Ever fallen prey to those enticing ads for amazing products on your social media streams? You know the ones with mesmerising video clips of items you’d previously never heard of but now absolutely can’t live without? BritMum’s resident shopaholic Lauretta Wright at HomeandHorizon delves into the social-media shopping phenomenon.
In the past 12 months I’ve been lured by the product advertisements on social media.
I’m not sure why, but every time I log onto Instagram for example, I get side-tracked by ads for innovative products that I suddenly find myself buying.
I’ve downloaded apps, purchased beauty products I don’t really need (or perhaps I do?) and bought more home interior gadgets than I can shake a stick at.
Is it all about algorithms?
I’m wondering if the Instagram algorithm is in fact a very clever beast? Is it watching what I’m watching and making some sort of digital imprint, ready to pounce when I’m feeling like a spot of retail therapy?
So I decided to play detective and typed “sidetracked by Instagram Shopping” into Google. Guess what? More ads appeared!
More from Instagram itself that is, promoting how users can have their own shop… that users could “share featured products through organic posts and stories” and have potential shoppers discover their products in search and explore.
I rarely use “search and explore”, but yes….I’ve seen plenty of things to buy as I scroll through my feed and also on stories. Not so much on Twitter, but then it’s not one of my favoured platforms.
Facebook is much the same as Instagram. Every few posts seems to be some advert to join a programme, buy something or sign up for something. This shouldn’t be a surprise of course since Facebook owns Instagram.
Is social-media shopping safe?
If you’ve never purchased anything via social media apps, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe – or even legit. And if so, what type of experience you’ll get.
Having purchased a few items here and there, I’ll set you straight. It is legit, however, if you want peace of mind, shop on the High Street or buy from really well known brands.
I recently got lured into purchasing a print for the home which I loved.
I purchased two products at the same time from the same retailer – a yellow brick vase that would look quite fetching in my kitchen and a print.
One of the products arrived and the other didn’t. I contacted the company via the app and heard nothing. Then I emailed them, waited a couple of days – and still nothing.
I was starting to panic as I’d paid £38 for my art print and feared that I wouldn’t see it – or my money again. I had one last option – social media.
So I went onto Instagram and found them, sent them a message and waited. Just a few hours later and I’d received a reply saying that my query had been passed to customer services.
I wasn’t holding my breath, but lo and behold, I received an email from customer services telling me that my item had shown as being delivered, but because it wasn’t tracked, they couldn’t locate it.
I asked why the parcel hadn’t been tracked. The reason being because it was less than £50 and items over £50 get tracked. So what next? They offered to either (a) Send the item to me again or (b) Return my money.
I REALLY wanted the print – I think it’s awesome so I’m putting a lot of faith into it being delivered. As I type this, I’m still waiting, but it’s only been a couple of days and the Christmas mail will have slowed everything down.
Hopefully I’ll momentarily forget I ordered it and it will be a nice surprise when it does land on my door mat a couple of days after Christmas (fingers crossed!).
So what have I learned from the whole social media shopping experience? First of all, don’t fear the unknown. Secondly, tread with caution and thirdly – if it all goes pear-shaped, get back on social media to sort it out.
I find it ironic that social media can cause such hassle when it comes to missing goods, yet can be so great at getting people’s attention and sorting things out.
What’s your learning experience when it comes to shopping via social media apps? And do you have any tips to pass on?
Wishing you all a happy Christmas and here’s to a fantastic 2020!