Key Points

  • E-commerce may be growing, but retail isn’t down and out
  • Influencer marketing tactics are valuable for each segment of commerce
  • E-commerce best practices include tracking and reporting closely on campaign effectiveness, plus utilizing powerful ratings & reviews 
  • Retail best practices include launching ambassador programs, testing out live shopping, and diversifying social media presence with evergreen content


Influencer Marketing For E-Commerce vs. Retail

It’s no surprise that e-commerce has rapidly grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic propelling online sales even more than normal. With physical stores getting back into the game after a period of rebuilding, the competition is heating up. 

According to Statista, more than two billion people made online purchases in 2021, with e-commerce sales projected to hit $7.4 trillion worldwide by 2025. Adweek also reports that there has been a massive shift in consumer behavior when it comes to shopping over the past year — 72% of consumers plan to make regular purchases online vs. only 57% of consumers saying they’ll be shopping in person.

Those numbers help support e-commerce’s viability, but you can’t leave retail out. One of our predictions for this year is that retailers will turn creators into a revenue stream to promote their supplier products — a strategy that falls under shopper marketing budgets.

Shopper marketing teams at retail brands are starting to survey creators and gather data to help sell campaigns to supplier brands. In addition, these teams are repurposing high-quality influencer content across various touchpoints to accelerate the path to purchase and drive more online sales.

So, what can e-commerce and retail brands do right now? To incorporate influencers into their marketing mixes, there are several steps that brands can take to start building strong creator partnerships and generating more sales in tandem.

Best Practices for Retail Brands

For retail brands who are looking to grow, taking your business to the next level with a mix of physical and digital efforts makes a big difference. Here are a few ways that influencer marketing, social media, and social proof combine into a successful program: 

1. Leverage Social Media

If you’re just starting to leverage influencer marketing, diversifying your social media presence over several platforms is key! You can build strong partnerships with creators on more than one platform. That means that targeting new audiences is more achievable than ever. 

2. Repurpose IGC

To get the most out of influencer-generated content (IGC), amplify it! Repurpose content — not only on brand and paid channels on social media, but also across mediums like the brand’s website or blog, within in-store videos, on digital billboards or mall kiosks, and in printed lookbooks or other marketing materials.

3. Launch an Ambassador Program

Ambassador programs are a great way to expand your influencer marketing program. This method takes ordinary consumers, brand employees, and/or content creators and promotes their content on the brand’s social platforms as part of a long-term partnership. It’s a great way to generate social proof, especially when that content is coming from a source that consumers trust over an extended period of time.

4. Measure Your Retail Influencer Programs

In addition to the standard social metrics that we receive from creators and social networks — such as engagements and engagement rates, clicks and CTRs, CPM, and CPE — you’ll want to consider how to measure your ROI. Prove your programs’ value by looking at metrics like: 

    • Sales from referral links or coupon codes
    • Sales lift studies
    • Loyalty member lifetime value (LTV) increase
    • New member acquisition, activation, and engagement

5. Take On Live Shopping

Consumers are increasingly comfortable shopping on social media. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are making it quick, easy, and safe to process a purchase right through the app. And with influencer content already proven to be an effective tool supporting social proof, shoppable live streams led by a trusted influencer are poised to make e-commerce brands a whole lot of cash.

Best Practices for E-Commerce Brands

If you’re an e-commerce brand, you already know that the digital space is constantly changing. Here are a few ways to level up your influencer marketing program while staying true to your existing tactics: 

1. Involve The Entire Customer Journey

Influencer marketing doesn’t impact just one stage of the customer journey – it impacts the entire funnel! From awareness, interest, and consideration, all the way through to intent, evaluation, and purchase, creators are part of each and every stage. Activating creators for live streams, short-form video content, in-feed social content, blogs, reviews, surveys, affiliate links, and more makes them part of the journey from beginning to end.

2. Use Trackable Codes

UTM links are an important aspect of tracking clicks and conversions. In addition, tracking promotional codes, redemption codes, and discount codes will help attach a dollar value to the hard work that influencers are doing. As a result, brand marketers are able to fight for more budget to support influencer marketing initiatives.

And let’s not forget the connection that tracking links and promo codes have to shoppable content. As platforms start implementing upgrades that allow consumers to shop directly from creator content, the links they’ll be sharing will hold a lot of data (and value). 

3. Keep Your Referral Program Running

Referrers are asked to amplify products or content links on their social networks in return for loyalty points they can redeem for products, or for discount codes for the brand’s website. With the ultimate business objective of increasing online sales, these referrers will share coupon codes or promotions via their amplification in order to drive clicks and conversions for your brand.

4. Launch An Affiliate Program

In tandem with tracking links, affiliate content is a great way to drive website traffic via those trackable affiliate links. As a quick review, affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting a company’s products. The “publisher” finds a product they like, promotes it to others, then earns a piece of the profit from the “merchant” for each sale that they make.

5. Activate Ratings & Reviews

While social media is critical for purchase inspiration, consumers increasingly trust and rely on reviews and recommendations when deciding what to buy. The pairing of product photos, videos, and other forms of social proof with written reviews is driving purchase intent and is enabling customers to evaluate personalized viewpoints about a product, its features, and expected performance.

Influencer Marketing: A Strategy You Can’t Live Without

If you’re an e-commerce brand or a retail brand interested in branching out into influencer marketing for the first time, there are a host of best practices that you can incorporate to set yourself up for a successful program.

Just like the differences in business practices for brick and mortar stores vs. online brands, there are nuances between influencer marketing strategies depending on your business. But the bottom line is that influencer marketing is a viable business practice that is increasingly important to support a brand’s marketing mix.

The more competitive you aim to be in the e-commerce and retail spaces, the more important it is to make influencer marketing a cornerstone of your efforts.


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