7 recommendations for creating effective shoppable content:

1. Define clear goals: Before you start, define what you want to achieve. Whether it’s boosting sales, raising brand awareness, or increasing engagement, having clear objectives will guide your content creation process.

2. Optimise video: Videos are powerful tools for showcasing products and capturing attention. Make sure they’re high quality, mobile-friendly, and visually captivating. Adding captions and transcripts can improve accessibility and SEO. It’s also essential to ensure your content is optimised for smartphones and tablets. 

3. Leverage user-generated content: Authenticity sells. Add as many customer photos, reviews, and testimonials as possible to build trust and showcase your products in real-life scenarios. Genuine customer reviews add credibility and increase your chances of converting viewers into shoppers.

4. Show shoppable links early: No matter what type of content you create, ensure your audience can access product information and instantly shop for what they like. Position your shoppable links and CTA prominently and early in your content to maximise their impact and minimise distractions – keeping viewers engaged throughout.

5. Show your product shots slowly: Give your viewers time to process the information and appreciate the product’s features. Slowing down the pace of product shots in social feeds allows viewers to observe the small details of your products and make an informed decision. It will help you build an honest bond with your customers.

6. Showcase new products: If you’re launching something new, make it the star of your shoppable content. Highlighting fresh arrivals can spark curiosity and drive impulse purchases.

7. Provide all necessary details: Don’t leave your audience guessing. Provide as much relevant data as possible, from cost to size specifications. The more informed a customer is, the more confident they’ll feel about making a purchase. 

 

Shoppable content is here to stay

 

Shoppable content is reshaping the landscape of eCommerce and altering the way we shop online. By integrating shopping opportunities into the fabric of our online experiences, it eliminates barriers and streamlines the path to purchase.  

Shoppable content allows potential customers to see products presented in actual scenarios and used by real people – often by influencers they trust and look up to. Brands can harness the power of shoppable content to tell compelling stories, engage their audiences, and inspire action. This evokes emotion and creates desire on a whole different level than anonymous product pictures on a brand website. With shoppable content, consumers can go from that emotion to action in an instant. 

Success in this space requires careful strategy and execution. By defining clear goals, optimising content for maximum impact, and leveraging user-generated content, brands can create immersive shopping experiences which resonate with consumers. 

As we look ahead, one thing is clear: shoppable content is here to stay, and its influence will only continue to grow. 

Are you ready to take your ads to the next level?

Our eCommerce team is ready to help you optimise your shoppable content, and fundamentally increase your online revenue.