As the virtual world becomes ever more profound, the overlapping area between social media and retail is no exception. Snap (owner of snapchat) recently filed a patent to safeguard Bitmoji versions of clothing articles, designed by high-profile fashion retailers. Snap has partnered with many leading brands including Jordan, Ralph Lauren and Levi’s, to create digital outfits for avatars. This may seem a little absurd however it provides an interesting opportunity for brands to showcase their latest products in an interactive way and turns social media profiles into digital adverts. It is also part of a wider social commerce shift by the platform which aims to better integrate e-commerce. Examples include AR “try on” options, scannable barcodes and scannable logos.

Also hitting the headlines has been the Burberry’s first “Social Retail Store” in Shenzhen, China. The outlet consists of 10 different rooms that customers can move through, accompanied by a dedicated WeChat mini-programme which provides interactive experiences throughout the store. Every item in store includes scannable QR codes which unlock additional content. A true example of gamification, an animal character is given to each customer which starts as an unhatched egg and grows as they engage with the store. Arguably the most significant developments however, are the steps made by the digital platforms themselves. Three big names: Instagram, Tiktok and Amazon Live are perhaps the most innovative in this regard.

Instagram Checkout is an integrated payment portal which makes in-app sales seamless. Customers can shop directly from the posts of their favourite brands as well as from influencers. “Live Shopping” has been introduced where brands can tag their products and demonstrate them. Customer payment details are even saved for future purchases. TikTok has been testing a similar function – a “Shop Now” button on all influencer content, with the revenue split between TikTok and the influencer. The firm has also partnered with e-commerce channel Shopify to allow merchants to drive sales on TikTok from their existing Shopify platform. The duo promise this is the first step of many.

Finally, Amazon – determined to maintain their e-commerce monopoly – has been exploring social retail potential. On Amazon Live hosts and guests promote shoppable products and use lifestyle videos like “Recipes” and “get fit” to interact with users. Streamers can actively chat about the content.

From digital payment platforms to cutting-edge marketing, book your group for a company visit to explore the latest trends with industry experts, now also available online!