By now we’re all pretty clear on the fact that consumers trust word-of-mouth from their friends and peers a lot more than they trust brand marketing. That’s why so many brands have thrown significant sums of money at retail influencer marketing programs. But does spending thousands of dollars for Instagram posts have any ROI? Maybe. New research from Experticity says retail influencer marketing has a positive impact on the bottom line, though perhaps not the way you might think.
New research from Experticity says retail influencer marketing has a positive impact on the bottom line, though perhaps not the way you might think.
Experticity’s research isn’t focused on third-party brand influencers. Rather, it’s focused on the impact of influencers on the sales floor itself. Turning individual retail employees into expert influencers by providing brand education led those retail employees to sell 69% more than their peers. Those employees who completed six or more Experticity brand sessions sold 123% more than their peers.
This research makes the case for better employee onboarding, regardless of the vendor, in addition to identifying a distinctly profitable influencer audience for brands.
The Challenge: Tracking Offline Influence
When I was in college, I worked for a large music and video chain store. My employee onboarding consisted almost entirely of being shown how to operate the register and where various items were on the floor. Record labels did send the occasional promo item our way, but everything went to the store manager’s attention. Which meant that even though I was probably responsible for the bulk of the store’s Depeche Mode import sales, It was highly unlikely I’d ever see any promotional materials for other artists I’d probably have liked and been happy to suggest to my customers.
The challenge in all of this is how to connect brands with retail influencers. As marketers, we’ve gotten good at spotting micro influencers from their activities online. But how can we spot them when the bulk of their influence is happening one-on-one in the store? It will be interesting to see how we rise to this challenge.
For more details from the research, check out the Experticity infographic: