Jack Lawless, Joe Jonas, JinJoo Lee, Cole Whittle, DNCEREVOLVE festival - Day 2, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Palm Springs, USA - 16 Apr 2017

Asos and Revolve have a few things in common: they appeal to deal-hungry Millennials, they offer speedy deliveries and they have a penchant for tapping influencers to up their profile to prospective and existing patrons. Tribe Dynamics’ most recent, quarterly report “Online Retailers Versus Brick-and-Mortar” reveals the disparities between the likes of Asos and Revolve to bricks-and-mortar competitors. Its analysis reviews how the e-commerce sites have mined success and revenue through strategic influencer marketing — an area that traditional retailers largely have yet to crack.

To gather the results, Tribe discerned top brick-and-mortars and online retailers and evaluated earned media value metrics, ambassador loyalty and posted content between January and March of this year. Earned media value is Tribe Dynamics’ prescribed metric that quantified the estimated value of publicity gained through digital media and correlating engagement levels. Tribe Dynamics assigns a dollar amount to each piece of content based on its perceived value to brands.

Asos took the top spot in total EMV of $115.1 million, which breaks down to $18,123 EMV for each of its 6,352 ambassadors. Ranked by EMV per ambassador (or influencer), e-commerce site Revolve took the number-one spot with $39,110 per ambassador. Its total EMV came in at $57.3 million.

In second was Italian e-retailer Luisa Via Roma with EMV per ambassador coming in at $20,595, and total EMV of $6.9 million. Nordstrom was third with $14,954 EMV per influencer. The department store’s total EMV was $78.5 million.

Tribe Dynamics’ analysis confirmed that, generally, online retailers are succeeding in sourcing premium influencers who produce quality engagement. “Four out of the five brands with the highest EMV-per-ambassador were e-commerce, with Revolve ($39.1K EMV per ambassador) and Luisa Via Roma ($20.7K per ambassador) leading the set, despite having significantly less ambassadors, posts, and overall EMV than Nordstrom ($15.0K per ambassador) and Urban Outfitters ($10.5K per ambassador), the highest bricks-and-mortar retailers in terms of EMV per ambassador,” the report said.

This points to the building market shift toward brands opting for micro-influencers opposed to Instagram celebrities who frequently flood their streams with sponsored content, boast poor engagement levels relative to their massive followings and accordingly, devalue their overall standing.

What’s more, e-commerce sites have ascertained their audiences and crafted comprehensive strategies to target them. “Luxury retailers Farfetch, Net-a-porter, Barneys and Neiman Marcus include more designers and fashion brands (as opposed to celebrities, bloggers and content aggregators) among their top ambassadors than other retailers do,” the report said. “They all have three or more designers or brands among their top 10 EMV-generating influencers, indicating that their brand partners post consistently and garner significant engagement for them.”

In the contemporary market, the report called out Revolve’s #revolvearoundtheworld campaign, which featured influencer generated content of visually captivating locales. “Eight out of Revolve’s top-10 influencers posted content tagged with #revolvearoundtheworld, and over half of the top 20 posts referenced the trips,” the report said.

Having a loyal influencer base will likely lead to quality engagement and higher post frequency. “Overall, the big online contemporary retailers, plus Nordstrom appear to be the winners within fashion retail. They top the list in terms of EMV and ambassador loyalty, indicating higher engagement and higher frequency of content than online luxury retailers or bricks-and-mortar retailers.”

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