Do Ecommerce Businesses Really NEED Influencer Marketing?

By: Mary Ann Bautista

It has been all the buzz in marketing circles for several years now. The advent of social media grew a huge, opportunistic revenue source for many of its users and celebrities.  It seems to have been especially effective for those who were early adopters of influencer marketing that jumped on the bandwagon at the beginning!  Honestly, it’s shocking how much money folks like Kim Kardashian, Pewdiepie, Zach King, and Dan Bilzerian make by posting for advertisers.  But let’s not forget about the little guys! There are also hundreds of thousands of smaller niche influencers who have amazing influence, however with a smaller audience.  They are making a living (or part of a living) as influencers too! 

So, what’s the big deal?  And why do so many e-commerce businesses make influencer marketing a part of their marketing mix?  

It’s quite simple… influencers are the “salespeople” of the digital world.  

Back in the day when you needed something, you got into your car, drove to the mall, and went shopping… right? Well, that part is the same now with e-commerce. If you want something, you go to your computer, search on the product name or category of what you desire, and then, you shop from a variety of online stores delivering in the top search results.  

But this is where the two shopping models diverge. In the olden days, you would ask a store clerk to tell you if they had a certain item.  They would direct you to that item and even give you advice! For example, if you broke a handle on your bathroom door, you would go to a hardware store, talk to the clerk behind the counter and they would show you options. AND it is likely that they even offered advice about that purchase.  For example, they might mention that this particular handle is the best seller, has a universal fit feature and gets the fewest returns of all the other options. With that knowledge, I would buy the one that the clerk recommends…wouldn’t you? 

So, what happens in the e-commerce scenario? The influencer posts content about a product or service that they like. Maybe they even LOVE it! For example, Chiara Ferragni with her 25 million followers might post content about a new purple polka dot bikini! She would model it, tell you about the fit and comfort, comment on the quality of the fabrication, and might even describe how well it holds up in the surf! If I were in the market for a purple polka dot bikini, I would definitely check out that bikini brand. Wouldn’t you? 

The content that influencers post is highly varied. They can write content, produce videos, or take still pictures.  The content can be a review, a testimonial, a demonstration if that suits the product or a large array of other styles as well.  That should all be decided between the advertiser and the influencer in advance.  It is also highly affected by which social media channels they are posting to… but more on that later. 

Well, there you have it folks. If you are looking to drive interested consumers to your e-commerce business, having an influencer post for your site is a strong endorsement.  

What are the challenges of influencer marketing? It is certainly not all unicorns and pink puffy clouds! We will go into that question in the next blog. 


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