Editor’s note: Margie Kupfer is Vice President, Marketing at 3Cinteractive.

The statistics are nothing short of bewildering, if you think about it. There is an endless supply of stats that talk about the power of social media and how it greatly influences purchasing behaviors for shoppers, as well as their friends and family. Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior (compared to 24 percent in 2011). And 50 percent of all Americans have a Facebook account.

It also feels as though there are about as many stats available in talking about the rise of mobile usage when shopping for products and services. According to Adweek, 82 percent of mobile users turn to their phones inside a physical store when making purchasing decisions. This is pretty significant when you consider that there are more than 350 million Americans. The same article says roughly two-thirds of Americans own at least two devices.

As mobile usage continues to grow, new social platforms have also evolved, bringing a whole new element to social marketing. Messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber have all become popular, but is it wise for a brand to rely on these alone for communication with its customers?

Millennials are at the center of this conversation and might be considered the biggest disruptor to shopping patterns in our lifetime. The real disruptor, though, could be the next demographic, loosely termed Generation Z. After all, Millennials grew up with social media when they were in school but Generation Z has never lived a day that didn’t involve the devices, gadgets and the social/digital way of life.

This is a critical thought because today’s purchasing power demographic is quickly becoming Millennials, who are now old enough to purchase their first home and have their second child. However, the oldest among Generation Z are turning 20, not ...