#Tiktokmademebuyit... Somewhere Else

The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.

The rise of social shopping has been widely reported by marketing media over the past several years. But today the reality is that this trend is not taking hold with GenZ. As new social shopping features are being launched, others are being canceled. Seemingly, the magic formula to convert users to shoppers has not yet been found.

Since the beginning of the year, Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok and YouTube have all discontinued elements of their online shopping portal, while Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok also introduced new shopping options in an attempt to create the right social storefront.

IMF data suggests a peak in social commerce during the pandemic, but a decline ever since. Even Gen Zs, who are usually at the forefront of social and innovation, don't seem eager to buy in-app on social.

We conducted qualitative research with a global representative sample of Gen Z consumers to provide insight for brands hoping to drive sales on social channels. Here’s what they told us:

  • They are very aware of the impact of their purchases -- which applies to both their personal financial situation and the environment.
  • They fear that social shops can’t deliver according to their expectations. 
  • Scams, overwhelmed small business owners, overpriced products: They've seen it all. And with only a limited budget, they rarely buy on impulse, and rather in an environment they know and trust. #tiktokmademebuyit… somewhere else.



Although they rarely buy in-app, social media does of course play a big role in their shopping journey. It is the most common way for Gen Z to discover and assess products and brands.

But social shopping today is social window shopping. And it will be, until platforms find a way to address users' trust issues. So while social platforms are figuring out the best way to do social commerce, here are things brands can do.

Go super-social throughout the full social journey. Social shopping isn’t just happening on social. For Gen Z, shopping is inherently social,  from start to finish. Friends' recommendations and influencer content drive discovery, but also build trust.

So make your brand’s social presence people-first. Integrate the comments section in your communication plan. Seek out and promote user-generated content. Involve creators based on their authenticity, rather than their following. And do so from first impression to final conversion.

Make the entire journey as creative and engaging as the first encounter: As more Gen Zs on social media move toward conversion, the duller the content they tend to see. Which is a shame, because enjoyable content that makes them feel good, or laugh, can be a real trust-booster.

Creativity is a key ingredient to get there. So don't be boring down the funnel. Make their journey engaging from start to finish, and keep the good vibes and their trust going.

Experiment: Incorporate the strategies that make Gen Z feel more open to buy, and  embrace this moment as a time for experimentation and learning. So when social platforms have figured themselves out, #boughtontiktok might just take over #tiktokmademebuyit... somewhere else.

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