Is the future of commerce in the hands of influencers or actually in the people we know?
Brand trust is believed to be one of the most valuable assets for businesses and it plays a big role in the buying decision process, but what does it mean in today’s world and how do brands win our trust with the constant flow of diverse content aimed at everyone by competitors, famous influencers, and hollywood stars? It feels overwhelming, especially when brands are bombarding people with their ads all the time in multiple channels. Millennials and Gen Z are getting not only no longer interested in those kinds of messages, but also annoyed, turning more and more into seeking simply recommendations from “normal/regular” people whose lifestyles are somewhat similar to theirs.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) commerce is coming into play as the growing competition creates difficulties for brands to keep the attention and the loyalty of their customers. The trust and authenticity of P2P marketing promote the business in a way that can reinforce the Search Engine Ranking, the social media advertising and email marketing without making the brands look desperate, so using mainly influencer marketing to promote your products will not necessarily bring you the desired sales numbers anymore. The Chairman of IMG Artists and Principal in Two Pillar Management, Barrett Wissman notes that “people trust people like them..” and as they try to stay away from brands that are being too pushy, P2P is a method which can help business create more sincere and authentic perception since it engages customers through other customers’ recommendations and it doesn’t feel so much like a sales tactic (link).
According to a recent report on the future consumers done by WGSN, one of the biggest trend forecasting companies in the world, there are three main consumer groups that will reformulate the market in the near future and those are: the Stabilizers, the Settlers, and the New Optimists. All three categories are based on common factors that are shaping the daily lives of people today, however they examine more closely the diverse needs of each of the groups, so the approach of businesses can be relevant.
One of the key future consumer groups, The Settlers is defined by balance, supportiveness, consciousness and it includes people who are thought of as being career-driven, urban expats and hustlers. The members of the Settlers are the ones trying to redefine the work related notion of “always hustling” by concentrating more on their communities and trying to support the local businesses. One of main drivers behind this desire to switch to a focus on local communities is the so-called burnout and the psychological effects that it carries (such as lower productivity and profitability, and higher absenteeism). A strategy that WGSN suggests companies should do to approach the people who look for a better work-life balance is to engage them by investing more on hyper-localised social commerce and acknowledge the obvious growth of peer-to-peer commerce. The idea comes from the cause and effect relationship between the want of Millennials and Gen X to stay/live in their communities without sacrificing their professional lives and the therefore driven localism.
The traditional and well-known brands will be finding it more challenging to keep their market share with all of the emerging local brands and shopping platforms that are based within certain communities. In the post-pandemic world, P2P commerce can be seen also as an opportunity to earn some money, and can be a great help to those who lost their jobs.
Here are 3 Case Studies – examples of hyper-localized social commerce that are scoring a notable progress. One of them, called Strorr, a San Francisco-based company, presents a new retail concept which enables pretty much anyone to open a store from their phone in just few clicks. This interesting business model is already working with multiple big names, including Adidas and it has drawn a lot of attention and recognition. Eric Senn, the founder and CEO of Storr shares in his interview for Forbes that “Airbnb and Uber democratized hospitality and transportation by empowering the average person to use their personal assets to generate income. Storr falls into this category too. Anyone with a phone can create a store… Storr accelerates the transition from centralized, channel-first commerce to decentralized, people-first commerce.” ->forbes.com
Additional: Although it may sound like an easy job, encouraging shoppers to come back with feedback about your products/services and tell other people about their experience can be a difficult task. On this link you may find an article from the American Marketing Association which talks more about some effective ways to promote customer feedback and it gives interesting statistics.