Snapchat For Online Retailers: Is It Really Worth It?

By Shannon Ingrey | 24 Nov 2016

Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past couple of years, you would have most likely heard of the global Snapchat phenomenon, and savvy retailers are using it to connect with target markets.

Just when online retailers think their social media strategy is all teed up, there’s yet another app to consider.

With over three million Snapchat users in Australia alone, according to Interactive Advertising Bureau and Nielsen, the rapid rise of the latest social media fad is largely driven by millennials. Born between the 1980s and 2000s, these digital natives will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, and with that comes spending power!

If you haven’t already begun to integrate Snapchat into your digital marketing strategy, you may be missing out on a considerable marketing opportunity for your business. Yet, despite the various statistics and findings in favour of Snapchat, many online retailers are still hesitant to jump on the bandwagon because of the lack of know-how in harnessing its power.

snapchat online retail

Snapchat 101: A Brief Snapshot

Snapchat is essentially a photo and video messaging app. This app is unique in that the messages users send ultimately disappear after viewing. “Snaps” have a one to ten second shelf life. Users can also add snaps, as the messages are called, to stories, which live for 24 hours.

That’s right marketers, no analytics to report on, no user data or advanced targeting capabilities (yet). While there is no doubt that this goes against all of the marketing 101 rules we’ve been bound to since our university days, the potential opportunities presented by the platform are boundless.

With almost 9,000 snaps shared every second, Snapchat has also gone from being a simple photo and video sharing app to a marketing tool that shouldn’t be ignored. Nevertheless, tapping into this rising star to connect with consumers can be a tad tricky.

Given the time limit pegged to every post, it is critical that online retailers make the most of every single second, which does require a certain amount of strategy.

Turning Snaps into Reach

So how exactly can online retailers effectively capitalise on the power of Snapchat?

Here are five tips that will help you get off on the right foot, as you foray into a world that’s increasingly obsessed with these fleeting 10-second snapshots.

  1. Think brand experience, not advertising: Use this platform to humanise your brand. Show some personality. Engage in interactive storytelling. It’s all about content, content, content.
  1. Offer exclusivity: Create a real one-on-one connection with customers. Give them the chance to be the first to know. Build buzz with behind-the-scenes footage or sneak peeks.
  1. Be mindful of timing: You have to be quick. What’s relevant now may not be in a few hours. For example, what an AFL player does during the game is relevant at that moment, but it becomes less effective if you feature it later. Online retailers could consider featuring flash sales or offering coupon codes as they’ll only be available for a limited time before they automatically “self-destruct.”
  1. Be fun, spontaneous and friendly: Plan content that connects to the hard-to-reach millennial generation. You can take a more personal approach with your digital campaigns. Be casual and down to earth. Try a scavenger hunt, offer how-to guides, or solicit user-generated content via an online contest.
  1. Attract new online subscribers: Since users must consent to receiving company ads, think of Snapchat as another avenue to collect opt-ins. You can also point users to your sign-up on your website by including the URL within your snap or story.

Think about your business. Who is your core demographic? If you’re selling to the under-34 audience (especially to those under 25), Snapchat is certainly worth consideration as an effective marketing tool for your online retail business.

Snapchat for business is likely going to increase in popularity. So get a jump on the competition, and start testing it out. It might feel totally alien at first, but I bet once you start snapping away, you won’t be able to stop!


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