Imagine being at a party. Your friend walks in wearing an amazing dress and you instantly love it; she looks so happy in it, the colour really suits her skin tone and, as she’s a similar size to you, you can already picture what it would look like on you. You ask her where it’s from, track it down either online or in-store and make the purchase, as an equally happy customer.
Influencer marketing is certainly nothing new; there are generations of people who have been inspired by their peer group and who have been lead to making a purchase because they’ve seen someone else wear it or review it. However, with social media now ubiquitous, a brand’s potential reach is exponential and modern consumers can view products whether they’re actively shopping or not.
In this way, Instagram is a powerful tool for retailers; whether it’s through increasing brand awareness, sharing reviews or even user-generated photo content, influencer collaborations or paid content. Brands can reach audiences that might have previously been difficult to target. In fact, word of mouth sales generate more than twice the sales of paid advertising and 81% of consumers make purchase decisions based on friends’ social media posts. Coupled with this, conversions are four to 10 times higher from offers shared by trusted advocates than brands.
Our customer, ASOS, uses this strategy to great success. Instead, ASOS work with microbloggers (influencers with followers of several thousands or even hundreds, rather than Insta-famous influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers) to create ASOS Insiders. Here, the micro-influencers take photos of themselves wearing ASOS clothes and post the item’s unique code into the photo caption so that their followers can simply copy and paste it straight into ASOS’ website or app, leading straight to the item.
In an interview with Drapers, James Apsley-Thompson, PR manager at fashion retailer I Saw It First, said: “Instagram opens up a direct conversation with our customer. We can immediately find out what she is shopping for, the trends she wants to invest in and the celebrity styles she’s lusting after. This constant dialogue is invaluable for fast fashion retailers in particular, as we can quickly adapt our product offering for commercial success.”
Being able to react quickly is invaluable. Social media is a 24/7 tool and with users able to access it whenever they want to use it, it’s vital for brands to be able to respond quickly. Whilst involving social media influencers and micro-bloggers in campaigns has clear rates of return, retailers should also prepare to react quickly to getting their products recognised. If a key influencer has posted a positive review about a particular garment, updating that item’s SEO so that it is optimised effectively is vital to improve visibility and, therefore, the chances of it being found. Utilising PIM software is a great way to do this, enabling modern retailers to harness the power of influencer marketing and future-proofing their products for digital marketplaces.
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