GORDIAN KNOT: The worlds of social media, e-commerce and online content are becoming increasingly intertwined, delegates at Wired Retail in London argued Monday.

Speakers at the U.K. title’s inaugural conference on the future of retail included Tracy Yaverbaun, head of brand development, EMEA at Instagram; Chris Morton, chief executive officer and cofounder of Lyst; Amber Venz, cofounder of RewardStyle, and Runar Reistrup, ceo of social marketplace Depop. “People are looking for inspiration in the way that they would look through a magazine, but now it’s on a small screen for 24 hours a day,” said Yaverbaun of how Instagram’s users view the app. “People are walking into stores with their Instagram feeds,” she added.

This story first appeared in the November 25, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But Yaverbaun noted that the firm isn’t planning to add a commerce element to Instagram yet. “We feel like focusing on inspiration first is the most important thing to do, then we can figure out the rest later,” she said.

Venz of RewardStyle, which links online content creators to brands so the creators can monetize their online promotion of labels, said that the style bloggers her firm represents are directly influencing online sales. Venz said that the firm’s “top influencers” will drive $270 million in online sales in 2014, up 174 percent from 2013. She also cited one of the firm’s stats — widely reported earlier this year — that some of its bloggers are making around $100,000 a month in commission from products they link to online. In addition, Venz said that Liketoknow.it, her firm’s tool that enables bloggers to earn affiliate commission on products they promote on Instagram, has driven 3 percent of the retail sales generated by the firm’s bloggers in the last eight months.

Reistrup at Depop noted that his peer-to-peer buying-and-selling app has been described by an executive at Asos as hybrid of shopping and a social network, or more specifically as “eBay and Instagram having a baby.” The app displays an Instagram-style feed of images of goods that its users are selling — from art books to designer clothes to rare sneakers — and Reistrup said the interaction between buyers and sellers is an integral part of the app’s experience. “[Online retail] doesn’t have to be a faceless, Amazonlike store,” said Reistrup, noting that the app’s users are influenced by whether one of the site’s respected sellers has commented on an item. “People are asking opinions, and using [the app] as a social network,” he said.

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