We live in a world that is constantly evolving, and people are looking for newer and easier ways to do things. In the digital world this pace has been nothing short of incredible. It seems like there is a new device (Fitbit, Apple Watch, Oculus Rift) or platform (Periscope, Snapchat) entering our vocabulary every day. One of the most recent trends is adding a “buy button” to various digital platforms. Just in the past two months Pinterest, Google, Facebook, and Instagram have either rolled out, beta tested, or announced this functionality. Here are a few key considerations for marketers when thinking about buy buttons.
Buy buttons are a test-and-learn element right now. We aren’t sure how consumers will respond to them. Previous attempts at eCommerce on social sites like Facebook were not big hits. However, as we live in an increasingly mobile world with devices in our hands 24/7, consumers are looking for choice and simplicity. The simple fact that so many platforms are rolling out buy buttons is a strong signal that a change is coming in the way consumers think about when, where, and how they transact.
- Are you ok with not fully owning the buying experience? One of the biggest shifts here is that consumers will no longer have to experience your site with your brand guidelines, etc. This debate about who really owns the customer and transaction will probably rage on for a while. What does it mean to be a brand, if only the deliverer of goods? It is possible that a customer may buy your product without ever setting a digital or actual foot into your store and experiencing what it means to be a customer? Google and others will be providing CRM information, so brands will be able to have an ongoing relationship with the customer. The question for each brand will be: “Is that enough?”
- Do you have an accurate product feed? In some cases, utilizing buy buttons will require a data feed. Brands need to ensure that their feed is accurate and dynamic. This should include up-to-date inventory, product, and pricing information.
- What are the technical implications? Do you have the technical ability to implement and execute commerce through these channels? For example, Pinterest is initially working with Shopify and Demandware. If you are an IBM or hybris customer you might be left on the sidelines… for now.
- What are the media implications? Certainly buy buttons are a form of paid advertising. The option to pay based on clicks, engagement, or cost per sale will depend on the platform. Brands should use these opportunities to supplement their ongoing direct response efforts. This is why paid media is the future. No longer can brands have a search or display strategy. Too many different types of paid media exist at this point, so brands need to be holistic in their approach.
Buy buttons are getting a lot of buzz, and I think they have a really strong chance of making an impact this time around. More and more, consumers expect a frictionless experience. This is one of those changes that, if done right, will deliver that experience. Brands should see it as an opportunity and an additional signal that they should be putting the consumer at the very center of their strategy.