Social shopping is the new normal.

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Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s been clear to brands that they will need to quickly adapt to survive. The lockdown has been devastating on the high street, but trends towards online shopping and a push to support local businesses has been profitable to those who have been able to adapt quickly.

It’s no surprise that since the start of lockdown, social media usage has gone through the roof. At the end of April, Facebook reported record-breaking numbers on usage, including users soaring from 2.6 billion to 3 billion worldwide. With people stuck at home they are turning more to social channels to share news, stay in touch and most importantly – shop. During one of Facebook’s recent insights sessions, the speaker noted that people are spending more time on brand pages, fulfilling their need for browsing that they can’t currently get on the high street.

It’s not just Facebook observing this trend, with Pinterest reporting a 55% surge in searches within the UK year on year. A stat that’s a bit more interesting to brands is that Pinterest has also seen a 63% increase in checkouts for retail brands on the platform. What’s clear from this is that the public are increasingly moving to social media channels for discovery and are increasingly comfortable with purchasing directly within the platforms.

The big players have all made some major moves to embrace and encourage shopping activity in recent months. Facebook announced Shops, a new feature intended for small businesses to easily set up an online store attached to their Facebook and Instagram profiles. A shopping tab will also be added for users to browse and discover new products and brands. In direct response to the lockdown, Instagram also launched a Support Small Business sticker to encourage users to follow and share their favourite small business pages via Stories.

At Snap’s recent Summit, SnapChat expanded the Snap Map to include Places, which displays key information for local businesses and even options for delivery in the US. At the start of the month, Snapchat also expanded its Dynamic Ads option to more countries (including the UK!). This is great news for e-commerce brands, as it means they can now easily serve inventory-connected ads with real-time information such as pricing.

Pinterest’s new Shop tab within the Lens camera is another example of how much the social giants are pushing users towards the checkout. The tab uses image search and pops up to display matching products in-stock when the user takes a photo of an item.

Although the end of lockdown might be round the corner, the public’s sense of safety has been dented. People may never return to the highstreet in the same numbers they did before. With Q4 quickly approaching, now is the perfect time for consumer-facing brands to ensure their products are visible on social media, profiles are optimised for discover and new ad options are explored to maximise conversion rate. If you’re needing any guidance on improving your organic or paid social, get in touch.