The convenience of online shopping has extended to social media. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and other sites have created a way for smaller stores to get more attention.
Gi’s Boutique, a high-fashion women’s clothing boutique, is ran entirely online through a website and social media accounts. Owner Gina Combe has been selling clothing online since November 2019. Combe said she believes social media has been an essential part of her online store’s success.
Social media sites account for 13% of Gi’s Boutique’s total sales, and even if the sales are not directly made through those sites, people who follow her handle or see a post are more motivated to click the link to her website, making up much more than 13% of sales.
“Social media is also a great way for customers to ask questions about the clothing, different ways to wear an item, how the fit may be, or to contact us regarding returns,” Combe said. “Social media has also been great in connecting and finding followers that may have not heard about us originally and gaining their support.”
Being able to pull out a phone and open an app takes one more task out of everyday life when shopping.
“I prefer to buy from social media or to click on website links on social media because of the convenience that is right on my phone or computer,” Combe said. “It’s much easier and quicker to shop online than making a long trip, packing kids in the car and fighting traffic at the physical store.”
Jobee Fashion owner Shelby Nelson said she enjoys the convenience of being able to have customized shopping options on her social media explore page. Nelson will buy at least one or two things a week, mainly clothing and jewelry, primarily because of Instagram. These purchases influence what shows up on her explore page every week.
A big way to gain attention for clothing brands through social media is by contacting social media influencers (users on social media who have a significant amount of followers and have established credibility in a specific industry). Nelson said she leans on social media influencers to advertise her products since they’re cheaper and more efficient than Google or Facebook ads.
“We recently found some famous TikTok girls to advertise for us for free swimsuits and some money per post. We will be starting that advertising as soon as it gets warmer,” Nelson said.
She also said she’s more likely to buy a product because of an influencer. “I am more likely to buy something because of an influencer. Not because the person told me to but because I most likely wouldn’t have seen the item without them showing me it.
Shopping on social media has made finding deals easier because of the ability to jump from page to page to compare prices.
The ability to find and receive the product within a few hours is an appeal to brick-and-mortar stores. While receiving a product within a few hours online isn’t likely, the time to receive a purchase has now been significantly condensed.
BYU senior Jon Bellamy would rather shop at a physical store. Clothes, sporting goods and collectibles are things Bellamy said he would rather see and touch before he buys.
“Especially with sporting goods, I want a glove that feels right or a bat that feels right,” Bellamy said. “I can see more options in a store than I can online more quickly and I love options.”