WORD OF MOUTH is a powerful marketing tool that, thanks to the power of social media, has become exponentially stronger. For starters, the definition of closeness, according to a recent Forbes article,has dramatically expanded as social media allows consumers to instantly find and follow others who share similar tastes and preferences—even if they’d never met or ever will. Word of a hot new shoe or brand, for example, can spread like wildfire among “friends” around the world in minutes as opposed to months.
However, culling, editing and using social media–driven word of mouth (i.e. user-generated content) to one’s advantage can be a daunting task for even the most savvy of retailers. For example, Instagram has more than 400 million daily users worldwide uploading a mind-boggling 58 million photos a day. How does one make sense of it all and, more specifically, garner photo rights and help turn what’s trending into potential sales?
Kenneth Cole's #KCStyle gallery featured on its homepage.
Enter Pixlee and its Shoppable Galleries. After collecting content through what Pixlee CEO Kyle Wong calls “the general conversation” on social media, the company creates galleries that retailers can use on their websites, mobile apps or for in-store demos. “We manage the collection and permission rights and distribute the content across digital properties, and we also provide insight on who your most passionate customers are,” Wong explains, noting that the content is easily uploaded and automatically links to individual shopping pages. “It allows marketing managers to update regularly and reflect timely events without a web developer,” Wong says. “For example, if it’s cold and rainy in San Francisco, a retailer could emphasize rain boots on their site.”
Heavy hitters like Ugg and Converse are current Pixlee clients, and Wong says wholesalers and retailers of any size can take advantage of its services. Pixlee offers a subscription-based, pay-as-you-go pricing structure that increases with the scope. Posting galleries only on a website is less expensive than also on an email app, mobile platform, etc. Wong says the cost of content packages begins “in the five figures” which, he adds, is more than worth it. “Pixlee customers are seeing triple-digit ROI from their investments,” he maintains.
One of the reasons for Pixlee’s strong returns, Wong says, is due to the fact that consumers are doing more research than ever when making shoe purchases. Specifically, the ability to research on social media enables shoppers to see how others are wearing a particular style. It’s a great insight and validation tool. And Pixlee’s data reveals that 40 percent of e-commerce sales interact with usergenerated content. Of that group, 50 percent are more likely to buy. “There’s a higher average selling price with regards to shoes, so there’s a longer consideration phase by shoppers,” Wong explains. “Advocacy and word-of-mouth marketing are fundamental, and our customer-generated stories are one of the best ways to articulate the value of a brand.”
This article was originally posted in the January 2016 edition of Footwear Plus Magazine.