Retail espresso volume 6 infographic

The bar-shaped (or for us here in the UK, pub-shaped) hole in the middle of our hearts during the early part of this year forced many to become even more active on social media.

You won’t be surprised then to read that 21% of the entire world’s population have increased social media consumption this year, while TikTok has been the big winner – the app has been downloaded over 1 Billion times so far this year.

Our heightened social usage is only likely to increase further – and social retail initiatives will grow in popularity, too.

As reported by Forbes, Mespoke is one such app trying to define that trend, allowing customers to shop their friends’ wardrobes, share looks and earn loyalty points.

Meanwhile Klarna is another to join the ranks, launching their new social shopping app, featuring wish lists, price alerts, deals and exclusively curated content.

“In the future, retailers might look more like social apps than traditional stores.”

– Connie Chan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz

Social isn’t just being used to fuel more online engagement though, with brands using China as a test bed for innovative new stores celebrating community and brand affinity.

The new digitally-responsive Nike Rise store unites communities across Guangzhou through (of course) new Nike app features. The store acts as a hyper-connected sports hub, hosting weekly activations, in-store workshops and events organised by local Nike athletes or sports influencers.

The Nike official website describes how the Nike App and new store will turn the city of Guangzhou into a digitally-enabled playground for members.

Burberry has also raised the retail bar in its first ever social store concept. Customers interact with the brand’s WeChat program and, as they do, unlock in-store rewards and experience as a trade for their engagement.

From extravagant new social stores to the humble corner shop, this is perhaps one of the least-expected trends of 2020…

The New York Times reported that in the bodegas of New York City, corner store owners are becoming increasingly popular via – you guessed it – TikTok.

These small, convenience stores are not only community hubs by nature, but are now also winning fans across the world, with more than 2 million videos on TikTok under the #bodega hashtag.

Corner store owners have started quizzing customers live on TikTok, with winners given five seconds to grab whatever they want as prizes.

Of course, it’s not just everyday humans using social videos to gain popularity: a recent Burberry bag drop with blogger Tao Liang sold out on WeChat within seconds, seeing a huge 1.4 million live viewers.

With the future of retail looking more socially connected, consumers are naturally changing their attitudes to shopping.

In our latest report – How to Hook the Hyper-Connected Chinese Luxury Consumer – we explore one such set of consumers, how they’re changing the face of luxury shopping in China and what your brand can do to build bonds with them.

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Exterior of Harry's bar
Shopping centre