Opinion: Influencer Commerce 101
Rahul Singh, Co-founder, The Good Creator Co writes how influencer commerce, a.k.a social commerce, is becoming one of the megatrends of the year.
“People don’t buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic,” Seth Godin.
In today’s time, the internet isn’t just limited to youngsters. You can find niche influencers in all age groups. They share experiences of essential aspects of their life making you a part of those moments. There’s a trust factor involved. Considering this deep connection between customers and influencers, brands are now leveraging influencers in the most efficient selling manner.
Influencer commerce, aka social commerce, is one of the megatrends of the year and resembles a modernized version of influencer marketing. But what does it really imply, and how does it apply?
Influencer commerce is the fusion of e-commerce with social media that uses social media platforms and influencers as marketing tools to promote the sale of goods and services. It highlights the change in the people-led selling process brought on by the emergence of social media.
The growth of the creator economy has skyrocketed in the past couple of years with the tremendous digital growth we have experienced so far. This has paved the way for the vast consumption of new trends, influencer niches, specific creators, and even regional content. As a result, brands saw an opportunity in the market to sell more efficiently and found a way to do it via influencers, who affect people’s decision-making process.
China is the leading force in influencer commerce
China, the flag bearer of influencer commerce, left no stone unturned to provide awareness, trustworthiness, and lead conversion via various channels like live chat/streaming or Social Search Optimization. In addition, leveraging an influencer’s content in several categories, including Wanghong, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), and Key Opinion Consumers, continues to be the best aspect of influencer commerce.
Every e-commerce company, however, has the potential to gain from social commerce, which is becoming increasingly popular globally. Several strategies may prove appropriate for your brand’s growth trajectory, but it’s crucial to make sure that your social commerce strategy is customized for your brand.
Indian brands taking over
The Indian influencer market isn’t far behind its neighbors. D2C brands are at the top of the influencer commerce funnel. In short, the D2C model is the concept of selling directly to customers without using any intermediary. This links consumers by enabling direct contact with influencers and transparency throughout the purchasing process. The ecosystem of influencer commerce is strengthened, and the brand partnership experience is elevated as a result. For example, think about a customer’s journey on YouTube. Users looking to buy a new skincare product or the latest clothing would go for a product review or a haul video.
Like this one here by Ishita Khanna, a Meesho haul video. She talks about all her purchases from the e-commerce platform and her experience. These haul videos make up for the best kind of reviews as they give viewers a first-hand idea of the price and the quality.
It’s a brand-new idea that companies have embraced swiftly. The ideal fusion of physical and virtual space allows customers to engage conveniently while sitting in their homes.
In fact, a report by Research and Markets suggests that the social commerce sector in India will increase annually by 71.5% to $8,258.8 million in 2022 and 1 trillion by 2023, as suggested by reports from Oberlo.
2021 – the era of Social Commerce
2021 was the year that gave birth to influencer commerce. Vogue was running a thrift store or selling via live streams. Live shopping has just begun and one of the brands to adopt this trend early on was Myntra. In November 2021, Myntra entered the world of social commerce. The business introduced M-Live, a first-of-its-kind interactive and real-time shopping experience.
Influencers can host live video sessions for clients using this service. These live videos are accessible through the Myntra app and allow users to shop immediately while watching the streams. Users are more likely to shop digitally on Myntra using real-time interaction mode. Following this, competitors Flipkart and Amazon took the same path.
Interestingly enough, Amazon has created an “Influencer Storefront” feature. But what is a storefront?
It’s an online area with a well-curated list of all the items that influencers think you should buy.
These big brands took care of the need of the hour in the market and their customers, providing the best services. However, Meesho, an e-commerce startup, stole the show with its grand social commerce strategies and has already doubled its valuation in 2021, going from $2.1 billion in April to $4.2 billion in September while earning over $570 million in Series F funding. This has impacted the competition in influencer commerce, with big corporations like Flipkart going head-to-head with businesses like Meesho, GlowRoad, and many more.
Selling points by the categories
Long video formats are the best way for marketers to engage with their audience and get their product in front of potential customers, which is why YouTube is their favourite destination.
If you look at beauty bloggers, for instance, you’ll see that they always discuss cosmetics as they use and evaluate them. Naturally, you can’t review a product without first trying it, and beauty items are generally among the most significant categories consumers think about while looking for reviews on them. Seeing influencers use these products helps build trust.
The same is true for fashion videos, which demand a lot of variation. The well-known “How-to” films and DIY remain dominant. Those looking for tech videos must understand their value and application. People are continually examining the features and methods of operation.
On the contrary, food and beverage films cover topics including how to prepare food, how it impacts our health, what kind of food and beverages to include in everyday life, and the best places to dine in a city or your local area. These influencers guide customers through a journey of understanding the product’s purpose, functionality, benefits, and side effects.
Our attention span is short and brands that can sell us in an entertaining manner get our attention. Influencer commerce, thus, spreads like wildfire because it keeps your audience informed, engaged and builds trust. A face that talks to you and addresses all your problems never fails to win the heart. The retail industry is said to grow bigger and better by the year 2028 with influencer commerce. Brands that understand this are ruling the industry.
The article is authored by Rahul Singh, Co-founder, The Good Creator Co
Disclaimer: The opinions shared in the article are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publication.