We’ve picked out a few notable trends in the retail and health industry with examples of how we think they will be impacting consumers and opportunities in the social space.


What’s Next For Physical Retail?

With the acceleration of e-commerce capabilities, traditional stores need to become more forward thinking and multi faceted to keep up. Luxury department stores such as Selfridges are implementing cross-discipline facilities; the retailer opened their Body Studio Wellness concept, offering sports and loungewear clothing, but the space also includes a café by wellness duo Hemsley + Hemsley and ‘Every Body’ talks and tness events. Whilst cosmetic brand Sephora has equipped it’s biggest US stores with digital experiences, offering tutorial stations through touchscreens, that allow shoppers to freely explore products and beauty techniques as well as interact with fellow beauty lovers.

We think: Consumers expect more out of bricks-and-mortar retailers and therefore outlets will need to think about what they can offer beyond the simple buy/sell transaction. The use of technology can help personalise in-store experiences, and let shoppers discover the most suitable products for them offering greater customer satisfaction and value.


M-Commerce is an ever-growing method of purchasing products; John Lewis reported an increase of 75% in smartphone traf c, 16% to their beauty pages in 2016. More personalisation and convienient than desktop, its size isn’t seen as restrictive and, for a younger audience, it’s their preferred way to shop.

We think: The continual rise of mobile purchase will put more importance on creating shoppable content on mobile as consumers look to take their research and consideration stage into purchase. The recent addition of shoppable posts on Instagram allows brands to tag speci c products in posts that will lead consumers out of the platform to a brand/retailers website where the product can be purchased. The product tagging feature allows brands to tag up to ve separate items in a single photo – it marks a big shift in how brands can advertise on the channel. It offers an opportunity for brands to get more creative and clever in their promotional content with unpaid posts. We expect Instagram to focus more on enhancing the shopping experience within their platform, so watch this space.

AI Healthcare

Social and healthcare are one of the hotspots for transformative application of AI. In the UK, the pressure on the NHS, ageing population and adoption of mobile technology and apps is all increasing awareness and demand for healthcare apps. From DIY blood tests where you can track your health data via an online dashboard through to Babylon where you can speak to a doctor via Facetime or Skype who will go through your symptoms and diagnosis without the long NHS waiting times. The advancements in consumer focused health care tech is a rising trend which will continue to grow.

We think: People are looking for alternatives to the traditional GP – they do everything on their mobiles so looking after themselves in a convenient way is a natural progression. Arti cial intelligence provides affordable, accessible and patient-centric healthcare alternatives. However, people will always value face time when it comes to health and needing reassurance which gives an opportunity for health and wellness retailers to work alongside the app compa- nies/start ups to bring the human element to their offerings through directing them in-store to collect their medication or receive some further advice from in-store pharmacists or experts.


Shoppable ads making it easier for brands to track ROI

Shoppable ads have become increasingly popular in the last year as a way of converting the highly coveted social ‘browsers’ into shoppers and this welcomed business opportunity has quickly made its way into nearly every major social media platform’s interface, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest. Instastories is becoming the preferred platform for brandsto test shoppable content with links to e-commerce sites, making the click-to- buy experience even more visual and easy. This presents an opportunity for both brand led and in uencer campaigns a shoppable ads offer a tangible way to measure the return on investment whilst also reducing the steps in the path to purchase for consumers. At the moment, shoppable ads are only available to brands, but it is likely they will soon be available to in uencers taking part in brand campaigns too.


We think: As budgets are allocated to infuencer campaigns, the pressure to deliver trackable ROI wil increase and shoppable ads can help provide a solution to this pressure to measure the success and ROI. Shoppable ads enable activity to be more measureable through tracking links and provide a huge boost for e-commerce through removing the clicks and steps it takes to get from content to commerce. When working in partnership with the right, authentic infuencer for your brand, direct-to- shoppable links content are likely to drive better engagement than shoppable ads directly from the brand. Brands need to bear this in mind, particularly on social, where the consumer expects and enjoys the personal connection with the content, not feeling as though it’s purely a brand selling its products.


Facebook Will Soon Let Brands Target Ads At Entire Families Or Specific People Within Households

Facebook is launching a new feature to allow brands to target ads down to speci c household, the feature will let brands direct ads to entire families or people within a household with the aim of helping brands aim ads those who in uence the purchasing decisions and other ads to those who make the actual purchases. The feature is another way of Facebook trying to claim share of TV advertising who have historically been how you show the same ads, to the same households, at different times.


We think: This feature opens up a whole new level of advertising on Facebook – through levering the power of the Facebook network to enable in uencing or support in- uencing across the whole family. So whether you are a retailer, or a brand selling products direct to consumers, you will soon be able to serve ads across all of the purchase funnel ecosystem: from the person who influences the decision to buy, all the way to whom is actually going to buy that product or service. E.g. at Christmas – you can take intel from a person’s likes/interests and brand preferences to serve gift ideas to the rest of their family.

Chris Falconer