M&S turns to digital amid the pandemic
As the high street starts preparations for re-opening later this month, one of the most established names in the UK, Marks & Spencer, is moving more of its marketing budget from traditional media channels, such as press and TV, to digital, due to the effects of COVID-19.
“The demand we’re seeing online is completely different to what we have seen before and therefore what people are buying now in clothing is completely different to what it would have been a year ago. To compete you have to swivel your whole marketing platform” says CEO Steve Rowe.
To adapt to the changes in ways people consume information and decide to buy, social media and social marketing have been brought to the front of the M&S marketing strategy.
E-commerce trends of 2020
COVID-19 has dramatically shifted the way we interact with brands and indeed shop, both now and likely in the future. For many, it has revealed the relevance, usefulness, and power of online shopping.
With more e-commerce competition than ever before, brands need to pay close attention to the ongoing developments if they want to thrive now and in the future e-com landscape.
Social commerce has been a key development over the past few months, with platforms such as Instagram now letting users complete transactions without leaving the app. Other trends to watch include the ongoing rise of subscription-based models, with brands such as Ipsy, Stitch Fix and Hello Fresh capitalise on higher disposable income, particularly targeting people in their 20s.
National newspapers choose to keep circulation figures private
UK national newspapers no longer have to make their print circulations public through auditors ABC, which means we may never get the full picture of the impact of COVID-19 on newspaper sales.
So far, The Sun and The Times have opted to make their circulation figures private – only a select number of agencies who have signed a confidentiality agreement can see them.
The figures for the rest of the newspaper industry shows that paid-for print circulation has been hit hard by the pandemic, reflecting the shift to digital consumption by readers who have been staying at home. Publishers are now increasingly emphasising other metrics over print-readership, such as site traffic and subscriptions.
Pinterest adds ‘Shop’ tab to Lens results
Pinterest has continued its shift towards becoming a full e-commerce platform, with the addition of a new ‘Shop’ tab within its Lens visual search results. This will make it easier for users to find buyable items based on an image.
Users can now upload a photo or screenshot from their camera roll and the app will highlight relevant product matches. The newly introduced Shop tab will show which products are labelled as in-stock and link them directly to the checkout page of the retailer.
The development highlights Pinterest’s focus on shopping, which is clearly where it sees it can add emphasis and value for brands.
The lucrative rise of the virtual influencer
The next time you see an Instagram influencer hanging out with a celebrity or promoting a brand, you might want to ask yourself: is that a real person?
Computer-generated Instagram influencers have now existed for over a year and their popularity continues to grow. Virtual influencers like Liam Nikuro and Lil Miquela now have millions of followers worldwide and have been involved in campaigns for Burberry and Chanel.
While it’s too early to tell how lucrative the virtual influencer industry could become, it presents a unique opportunity for brands. Unlike real-life influencers, their digital counterparts come with no risk of the person having lots of diva demands or ever getting caught up in any scandal.