One of the trends we spotted going into this year is the building interest in what we are calling Social Commerce. While technology has moved our buying online, the social aspects of seeing and being seen have been left behind at the local shopping mall. Marketplace giant Alibaba has launched their qq.com livestream platform in China which now competes with iqiyi.com, youku.com, and sohu.com, among others, to deliver engaging interactive content as part of the shopping experience. Global brands like L’Oreal, Adidas, and others, have aligned with livestream stars in China who act as brand ambassadors and influencers. A big part of the fashion experience is not just following the latest trends, but also seeing who is wearing a particular trend and how the fashions are being worn.
E-commerce fashion site Revolve has identified a key social aspect to commerce: Influencers. Maybe you know these people as trend-setters, fashion-forward friends, or just well-dressed acquaintances. Regardless, we all know people in our social circles that know just what to wear, when to wear it, and how to wear it best. When Raissa Gerona joined Revolve, she had an idea of how influencers could help grow the business.
“At that time, I was really hooked on the concept of a blog; I thought it was so cool that BryanBoy and Rumi Neely and all of them were going to Fashion Week and getting photographed, and I thought it was the start of something big,” Gerona recalls. “When I first pitched the concept of traveling with influencers to Revolve’s co-CEOs Mike and Michael, they didn’t really understand why we would just go travel and take a bunch of photos, but I explained to them that there was this thing called Instagram and that it was so perfect for fashion and outfits,” Gerona says. “I said we needed to put all of the clothes that we were selling, the thousands of SKUs on Revolve, on these bloggers in a very authentic way so the customers could see how and where to wear it.”
From that small start, Revolve’s influencer trips have grown into #revolvearound the world, with Gerona leading the growth as the newly appointed Chief Brand Officer. She continued the strategy with a table at the Met Gala, well-known as the fashion event of the year, and then with an event at NY Fashion Week.
“A lot of the things we’ve done over the last decade have been great, but trips are for influencers, and festivals are for super high-value customers and celebrities,” she explains. “So, for NYFW, we wanted to create a place where we could not only invite the influencers and celebrities but also our customers and anyone who was a fan of the brand.”
That idea turned into Revolve gallery, an exposition with 17,000 square feet of displays of both mannequins and live models, bringing Revolve’s fashion leadership beyond the celebrities at the gala to the public attending fashion week.
Overview by Don Apgar, Director, Merchant Services Advisory Practice at Mercator Advisory Group