Even before COVID-19 sent consumers home to shop from their smartphones, online shopping had surged over traditional brick-and-mortar shopping and continues to climb. Today, eCommerce is a thriving environment with millions of digital storefronts and premium products available only online.
ecommerce received another boost in the last three years as a result of influencer marketing. Merging these two business models is responsible for what experts predict to be a $10 billion industry by year’s end.
Influencer Marketing and eCommerce
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“The eCommerce marketers seem to have got the best out of influencers. Consequently, social media channels are buzzing with influencers vouching for brands looking to improve their reach and establish their niche.” – Mention
Thanks to the help of influencers, even small and medium-sized online brands are a force to be reckoned with.
Most eCommerce brands are nothing like Amazon in size, scope, or popularity. Many online retailers are the digital equivalent of a “mom and pop” shop offering fun, unique solutions for niche audiences. The online retailers have generated the most success with the help of influencers.
But even though large eCommerce companies were not early adopters of the influencer marketing model, they’ve also benefited greatly from influencer authenticity and creativity.
Image via Mediakix
How Does It Work?
eCommerce brands recognize that the number of other online store brands is growing. As more people prefer to take their shopping online or enjoy a more omnichannel experience, consumers no longer feel restricted to in-person, retail storefronts.
But the vastness of eCommerce makes it more difficult for some of the smaller online retailers to generate brand awareness. These eCommerce brands are now partnering with influencers, social media power users that have nurtured an online community sharing similar qualities of life.
Influencer posts showcase the brand by putting its products into action through an image, video or story. Followers engage by clicking on an influencer’s affiliate link (Instagram swipe-ups, hyperlinked text in a blog, link in Youtube video description, etc.), commenting, or sharing the influencer post.
eCommerce brands are enjoying massive returns. Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2019 Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report noted that influencer programs are achieving an 18:1 return on investment for online retailers.
Even though this sounds too good to be true, these returns are common among brands with long-term, authentic relationships with their influencers. The reality is that not all brand-influencer relationships are created equal. Transactional brand-influencer relationships are not nearly as lucrative.
Some of the most successful brand-influencer relationships begin when an influencer discovers a brand they love and promotes its products without any encouragement from the brand itself. An increasing number of brand ambassador programs work exactly this way.
Why is It So Successful?
Influencer brand mentions act as both a celebrity-like endorsements (disclaimer: most are not celebrities, but they enjoy a sizable social following) and objective product reviews. Influencer marketing has become eCommerce’s unique expression of word-of-mouth marketing and user-generated content.
Influencer marketing illustrates marketing principles, such as the psychology of influence and the halo effect. Both principles recognize that brand-consumer trust is not an easy thing to attain unless that brand partners with consumers who’ve earned trust and authority.
Lastly, eCommerce showrooms are increasingly mobile-friendly, as is social media. Successful influencer marketing campaigns demonstrate how well social and eCommerce platforms integrate. From a UX standpoint, the synergy just works.
The Best Strategies for Influencer Marketing and eCommerce Brands
Top-performing eCommerce brands are mastering techniques that help them achieve multiple marketing objectives on a modest budget. We’ve noticed three strategies that consistently deliver influencer marketing success for online brands:
- Product seeding
- Discount codes and affiliate links
- Performance tracking
Product Seeding (Influencer Gifting)
Believe it or not, micro influencers, nano influencers, and brand ambassadors are routinely producing incredible content on product seeding alone.
Product seeding is giving an influencer your product in exchange for social media content. This technique is also known as influencer gifting, and it’s an effective, affordable way to generate content. Influencer gifting is perfect for eCommerce brands on a limited budget selling premium quality products.
Discount Codes and Affiliate Links
Influencer followers love discount codes, and the leading eCommerce platforms allow you to customize discount codes to specific people or groups. Consumers use the customized code (usually 4-6 digits) at checkout for a dollar amount or percentage off.
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Supplying influencers with digital coupons not only allows eCommerce brands to attribute sales to the right influencer, but it also incentivizes tentative customers to buy.
Affiliate links produce similar results. But the key advantage of affiliate links is that they both help you track campaign success and drive website traffic. Campaign objectives aimed at increasing web visits generate great success with affiliate links.
Leading influencer programs like to combine the two for best results. Working together, these features deliver the best in influencer attribution, campaign tracking, web traffic, and increased sales.
Performance tracking is less of a strategy and more of an influencer marketing critical task. There are some eCommerce brands that report little to no results from influencers, and the common denominator for those brands is a lack of performance tracking.
Image via GRIN
Like any marketing approach, influencer marketing ROI results from understanding the data. Influencer follower counts, engagement metrics, impressions, sales, and more all tell a story that – properly understood – helps eCommerce marketers use the right influencers to create the best content for an ideal audience.
For newer influencer programs, marketers can track most of these metrics on a spreadsheet. But as that program grows, eCommerce brands need a better platform that automatically pulls and organizes essential influencer data.
When tracking performance for your influencer program, you’ll need a platform that gathers metrics like ad spend, product cost, influencer sales, commissions, product fulfillment (POS, shipping, etc.), social channel, and more. You can use these metrics to create custom reports that show a more accurate picture of your program ROI.
GRIN is the First to Offer the eCommerce Integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is one of the leading eCommerce platforms today. eCommerce integration with influencer marketing software allows brands to streamline their process and budget.
Wanting to empower eCommerce brands using platforms other than Shopify, we are proud to be the first influencer marketing software with Salesforce Commerce Cloud integration. Check out our official press release here.
Why is This Integration Important?
Traditionally, Salesforce supplied B2B brands with premium customer relationship management (CRM) software for sales and marketing teams. Salesforce recently branched into the B2C space and launched their Commerce Cloud in 2016. Their goal is now to help B2B and B2C brands become more omnichannel.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers unique benefits to eCommerce brands that few other platforms provide. For example, Salesforce continues to vet their plugins before approving them for use among Salesforce users. This approach keeps the software agile and less prone to cyber intrusions. The platform also allows online retailers to personalize shopping experiences to customers based on demographics, past purchases, devices, and more.
eCommerce brands have fallen in love with the Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Incidentally, many of those brands also maintain robust influencer programs. Switching between two critical platforms wastes time and energy among marketing teams. This integration helps remove the busy work of influencer marketing and allows for time to be spent on building a relationship with the influencer.
What Can You Do with eCommerce Integrations?
The better that your eCommerce and marketing platforms work together, the more time and money you will save. Our platform allows you to import your Salesforce Commerce Cloud data into GRIN and track the entire order life cycle in one place. As a result, you can manage influencer sales, commissions, inventory, and shipping on your influencer platform.
The following six capabilities keep Salesforce Commerce Cloud users from having to move back-and-forth between two or more platforms. With this integration, you can create influencer product profiles and keep inventory up-to-date in real-time.
Is Having an Influencer Marketing Software with an eCommerce Integration Worth It?
The answer is a resounding Yes! for influencer marketers managing a product inventory across a team of 20 or more influencers. Achieving maximum ROI means paying attention to which influencers are selling what, at what volume, and how efficient your product fulfillment is on those orders.
If you’re new to influencer marketing, the important thing is that you track these critical metrics as best you can with the tools at your disposal. The deeper your influencer relationships become and the more efficient your product fulfillment process, the faster your brand will grow.
Once you’re in a position to replicate success, it’s critical that you invest in an influencer and eCommerce platform that automates your process and frees your team up to focus on more big picture growth.
Conclusion: Influencer Marketing is One of the Most Successful Influencer Marketing Strategies
Many marketing strategies work well for individual stages in the marketing funnel, but few strategies have as strong an impact across the entire buyer’s journey as does influencer marketing.
Influencers capture consumer awareness and expedite the buying process. They accomplish this because of the authenticity and trustworthiness they’ve built among members of their online communities. It’s no surprise that almost 90% of eCommerce brands find that influencer marketing works as well or better than every other marketing channel.
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