More than 84 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. go online to look up products before purchasing. E-commerce is slowly taking over the consumer world with sales reaching $394.9 billion in 2016, up nearly 16 percent from the previous year.
To stay on top, it makes sense to go where their audience is—meshing the worlds of retail and social media.
Here are five e-commerce tools that are changing the retail industry.
1. Pinterest Lens
Pinterest Lens is to consumer items as Shazam is to music.
The discovery tool shows you related goods based on whatever your camera points at—food, clothing, furniture, recipes, and more.
For example, if you took a picture of an avocado, the app might give you a guacamole recipe. You can even snap a picture of a shoe and Pinterest Lens will show you similar styles or different outfits to pair them with.
This feature promotes the search and discovery aspect of Pinterest—taking collecting and building Pin boards to another level of searchability. Soon you’ll be able to capture an image of just about anything and Pinterest Lens will be there to offer you a lineup of related content.
2. Like to Know It
Ever wonder where a fashion blogger’s outfit of the day or #ootd came from? Like to Know It helps you find out and offers you the chance to buy the look yourself.
The app is integrated with Instagram, allowing users to take and upload screenshots of clothing they discover in their feeds. From there, Like to Know It users can make purchases directly from the app.
Like to Know It makes it easy for brands, bloggers, and influencers to market clothing and accessories on Instagram.
This also speaks to how more users are consuming media on social media. It makes sense to deliver content to them directly.
3. Instagram’s shoppable photo tags
Instagram has rolled out with a new shopping feature—shoppable tags. In the same way, you can tag people, businesses can tag products in their photos.
Instagram has been testing the feature with brands like Kate Spade New York and Warby Parker by adding product information and links to their Instagram posts.
To find out more about a product, users press a “tap to view products” button—revealing prices, description, additional photos, and a “shop now” button to for purchase.
Because so many people use the platform as a form of online window shopping, Instagram took the next logical step and made it possible to make purchases directly from the app.
With this feature, brands can make better use of Instagram for business. Instead of using ads and retail landing pages, brands can use Instagram as a discovery, marketing, and sales tool.
The photo-sharing app is also developing a way to measure how many users have tapped to see more product details or clicked on the “shop now” button.
These products—apparel, jewelry, and accessories—can be mixed and matched with Polyvore’s creation tool. When hovered over, details of the product, as well as a link to purchase, will appear.
After you’ve created a set, the collage can be shared on other social media networks and is discoverable by other users through the Polyvore app.
Polyvore has become one of the most effective social platforms for e-commerce sites to drive traffic and sales from. Much of its success comes from the fact that it’s used as a discovery tool by people looking to find new styles and trends. By providing access to different retail brands, Polyvore’s outfit-making tool makes curating, sharing, and searching for fashion items a fun and engaging experience.
5. The MasterPass Facebook Messenger bots
MasterCard and Facebook Messenger have joined forces to give you a new kind of consumer experience—a world where bots not only look up restaurants for you but help place your food order.
MasterPass is a digital wallet service that lets users complete transactions over Facebook Messenger.
With a few clicks, users can place an order, arrange for pick-up or delivery, and complete payment.
This innovation is an example of the new ways consumers are interacting with businesses. While customers were previously encouraged to download a company’s app to use its services, bots are quicker and easier to use. They also don’t require to download or take up space on your smartphone.