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This week's top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 22 March 2019

Business · 3 min read

AOB: 22 March 2019

This week, AOB takes a look at the latest trends in sustainable business practices, social selling, payment methods and more. Read on to see what your brand needs to do to stay current.

Instagram checks out

From photo hub to bona fide e-commerce platform, this week Instagram launched ‘Checkout with Instagram’ in the US. Now, while you scroll, you’ll be able to buy products from brands such as Kylie Cosmetics, Warby Parker, Zara and Oscar De La Renta directly within the app – without the need to link to external websites. The new feature is pipped to help brands avoid cart abandonment, with users able to store all their payment and shipping details on the app for a seamless checkout experience. While Instagram will be charging retailers a selling fee to use the functionality, the potential for increased conversions will surely outweigh the cost.

If your business doesn’t sell in the US, it likely won’t be long before this is rolled out in more locations across the globe. While you wait, check out our guide to selling on social.

The rise of the socially-conscious consumer

Over three quarters of Americans aged 21 to 34 are set to change their shopping habits to be more environmentally friendly, according to research by Nielsen. Gen Z are also on board, with data from CGS showing that more than 50% of 18 to 24-year-olds are happy to spend more money on products that are sustainable. According to a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit and Llamasoft, a sustainable supply chain strategy can build trust and loyalty among consumers, while also encouraging growth and cost-saving opportunities. And recognition of eco-conscious brands, such as Australian Clothier Outland Denim, at the 2019 Leadership Awards is paving the way for more brands to get on board.

If you’re in need of some inspiration on how to make your business more sustainable, take a look at DHL’s path to zero emissions, here.

Russians are looking for luxury

Keen to own the latest status symbols, Russians are increasingly making impulse luxury purchases despite not feeling financially secure. While 56% consider their purchases carefully – studying the product’s features and qualities in depth – 44% splash out on high-end goods on the spur of the moment. Coupons and vouchers are also important in Russia, with 59% looking for them to get discounts.

The popularity of counterfeit items among those who can’t afford the popular high-end names also hints that ‘affordable luxury’ brands would do well here. So, perhaps this is something to consider for your Russian selling strategy. Check out our article for more tips on trading with BRIC nations.

Mobile payments are growing in Italy

One million Italian consumers are now using mobile payment systems in shops and restaurants, accounting for a meteoric rise of 650% over the past year. Forecasts show that the payment method could be worth €10bn a year in just two years’ time, up from €650m today. For a country that has traditionally relied on cash, this is big news, as Italians move into the digital age. If your brand has outlets in Italy, it’s definitely worth investing in mobile payment technology. The most popular app to consider supporting is Satispay – a 2013 startup with huge national success.

Yet to set up shop in Il Bel Paese? Take a look at our Italian country guide for advice on trading with Europe’s fourth-largest economy.

The future of influencer marketing

Digitally native vertical brand (DNVB) Jouer Cosmetics is expanding into in-store retail, and is now available in 47 Sephora locations across the US. Turning away from its current UGC model, the brand is set to focus more on brand-led content that is in keeping with their “French minimalist aesthetic.” While unpaid influencers have helped hugely with Jouer’s brand awareness, they feel that the influencers have distracted from the way they intend their products to be used. Similarly, Sephora themselves are shunning influencers with huge followings in favor of micro- and nano-influencers. These accounts can boast as few as 1,000 followers but promote trust, as their recommendations seem more genuine than social media celebrities who seem to be doing endorsements just for the cash.

Keep an eye out for our March Trends Report, where we’ll take a more in depth look into influencer marketing and the benefits it can bring your business.

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