Photo: ShopStyle influencers attend a Golden State Warriors game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

Did you know that 57 percent of US consumers follow an online blogger or social influencer? Or how about this one: that 88 percent of consumers who follow an influencer have made a purchase based on one of their recommendations?

Influencer marketing is not new, but it has grown in importance in the recent years due to shifting online trends, social media and consumer preferences. According to Gerardo A. Dada of the Forbes Communications Council, influencer marketing is using the reach, contextual credibility and salesmanship of online content creators to increase awareness for brands and boost sales of their products. And thanks to its increased prominence in the marketing field, it has become a focal point of industry research. Brands and businesses of all sizes have shifted from simply considering an influencer strategy to making it a critical part of their long-term marketing strategy.

One of these businesses is Rakuten group company ShopStyle. Based in San Francisco, with localized sites in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Australia, ShopStyle is a leading fashion and lifestyle shopping platform for influencers and consumers to search, explore and find exactly wh at they’re looking for – all in one place.

ShopStyle

ShopStyle Collective empowers influencers to create and grow their businesses, and enables brands to efficiently scale influencer marketing programs. Its content monetization platform gives influencers the tools, relationships, and distribution channels to monetize their content with thousands of partners. And on the flip side, the network provides brands and retailers access to an unparalleled group of content creators that can produce original and engaging content to drive awareness and sales.

Recent Rakuten Marketing data shows that 84% of revenue driven by content publishers (including influencer bloggers) is from new customers, indicating that they are highly effective at reaching new audiences. At ShopStyle, there are over 16,000 influencers in the network, making the company the largest influencer collective of its kind.

On September 7 in San Francisco, ShopStyle will host a Rakuten Optimism 2018 panel session on the future of influencer marketing, moderated by WWD technology reporter Adriana Lee. The panel includes industry and network experts such as influencers Erin Schrader of Living in Yellow, Blake Gifford of Blake von D, and Hilary Sloan, Director of ShopStyle Collective.

Ahead of the event, we caught up with several top ShopStyle influencers, as well as team members, to learn more about how ShopStyle is utilizing influencer marketing to create stronger connections between consumers and brands.

How can ShopStyle help brands through influencer marketing?

“Retailers and brands know that influencer marketing is important, but many are struggling with how to integrate influencer programs into their overall marketing mix. At ShopStyle, we have the largest network of influencers and consumers with data and insights to effectively support our partners and help them efficiently scale influencer marketing.” – Alison Stiefel, VP Marketing ShopStyle 

Official ShopStyle page of Julia Engel, Gal Meets Glam.

Official ShopStyle page of Julia Engel, Gal Meets Glam.

Why do you work with ShopStyle?

“I truly love how ShopStyle epitomizes the one-stop experience in a sophisticated, easy-to-use platform. It allows us to connect our followers directly to thousands of brands, regardless of where they are, when they’re inspired by something they see and love.” – Julia Engel, Gal Meets Glam

Official shopstyle page of Julia Engel, Gal Meets Glam.

Official ShopStyle page of Blake Gifford, Blake Von D.

As an influencer, what must a network offer for you to work with them?

“I love that ShopStyle feels like a community and not just a platform. I really appreciate that ShopStyle embraces and prioritizes diversity — that’s a must for any platform or product I share with audiences.” – Blake Gifford, Blake Von D 

Official shopstyle page of Julia Engel, Gal Meets Glam.

Official ShopStyle page of Kate Ogata, The Fancy Pants Report.

How do you know what type of content resonates with your readers?

“Being able to see my conversion rates for specific product categories helps me better understand what type of content my audience is interested in.” – Kate Ogata, The Fancy Pants Report

Why is diversity in influencer marketing important to ShopStyle?

“At ShopStyle Collective, our influencer network is not only big, it represents a broad range of styles, cultures and interests, giving us tremendous insights and data. For example, we know that when looking at sales conversions across all shopping verticals, influencers representing size diversity convert sales at a 43% higher rate when compared to our overall influencer network, and when looking at beauty and accessories categories, influencers representing age, color and size diversity often convert at a rate 100% higher than our overall influencer network. That kind of data is extremely important for our brand and retail partners, as well as to the larger influencer community.” – Hilary Sloan, Director ShopStyle Collective


About Rakuten Optimism 2018

Rakuten Optimism is a new retail and marketing conference that will provoke discussions and inspire by sharing the latest trends and insights from industry leaders, and bring together senior-level marketers, entrepreneurs, influencers, tech and industry experts from around the world. The inaugural edition of the event will be held in San Francisco, California, on September 7, 2018.

This fast-paced, one-day event will include speakers from some of the world’s most beloved brands and an exclusive evening of entertainment with a private concert from Shakira, global pop icon and one of the most successful Latin recording artists of all-time.

For more information about Rakuten Optimism 2018, visit here.