The Power of Inspiration

If you’ve ever planned a holiday, you can probably relate to this scene: you’ve chosen the dates you want to take off and are on the hunt for the perfect destination. After spending hours scrolling through images, flight destinations and reading up on travel blogs, you are at a loss for how to move forward.

Google calls this the, “I-need-some-ideas” moment. In these moments, shoppers are at the early stages of thinking about what it is they want or need; they’re looking for ideas and inspiration. And because most people aren’t brand-committed in these top-of-funnel moments (90% of smartphone users aren’t absolutely sure of the brand they want to buy when they begin shopping), there is an opportunity for brands and retailers to show-up in this space. A recent feature release from Airbnb is doing just that.

Airbnb has started testing a new Stories feature. The format (which became popular through Snapchat and later picked up by Instagram and Facebook) allows Airbnb users to create small travelogs of their trips, linking them to destinations and of course, the apartments they stayed in. This authentic glimpse into travel experiences inspires others to book similar trips through the platform.

While Airbnb is a unique platform, brands and retailers should take note. With online commerce growing across all product categories, inspiring shoppers at the start of their journey can be the deciding factor to pull them towards your brand. Providing inspiration and ideas through branded content is a great hook, as 37% of internet users are tapping into their social networks to find inspiration for purchases.

To unlock the influential power of inspirational content, brand content must be relatable and authentic for shoppers, embedding products as part of the solution to a specific problem shoppers are facing. This allows brands to become a natural part of a shopper’s discovery journey, while also helping shoppers overcome typical aversions to traditional advertising. Amy Vener, Retail Vertical Strategy Lead at Pinterest says: “[Visual discovery] allows the consumer to generate a more emotional connection, which translates into less price sensitivity, less bottom-of-the-funnel activity and, therefore, bigger basket sizes.”

So let’s get started with inspiring our shoppers!

Key Take Outs:

Solution first, brand second

Provide inspiration answers to a shopper’s need for new ideas and options. At the core, inspiring shoppers should act as a help in creating a solution for the “I-need-some-ideas” moment. These moments should first focus on the shopper and their need, only then followed by bringing the brand or product into the mix.

Know your shopper

Be clear on your audience and what ideas they are looking for at the inspiration stage. Different product categories should have different types and depth of inspiration. Providing ideas about your next travel destination should look different to giving ideas for birthday presents. While the former may go more in depth and play with the power of exploration, the latter could be more to the point with a clear link to purchase and delivery indication.

Think omnichannel

Inspiration can happen anywhere, as people are looking to social media for ideas, search for specific keywords, or are looking up their favourite YouTuber for recommendations. Whatever your solution, be sure its idea translates into every relevant channel without losing its inspiring power.

Keep it real

With its story feature, AirBnb is tapping into the power of authenticity on social networks. Trust plays an important part when it comes to inspiration and ideas, shown by how many people use their social networks for inspiration. Allow your existing users to provide solutions and gain the trust of everyone looking to solve the same problem.

 

Contributed by Lukas Quittan