The Evolution of Commerce and Shoppable Content in a Digital World

By Ashley Kaczmar • May 18, 2022

The traditional purchase funnel is dead. What do we mean by that? Well, as commerce evolves in a more digital world, consumer journeys are changing. It’s no longer a linear experience.

”I saw an awareness campaign, then I thought about it, did some research, and bought the product.”

That’s what brands have built their strategies around. Now, however, a consumer can discover a brand and, within minutes of that discovery, purchase a product from them. At  KERV, we believe the funnel has become a loop; in this new era of commerce, the customer’s journey never ends. 

So how should marketers position themselves for this new era of commerce? The answer lies in the convergence of content, media, and commerce. Traditionally, there’s been numerous silos on all sides of the brand, but today, the brands that are most successful are the ones who are breaking those silos down.

The Acceleration of Online Shopping

We’ve seen steady growth in online shopping in recent years. In fact, according to TechCrunch, the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by roughly five years. At the same time, IBM predicts that US retail e-commerce is expected to grow to more than $1 trillion for the first time this year, accounting for 16% of total retail sales while eMarketer states that over 2.56 billion people worldwide will buy something online this year. 

It’s clear that online shopping is not only here to stay, but that it will continue to grow. However, consumers have also returned to physical stores, which signals that it’s not about focusing on just brick and mortar or just online stores. Brands need to be thinking about how to connect physical and digital shopping experiences through their content. 

Bridging Content and Commerce

Taking an agile approach with content, media, and commerce is the key. By leading with content, brands drive engagement and build relationships with consumers. Pairing that with new media technologies and innovations provides consumers with the opportunity to engage at every touchpoint, no matter the content. This means commerce is everywhere—it’s no longer just at the lower funnel.

We’re seeing the necessity for this agility across the board, but it’s especially true within two emerging trends: social commerce and retail media. 

Social Commerce

Social commerce is at a tipping point. 100 million US buyers are expected to purchase via social commerce by 2023 and expect sales of $79B by 2025. 

With social commerce, the entire shopping experience — from product discovery and research to the checkout process — takes place right on a social media platform in formats such as:

  • In-app catalogs
  • Shoppable videos
  • Shoppable posts
  • Livestreams

Social commerce is disrupting e-commerce the same way e-commerce disrupted retail. It’s led to consumers seeking more personalized, engaging, and entertaining ways to shop. As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about leading with the right content to connect with your consumers. 

Retail Media

Retail media is another trend that has exploded on the scene. It’s gone from just a couple of key players to nearly every retailer having its own network. In fact, US digital retail media ad spend will reach $52 billion in 2023, representing 19% of digital ad spend.

Retail media has the advantage of being a closed-loop solution, as consumers purchase products directly from the retailer after seeing an ad. While these networks have a deep understanding of their consumers, brands will be challenged to work to cross measure and ensure optimizations throughout, as well as have a more cohesive way to view performance success. 

That said, the visibility provided into how a consumer behaves right after seeing the content will be a huge benefit as we think about measurement and how we determine what’s working and what’s not in our strategies.  

Want to learn more? We dive deeper into these topics and take a look at examples of brands who are successfully bridging their content and commerce strategies together in our recent webinar.

KERV Sizzle Reel