Social Shopping: GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL!

3 Simple Steps to Rule the Instant-Everything World...

14 Nov 2018 2631 Views

Written by Phuong Ailien Nguyen

“I wish that every time I ‘liked’ an outfit on Instagram it would magically appear in my closet.” – @bebe

We want anything, anytime, and anywhere. Nowadays, businesses face a great challenge to catch customers as fast as possible. According to BBC News[i], our average attention span is now reduced to only eight seconds – eight seconds in which businesses have to both encourage and engage with their consumers for an instant purchase. As all of us know, eight seconds are not much. So, how can you and your business make shopping more social and catch ‘em all? This blog post will provide you three simple steps on how to rule the instant-everything world and incorporate social shopping into your digital marketing strategy.

In the always-connected world of social media, the transformation of online consumer shopping patterns has changed in terms of convenience and ease. But one consumer behavior trend underlies all shopping patterns, no matter if online or in brick-stores: we shop out of impulse. Not to our surprise that many online clothing retailers such as e-commerce climber take advantage of that human trait and leverage social shopping through for instance the Buy-Button on Instagram which directly hints to their online shopping website or their shoppable user-generated content #AsSeenOnMe campaign.

Social media has become an emotional and impulsive media platform where we can search and choose wherever we are, make any payments within a second and get it delivered whenever directly on our hands – pretty instant, isn’t it?

Scaling Up Shopping Experience To A Whole New Level

Before getting started and implement social shopping into your business, we need to get the term of it right.

Recently, with the rise of social media, new challenges for marketing professionals emerge and businesses seem to struggle to discover opportunities for effectively leveraging the use of social media platforms in ways that create value.[ii] [iii] Brands have to understand that they are no longer the only players in this world, but their buyers are now the ones gaining power more than ever in this so-called pinball game. By (inter-)actively sharing likes or dislikes on social media about a product or service every single consumer automatically becomes a co-creator of a brand.[iv]

As a result, social shopping represents one way to drive value while leveraging the use of many social media channels and linking them to the actual brand. The term ‘Social Shopping’ combines shopping and social networking activities through social media online.[v] Hence, engaging with your buyers scales up the online shopping experience to a whole new level by not only capturing the buyer’s emotions for instant purchases but also pointing to faster sales across the brand.

So, how should you incorporate social shopping into your business now?

Here come three simple steps on how to rule this instant-everything world.

Social Shopping 3 Step Process

Picture 1: Social Shopping – 3 Simple Steps to Rule the Instant-Everything World

#1: Mine Social Media To Grow Audience

The first step in order to rule this instant-everything world is to mine as many social media channels as possible to catch consumers anywhere. By utilizing different online resources, you and your business are able to network and build a more personalized relationship with the buyers and thus, grow the audience immensely.iii [vi] Ensure that you know how each social media platform works, what audiences you can reach where and what your social shopping objectives are, and also engage with buyers in an interactive way to show your interest in them. This social approach will result in high clicking-streams and more instant purchases on your websites.[vii]


After exploiting social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat etc., the second step contains making the online media shoppable and user-friendly to catch potential buyers anytime.’s #AsSeenOnMe campaign is one example of user-generated content (UGC) social shopping. Their shoppable UGC gallery shows pictures of consumers sharing pictures of themselves wearing ASOS products on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe (Picture 2). In addition, with direct buy-buttons on the posts, ASOS links potential buyers to their online shop, allowing people to instantly buy the items pictured (Picture 3).  The proactive use of UGC in digital marketing strategy proves to be very successful because businesses can deliver both a human voice and an authentic picture of themselves by showing that they understand the needs of their buyers and interactively collaborate with them online.iii [viii] [ix] [x]

Social Shopping user-generated content #AsSeenOnMe campaign

Picture 2: Social Shopping – User-Generated #AsSeenOnMe Campaign

Another way to incorporate social shopping into your digital marketing strategy is to encourage instant purchase by creating chatbots on social media. Although chatbot is still an emerging technology, it already presents a hot topic in e-commerce because of its high potential of facilitating social shopping and customer interaction. In an age when customers increasingly expect businesses to be available at all hours of the day and night, you can use a chatbot to provide a 24/7 response channel on behalf of your business as ASOS does with their Facebook page (Picture 3). Nevertheless, consumers do not want to be talked at, but they want firms to listen, engage and respond instantly.[iii]

Social Shopping ASOS Instant Buy-Button Instagram

Picture 3: Social Shopping – a) @ASOS “Learn More” Instant Buy-Button on Instagram

Social Shopping ASOS Facebook page chatbot answer

Picture 3: Social Shopping – b) Chatbot in Action on Facebook page


The last step entails the never-outdated key to success: Listen to your customers.

If you don’t listen to them, you will lose them.

Whatever strategy you follow, never forget the basics in understanding your customers. Always exploit social media while focusing on customers’ needs: your brand should always offer and communicate a clear customer promise, build trust by delivering on it, continually improve the promise, and innovate beyond the familiar.[xi] It is not a secret that nowadays, marketers have to incorporate social shopping into their digital marketing playbook but they should rather revise it than rewriting it.xi

Social shopping has turned out to be one of the most important consumers shopping behavior trend in e-commerce today. If our average attention span is reduced to only about eight seconds, incorporating social shopping to foster instant purchase into your digital marketing strategy becomes all the more necessary. Thus, follow the above mentioned steps and you will be soon king in this instant-everything world.

Ready to get social about shopping? Click here to grasp inspiration of how other online retailers integrate social shopping into their digital marketing plan.



[i] BBC News (2017). Busting the attention span myth. BBC World Service. Retrieved on 11th November 2017. Retrieved from

[ii] Zhang, Y., Trusov, M., Stephen, A. and Jamal, Z. (2017). Online Shopping and Social Media: Friends or Foes?. Journal of Marketing, Vol. 81, pp. 24-41. Retrieved on 11th November 2017. Retrieved from

[iii] Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, J., McCarthy, I. P. and Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, Vol. 54, pp. 241-251. Retrieved on 12th November 2017. Retrieved from

[iv] Hennig-Thurau, T., Hofacker, C.F. and Bloching, B. (2013). Marketing the pinball way: understanding how social media change the generation of value for consumers and companies. Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 27, No. 4, pp.237-241. Retrieved on 1st November 2017. Retrieved from

[v] Wang, C. (2009). Linking Shopping and Social Networking: Approaches to Social Shopping. AMCIS 2009 Proceedings, Vol. 27. Retrieved on 11th November 2017. Retrieved from

[vi] Drury, G. (2008). Opinion piece: Social media: Should marketers engage and how can it be done effectively?. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, Vol. 7, pp. 274-277. Retrieved on 12th November 2017. Retrieved from

[vii] Olbrich, R. and Holsing, C. (2011). Modeling Consumer Purchasing Behavior in Social Shopping Communities with Clickstream Data. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 15–40. Retrieved on 11th November 2017. Retrieved from

[viii] Smith, A.N., Fischer, E. and Yongjian, C. (2012). How Does Brand-related User-generated Content Differ across YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter?. Journal of Interactive Marketing, Vol. 26, pp. 102-113. Retrieved on 2nd November 2017. Retrieved from

[ix] Weinberg, B.D. and Pehlivan, E. (2011). Social Spending: Managing the social media mix. Business Horizons, Vol. 54, pp. 275-282. Retrieved on 1st November 2017. Retrieved from http://

[x] Yannopoulou, N., Moufahim, M. and Bian, X. (2013). User-Generated Brands and Social Media: Couchsurfing and AirBnb. Contemporary Management Research, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 85-90. Retrieved on 2nd November 2017. Retrieved from

[xi] Barwise, P. &Mehaan, S. (2010). The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building a Brand. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 54,  pp. 80-84. Retrieved on 3rd November 2017. Retrieved from

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BrandBase | @BrandBa_se
Students from the International Marketing and Brand Management program at Lund University are the contributing authors for the BrandBase blog.