Social Shopping: The Influencer Tech Driving Billions

March 24, 2017

I was psyched to attend the SXSW session on social shopping, featuring speakers Amber Venz Box and TechCrunch’s Fitz Tepper. Not only are we seeing more and more clients looking to drive better eCommerce conversions from social media platforms, but I’m also a huge social shopper myself. I follow lots of influencers on social media (especially Instagram), and I’ve certainly purchased clothing and accessories that I’ve seen in photos on social. 

In the last decade we’ve seen eCommerce transform the entire shopping experience, with the slow death of malls and the rise of social media influencing the digital landscape when it comes to how consumers are choosing to do their shopping. 

Amber Venz Box is the co-creator of a company called If you follow any fashion, beauty or lifestyle influencers/bloggers on Instagram, you may have spotted liketoknowit tags on photos. In a nutshell, was created because Instagram doesn’t allow you to include links in your post copy. Or rather, they do but they aren’t actually clickable. If you sign up for this service and like an influencer’s post, you’ll trigger an email notification with details on where to buy the products featured in the image. It was created to answer a need that social shoppers like myself were aching to have met on Instagram.

There were a few themes from this session that stuck out to me, which I’d like to share.

The power of mobile 

This was a common theme throughout many SXSW sessions.  When considering how consumers interact with your content, you should always be thinking of users on mobile!  We’ve reached a point where mobile has become the priority — and everything should be done with a mobile-first mentality.

Thinking ahead this means that creative should be optimized for mobile, but then be viewed through the lens of a desktop user as well.  It should look good regardless of platform or operating system, but mobile should be the priority.

Visual content for the win

“Conversation is becoming more image based,” said Venz Box, and I agree.  Google search doesn’t cut it for social shopping.  Users don’t want to find products that look like the one they want — they’re looking for the exact product they have in mind.

I’ve experienced firsthand an increase in clients wanting more content created for Pinterest. It’s a great platform to invest in, with great ROI.  Beyond Instagram, Pinterest is a great example of the power of visuals when it comes to connecting with consumers. When we think about “thumb stopping power”, what we’re referring to are images so powerful that the shopper stops scrolling. Visual content that makes a consumer sit up and pay attention. If you have stellar copy and a great product but a lousy image, you aren’t going to find success.

It’s an influencer marketing world

Brands need to face it: their customers are consuming more and more content from peers compared to traditional media. Even with the explosion of ads on social media, when we log onto social media we follow people we relate to, even if they’re celebrities. And when we engage with their content, we trigger a flurry of algorithms that starts showing us more and more of their content.

For this reason, Venz Box sees a continued growth in the power of influencers. She stated that its the cheapest form of marketing around. She also suggested that influencer marketing is becoming more and more democratized. It used to be primarily celebrities touting products, but now it’s more relatable people who gain online followings.

A common practice when recruiting influencers is to look for smaller but more influential people within your niche, such as a local blogger with a highly engaged community. One of the most successful influencers on LIKEtoKNOWit only has about 30k Instagram followers, but is so powerful in her influence in terms of transactions.

By Lana Olmer, Account Executive


That’s a wrap on the BSTRO team’s adventures at SXSW 2017! We hope you also enjoyed the other articles on our key takeaways from badass women in tech, and the power of technology to spread a message of love and diversity.