What is Fashion Week if not the epitome of influencer marketing? Such is the appeal of the personalities who design the looks we love, and those who have the wardrobe in their DNA.
It’s a demarcated VIP scene, so all the praise goes to digital technology that brings big fashion to the small screen (smartphones) with the power of content creators and social media influencers who can move goods and create revenue streams by blending content and commerce.
With the fashion designer economy booming, Kit Ulrich, Managing Director of Platform & Consumer Experience at LTK (formerly rewardStyle & LIKEtoKNOW.it) told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster that making shopping with designers and influencers is how the rest of us get past the VIP velvet rope.
“Shopping is simply better when you do it alongside a creator you trust,” she said in the series “Digital Payments Flip the Script: 10 Merchants and 10 Visions for Digital Transformation,” a collaboration between PYMNTS and PayPal. “I hope consumers will come to LTK, know who they should follow, and we’ll introduce them to great designers that we think are right for them and try them out.”
In a word: influence.
Describing LTK as a three-sided marketplace of consumers, creators, and brands, Ulrich said, “Once a brand is on LTK, any of our creators can work with that brand and sell those products. We help integrate and create the opportunity for creators to use all of these brands, and also help brands set commission rates that make them attractive for creators to test and try.
Ecosystems structured in this way have their own flywheel effect, organizing looks and getting vital things like the right size and color so influencers can show off the right pieces, thus ensuring sales.
Much of it centers around trust, which translates to trust in the social selling industry. Creators and influencers invest a lot of effort in getting to know their followers and their tastes.
“One thing we talk about a lot at LTK, and this is true across retail, is building consumer confidence,” she said. “The way I think about buying is trust, it’s that moment, as a consumer, where you pull out your credit card.”
Without it, objects either don’t move or rigs end up drowning in feedback.
“What’s amazing is how the creators solve shopping confidence in a truly unique and valuable way, because they’ve already tested and tried all the products, and they’ve made this selection for you.”
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Be a good influencer
With inflation appearing in every other title this year, many buyers are turning to trusted influencers for inspiration on a budget, and it’s a role LTK takes to heart.
Noting that LTK users are looking for both value and style, Ulrich said, “I’m thinking of Amber Box, our co-founder. There’s this awesome H&M coat she found that was about $100. She’ll pair it with a very expensive $500 Valentino belt. She’ll show you…the Valentino belt…but then here are three other look-alike belts that aren’t in the same price category if you will.
There’s no one size fits all, and that’s the superpower of curation and personalization. Data is extremely useful here, and the platform leverages its data in a three-way fashion.
Recalling that brands that saw the potential of influencer/creator marketing early on had little data to work with, she said, “LTK is one of the only platforms that can give brands and marketers a return on ad spend in the influencer and creator marketing space because we actively track conversions that come from these creators. »
“We have become the go-to advertising platform in this space because we have the data behind it,” she added.
The data helps identify product trends earlier in the cycle, peaks and troughs in demand, and points the way for influencers with the style and service fashion lovers love to follow.
“We can use that to be really smart…to pitch great designers on brands,” Ulrich said. “We’re very good at helping identify the best creators to move the needle on whatever this brand wants to move. Whether it’s funnel awareness and brand perception, all the way to very direct measures focused on conversion.”
She said it involves “a rigorous application process and review process” for creators to join, and most don’t pass.
“We look at creator performance data,” she said. “Are they creating a complete store and a great experience for their consumers? If so, there are ways to access higher discovery streams and be in front of more consumers over time. »
How does this check impact conversion rates?
Ulrich said LTK averages 3.5% higher conversions “than other ecosystems”, adding, “It stems from…the relationship with the creator, and that you’ve already traveled the funnel with confidence only when you get there, you’re really ready to make that purchase and have it appear on your doorstep. The LTK app has been a game-changer for us.”
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Standing out in the increasingly crowded social commerce space on what Ulrich called “noisy” social sharing platforms is a different style curation function and showing Amazon efficiency on the back-end, by especially when it comes to processing influencer commissions.
Using a $100 jacket to help with the math, she said, “Let’s say the brand that sold this jacket set a 10% commission. That’s what crosses us. The jacket is sold by LTK, so is the gross value of the commodity passing through us.
“Then we have the commission that goes to the creator,” she continued. “We collect those dollars from the brands and then pass the commission payments to the creator. We manage that transaction flow.
What is advantageous about this is not just the data generated, but what LTK does with it.
Bringing sales and influencer data back to brands makes the case for creators to keep commissions attractive and inspiring, attracting more new creators and helping those who are already selling.
“We’ve been able to show some really amazing brands – and I love that part of our business – that when you increase your product commission rate, you get creators who test and engage more, which is such a big deal. good ecosystem,” said Ulrich. .
“It’s a great source of publicity,” she added. “We see an immediate response from things like that.”
From there, there are new features like in-stock and out-of-stock alerts, where rare items can be found, and “features that will make it more transparent for creators on LTK.”
While the company has no plans to create its own line as it doesn’t want to step into the territory of its creators or brands, it wants to connect the dots for all three sides.
Its first marketing campaign to introduce the world to its creators, influencers and brands was launched, Ulrich said, “to really claim the space and make sure people who haven’t heard of LTK yet know that we are a destination for the next best way to shop online.