Can Social Media Bring the In-Store Experience Online for Tiktok For Stories?
Even now that everybody’s clicking, swiping and getting a lot of their purchases delivered directly to the door, there is something to be said for the experience of heading to a shop, soaking up the atmosphere and seeing what you’re going to be buying in the flesh.
Spaces such as book shops and antiques stores are unique environments which become relaxing destinations for shoppers who want to unwind for an hour or two, while buying the latest tech upgrade can be less intimidating if you’ve physically checked that it works.
If you work in one of these industries you probably don’t want to see your business transition entirely to the online sphere – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t want any internet presence at all! There’s a problem though – how can you bring that in-store experience onto the net for those who simply can’t visit in person? And, perhaps more importantly, should you even try?
In this post we’re going to look at:
How a well cultivated social feed can give people a similar feeling to popping into the shop.
The best social channel for helping customers to look ‘behind the veil’ of your business.
How social media can stretch this further by offering things which simply aren’t possible in-store.
Whether to set your sights on bringing your shop’s atmosphere online, or use your channels to do something new.
A glimpse through the door:
Perusing the shop floor is a multi-sensory experience, and it’s unlikely that the aromas of an in-store coffee shop or the feel of a leather bound book are going to be accessible via your computer screen any time soon, but what you do have is a wide variety of visual tools.
Of these tools, the one with perhaps the most potential is Instagram which, when used to its full potential, can really give people a glimpse behind the veil.
Some of the best examples of this come from book stores which, as discussed above, have some of the most distinct in-store experiences to replicate. Our favourite account comes from London Review Bookstore, who have curated a fantastic feed which doesn’t just provide the expected mixture of quirky book displays, atmospheric shots of the local environment and delicious looking pics of their coffee and cake selection, but somehow manages to add a feeling of spontaneity to the whole collection: In contrast, Waterstones’ feed is undoubtedly strong, with a similar array of image designed to replicate the book-browsing experience…
However, with every image looking posed and polished it is difficult to get lost in a book lover’s daydream. Still beautiful, the angles and arrangements in London Review Bookstore’s snaps aren’t quite so perfect – and by keeping things rough around the edges, they manage to make the whole experience more immersive. More about Tiktok For Stories
What you can take away from their success is that a (visual) focus on the products and the atmosphere of the shop floor is the best way to let people in; just make sure that you keep it natural, or the moment may be lost.
Adding something new:
For Waterstones and London Review Bookstore, this works because the aim of their accounts is, at least partially, to drive traffic to their stores and not just to their websites. For brands that aren’t so interested in foot traffic, the goal isn’t necessarily to simply show how wonderful it is to wander around the store.
It may seem unlikely, but one of our favourite brands to embrace this side of social media is the American chain store Target.
While their shops are known to be something of a free-for-all, the Instagram account is a very deliberate collection of images and videos, producing a sense of style and order.
Each individual post links through to a tailored selection of products to be ordered online, allowing a simple browse of the page to become a bespoke shopping experience. Here, the lack of resemblance to the physical supermarket becomes a benefit: what can’t be achieved in the chaos of a busy shop, can be done in the quiet of your own living room.
What’s right for you?
To decide what path you want to go down, ask yourself one simple question: is the store itself a crucial part of why shoppers love your brand? If it’s more about the products, you’re in a prime position to do something new… but if people love the atmosphere, then set up an Instagram account and bring your space to life online!