The golden advantage influencers have in e-commerce and merchandising
Listen up, creators and influencers! Are you someone with more online followers than you know what to do with? You could be missing out on a golden opportunity. In this article, we’ll show you what you’re missing — and explain how to cash in.
Let’s start with the world’s least surprising newsflash: the e-commerce industry is thriving. Research has shown that there will be 1.92 billion global digital buyers in 2019. And the number is expected to rise to a whopping 2.14 billion people in 2021.
Brands and businesses of all shapes and sizes, all over the world, are generating huge numbers by selling products online.
The challenge of building trust
It’s clear that the e-commerce gold rush has well and truly begun. But whilst more and more people are showing up to scrabble around in the silt, others among us may already own the deeds to the mine.
One major obstacle facing traditional e-commerce marketers is building trust. Marketers often find it hard to build trust with potential customers. One survey conducted by IPSOS found that a staggering 96% of consumers believe that the advertising industry doesn’t act with integrity.
What’s more, 69% of people say they believe that marketers lie in order to sell.
This being the case, there are issues with growing and reaching an audience. You’re probably aware, for example, that ad blockers are more widespread than ever. In fact, in 2017 there were over 600 million devices running adblock software globally.
In other words, consumers are switching off from traditional advertising. And, in an age of growing cynicism and suspicion, marketers are having to think of more novel ways to get people’s attention. That’s why they’re increasingly turning to online influencers — who they know already have that ‘special something’ — to help influence sales.
In the world of e-commerce, this gives you a huge potential advantage.
The influencer advantage
Forget looking in from the outside: you have everything you need to become the main event: the golden advantage.
Point one: you already have an audience. You worked hard to grow it and you engage with it regularly.
Point two: your following isn’t just a number. They’re engaged. Giving them the opportunity to buy products that demonstrate their support is a tremendous way to add value and create real buzz and engagement around your brand.
And point three: let’s talk about trust.
Forget about building it — it’s already built. It’s implicit to your influencer–follower relationship.
Did you know, for example, that 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities? That 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favourite creator over their favourite TV or movie personality? Or that 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube?
You also already have your brand, a brand that your followers relate to and feel passionate about.
Big businesses are recognising all these facts, and looking to cash in. In a study conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub, 92% of respondents agreed that influencer marketing is a highly effective form of promotion. What’s more, 63% intend to increase their influencer marketing budget over the next year.
But could it create opportunities for you, the influencer, to sell your own products as well as just endorsing and promoting other businesses?
The rise of influencer merchandising
So you’ve got the passionate audience, you’ve got the awesome brand, you’ve got your unique identity. People love buying products online, and they also trust you. Connect these dots and you can see you’ve got a big opportunity in the world of e-commerce and merchandising.
Increasingly, influencers are turning to merchandising as a way to generate revenue. Selling their own custom designed products to an audience of fans is an increasingly popular strategy. And it’s doing big numbers.
The remedy to merchandising headaches
Traditionally, many individuals and agencies have dreaded the ‘m’ word. Not because it wasn’t seen as a great revenue generator, but because of the amount of stress and hassle involved in setting it up.
Just think about all the ugly, time-consuming jobs involved: sourcing products; negotiating minimum order volumes with suppliers; back-and-forth product testing; navigating technical e-commerce website setup. Dealing with orders, arranging shipping, returns and so forth. All punctuated with long lead times to update merchandise with new designs — and no guarantee that you were actually choosing the right products for your fans. It’s tiring just reading the list, let alone going through the whole frustrating process.
In short, you were committing yourself to a situation whereby (a) you had to invest a stack of time and money in getting your operation up and running, and (b) far from being guaranteed a return, there was a small chance you could actually end up losing money as well.
Thankfully, there’s another way. Print on demand dropshipping partners like Prodigi have allowed individuals, brands and influencers to sell products to their followers, anywhere in the world, without holding any inventory.
And with our Shopify app, the headache of store setup is eradicated, too. Anyone can do it — without any technical skills or know-how. You can have your store up-and-running in a matter of seconds with whatever products you like, ready to start marketing to your loyal fan base.
Our worldwide distribution network means that, when your customers hit ‘Buy,’ the order is routed to their nearest distribution centre, manufactured and shipped within 2–4 days.
Sold? If so, setting up is a simple four step process:
- Head to shopify.com and sign up for your store. They offer a 14-day free trial with no obligation and no credit card required. If you don’t want to use Shopify, there are plenty of other choices on offer, such as BigCommerce.
- Install the Prodigi Shopify App.
- Follow the instructions in the walkthrough video. Select your design, hit ‘Upload’ and watch as that design rolls out across all your selected products.
- Use the editing function to ensure you have the correct image resolutions for a high quality print finish, and tweak the way your designs are applied to your garments.
Et voila! You’re up and running in a matter of minutes — and the only work you need to do is create your designs, and market your products to your audience.
Interested in finding our more? Contact our support team today!