Why influencer marketing is overtaking traditional advertising when it comes to boosting fashion sales

While the term was unheard of 10 years ago, influencer marketing in 2020 is big business. Today rather than flicking through the pages of Vogue, more and more shoppers are turning to Instagrammers, Twitter personalities and YouTube stars to hunt out the latest trends and product recommendations.

It’s not hard to see why digital marketing in general is on the rise. With over 3 billion internet users around the globe and over half accessing it on their mobile phones, shoppers can research products and make purchases 24/7. Couple that with the shoppable posts and affiliated links that are now common place on social media and it’s easy to see why influencer marketing is so successful.

Much has been written about the psychology of influencer marketing and why shoppers are now more easily swayed by the opinions of bloggers than television programmes and glossy magazines. In short, influencer marketing works much like traditional word-of-mouth: the opinion of a person you trust or even admire inspires you to make a decision or purchase. For this reason, credibility and relatable content is at the corner stone of any successful influencer marketing campaign.

So, how do influencers become influential? Well, they gain credibility – often organically to begin with – by posting content that engages and inspires likeminded people. This can result in a tribe-like following.

While some global superstars like the Kardashians undeniably hold a lot of clout, it’s often micro-influencers (those with less than 100K followers) who inspire the most product sales. This is because micro-influencers often provide a hands-on approach, building a personal relationship with their followers that can start to feel like a friendship. This cultivates a higher lever of trust, so when they recommend a product their opinion is resected. A micro-influencer’s recommendation can be more credible than a celebrity endorsement, which can ultimately make their content more powerful even despite a lower number of followers.

The results speak for themselves. For fashion brands, the ROI on influencer marketing can be up to 11 times higher than that of more traditional online advertising. That figure is unsurprising when you consider that over half of consumers consult blogs and social media on their mobile phones before they go out shopping.

Meanwhile, in research conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute before the coronavirus crisis, 60 per cent of consumers said they have been influenced by social media or a blogger while shopping at a physical store. Moreover, just 3 per cent would consider buying a product in-store if it was being promoted by a celebrity compared to 60 per cent for an influencer.

As we enter a new phase of living amid a pandemic, the popularity of influencer marketing is becoming more powerful still. But it is ever evolving. For example, in China, live streaming commerce – where shoppers purchase on the back of live videos broadcasting on social media – is this year’s biggest trend. In 2019, sales made as a result of live streaming reached an estimated $61 billion. This figure is now expected to more than double to $129 billion in 2020. Market watchers say the shift was accelerated by the country’s lockdown. With people stuck at home, many turned to streams hosted by influencers to find the human connection they craved.

At the height of China’s coronavirus outbreak in February, the time users spent watching live streaming videos soared. And according to experts the trend is here to stay – even as lockdown restrictions ease and normality returns. Chloe Reuter, founder of Reuter Communications in Shanghai, told Glossy.co that people will probably remain cautious about attending large events or traveling “for a number of years.” This will have an impact on how we use virtual platforms to forge human connections.

If the crisis has taught us anything, it’s the importance of maintaining a more personal relationship with customers whether that’s on or offline. And regardless of the size of your business, influencer marketing can help create connections with shoppers.

Of course, with a sea of influencers and social media platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to know how to add influencer marketing to your strategy. That’s why B2B marketplace TradeGala is making it easier for retailers and brands to connect with influencers with its newly-launched influencer marketing packages. These offer a hassle-free option for any brand or retailer that is struggling to find the right influencer to help them promote their business. The packages will provide access to one or two trusted Instagrammers who will create a range of bespoke content that can be used for a ‘takeover day’ on the brand’s account. All the content will also be provided for use in other marketing campaigns. What’s more, TradeGala will feature the content to promote the brand or retailer accordingly.

So, as we move into a new normal following the coronavirus crisis, now is the ideal time to shake-up your online promotions strategy. And if you want to reach new shoppers with your products in a credible and authentic way, influencer marketing is great for inspiring and engaging today’s savvy consumers.