In September of 2016, TikTok launched their platform in the United States, taking a big step forward in their plans to “inspire creativity and bring joy.” Also, to make a lot of money. In 2021 TikTok did $4B in revenue, mostly from ads, and they are projecting to hit $12B in 2022. The social influence on buying is absolutely massive.
If you were to travel to Asia and describe your buying process to some of the locals there, you might be like me and describe going to Amazon.com to search for a new wallet. I start by picking through about 30 items that look roughly the same to find one that appears to at least not be the cheapest knockoff version before checking out and waiting for the next day delivery. Or perhaps you’d instead talk about how you went to eBay to find that vintage watch you wanted for years. Maybe direct sales on Apple.com or Best Buy.
The people you’re talking to would look at you like you’re crazy. What kind of antiquated buying process is that? How can you keep up with the latest trends, recommendations, and ideas? Instead, they would say, you should be buying directly from your social media apps, as promoted by various influencers.
So how can you take advantage of this trend? If you are a retailer, particularly if you’re a high-end retailer, you should consider leveraging live streaming events right on your website, enabling your customers to have an “experience” with an influencer. For beauty, that could be 30 minute influencer events where they showcase how to use your makeup; one of our customers recently shared that a 30 minute influencer-led event on a well known makeup website drove an extra $30,000 in net new revenue. Customer engagement can be enhanced by creating interactive opportunities through questions, polls, chats, buy now links, positive emoticons, and sales of VIP or small group experiences to select individuals with large wallets.
In 2019, brands spent $8 billion on influencers via sponsored social media posts, long-term partnerships and collaborations, and affiliate program commissions. Influencers are like personal shoppers, directing their followers to stores and websites. Why not bring those influencers to your brand directly, add the video right on your website, and have them provide that curated experience for your customers right at your front door.