How social commerce is turning a perfect storm into a prime opportunity
The fallout from the pandemic-induced shuttering of Canada’s physical storefronts has been nothing short of catastrophic. As of February 2021, small businesses have collectively taken on $135 billion in debt in an attempt to survive COVID-19, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business reports. With the average business owner owing $170,000, a staggering one in six of these ventures – 181,000 all told – are at risk of closing permanently due to COVID-19.
This perfect retail storm is also impacting brands that rely on physical storefronts for in-person visibility with consumers. According to a report from Deloitte, many of the online shopping behaviours adopted by consumers during the pandemic are likely to endure, as will preferences for new brands discovered in cyberspace. A 2020 report from communications firm Ketchum found that 45 percent of American shoppers have altered their brand preferences, with research from McKinsey pegging that number at 75 percent. The Ketchum study also found that 62 percent of people who have changed their brand preference will make that a permanent change before the pandemic is over. As Deloitte points out, “brands that have invested or continue to invest in future-proofing their business through innovative services and digital offerings will be well-positioned to weather the storm today in order to thrive tomorrow.”
All of this has turned influencer marketing into a staple of many retailers’ and brands’ digital marketing strategies. Indeed, the practice of marketing products and services through social media-based endorsements is expected to grow in value from $9.7 billion in 2020 to $13.8 billion in 2021, with a staggering 90 percent of respondents to a recent Influencer Marketing Hub (IMH) survey indicating that they believe it to be effective.
The question is: How can retailers and brands of all sizes afford to drive influencer marketing at scale while overcoming the uncertainties, inefficiencies and financial challenges associated with it? The high cost of engaging mega- and macro-influencers – those whose followers top six figures – is a big part of the reason micro-influencers with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers are involved in at least 90 percent of successful campaigns.
However, collaborating with micro-influencers is easier said than done. Simply scouring profiles is time-consuming and laborious, while ensuring that partnership agreements come to fulfillment can be hit and miss. More than two-thirds of brands are concerned about influencer fraud, the IMH survey reveals, with 38 percent having experienced it first hand.
That’s why the time has come for digital automation to do for brand-influencer collaboration what it has already done for dating websites, streaming services and so many other digital platforms where effective and efficient matchmaking is of the essence.
At Creator.co, our platform helps retailers and brands of any size find and negotiate with micro-influencers (or “Creators,” as we call them). Once a brand deploys a marketing campaign, qualified Creators agree to its terms and apply. Retailers and brands then simply activate the ones they want from an intuitive dashboard that automatically manages all activated Creators, captures the post analytics, and the assets including Instagram posts, stories, and reels. Retailers and brands also have the ability to sponsor or whitelist the content right from their dashboard, allowing them to easily serve up powerful ads from user generated content on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Google Display networks.
This approach has exploded in popularity since the start of the pandemic, with the platform attracting an average of more than 1,000 new micro-influencers each week as people began collaborating with retailers and brands to promote their products, access new income streams, and create their own storefront.
For these myriad Creators, the flexibility of working from anywhere has led to a whole new way for people to earn money and work with the brands they love. The retailers and brands, in turn, access a fast and cost-effective way to build brand trust, attract new customers, and ultimately, convert sales. Every time a brand collaborates with a Creator, they’re accessing numerous digital storefronts where they can showcase their product in new ways to new customers.
Ultimately, this Creator Economy is about decentralizing commerce and giving direct-to-consumer brands a leg up with a new sales channel. Goodbye middle man, hello empowerment and extra revenue for influencers and brands.
A perfect storm, it turns out, can lead to near-perfect collaboration.