Retail: meet online social influencers. You’re going to get along great.

Article by Emily Stickler, Director of Strategy at Curb Crowser

Influential people have been driving purchase decisions forever. Celebrities who helped you decide which soft drink to buy, athletes who told you what brands to wear — you know the drill. But with the rise of social influencers who have substantially large followings online — and are bona fide celebrities in their own right (these are the people you follow on Instagram for style tips, the bloggers you’re looking to for great recipes, even the artists you’re following on Etsy) — brands have the opportunity to strategically tap into these influencers and their highly engaged audiences and blur the line between brand awareness efforts and driving actual sales.

And the power of these social influencers is profound. Recent Nielsen, Forbes and PwC data supports this:

  • An astounding 92% trust recommendations from individuals — even if they don’t know them — over brands.
  • Combine that with 74% of moms who use social media to guide purchase decisions.
  • And 73% of millennials who see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers and their families toward making smart purchase decisions.

But when is influencer marketing going to go beyond brand awareness and e-commerce sales and truly drive measurable sales in store?

We’ve been thinking critically about this here at Curb for some time. As a retail-centric agency, we’ve challenged ourselves on how the rise in influencer marketing could benefit display and merchandising efforts, and vice versa. And how retail collaborations could broaden influencers’ reach, engagement and influence at a local level.

Why? Because of the 89% of people researching products and looking for recommendations online — 73% STILL purchase in a physical store. Talk about a huge opportunity to connect the dots at retail.

As Shandra mentioned, “If you’re succeeding in bringing a shopper to a store, make it worth it!”

So, why not integrate your influencer efforts online with memorable experiences in store. Is there an opportunity for a retail event hosted by an influencer? Or custom packaging that ladders up to your broader influencer campaign? Or cross-merch to incorporate everything you need to bake that blogger’s cupcake recipe? And the list goes on.

Let’s start thinking about how we can tie influencer efforts to these in-store experiences and MAKE IT WORTH IT for the shopper to be there.

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