Explained: Shopify and influencer marketing
What is Shopify?
Yes, Shopify is an e-commerce platform, but no, it’s not an Amazon-style online marketplace. Where marketplaces operate as online distributors (a bit like a supermarket which agrees to stock and sell your products), Shopify is a full-service platform designed to power every aspect of your e-commerce business. As a retail business owner, you build your online store, accept orders and payment, manage shipping, stock levels, and analytics, and conduct marketing and communications all through the Shopify platform. In addition, although it was conceived to support e-commerce businesses — and especially startups — Shopify has recently introduced Shopify POS which enables businesses to manage offline retail points of sale in conjunction with their online stores.
As of June 2022, Shopify hosts more than 5m live web stores on its SaaS platform. To access the platform, business owners pay a monthly subscription rate, which is more or less expensive according to the number of user accounts, the level of discounts on shipping or payment options, and so on. While the vast majority of Shopify stores belong to SMEs, there are more than 5,000 global companies — including names such as Dior, Unilever, Gymshark, and Nestlé — running stores through bespoke Shopify Plus subscriptions which can handle thousands of orders per minute, internationally, in different languages and with multiple payment options.
Key to Shopify’s appeal is its user-friendly interface, which is designed to enable users to set up and manage their stores independently. It offers a range of free web page layout themes, plus more advanced paid options. The Shopify App Store contains some 7,000 apps which users can use to customize and optimize their storefront for their specific needs. Some of the most popular Shopify apps are those which help store owners manage customer email marketing, SEO content, or design and manage customer loyalty programs.
Where does influencer marketing fit in?
The importance of influencer marketing for driving brand awareness is undisputed, but with social selling continuing to gather pace, influencers are increasingly playing an important role in conversion.
A key feature of Shopify is the ability to create thousands of individual promo codes which can be used in marketing activities to shift unwanted stock or reward loyal customers. Promo codes can be shared across different platforms and types of content, whether digital or analogue.
On social media — now regarded by many as a sales channel in its own right — promo codes can be shared by brand or influencer accounts through swipe-up CTAs on videos and stories, for example, making them a strong driver of engagement.
For influencers, the benefits of using branded promo codes are two-fold: not only does offering promo codes (usually a price discount) reward and incentivise loyal fans, it also generates increased engagement rates, boosting their credibility when working with brands in the future.
For brands, integrating promo codes with influencer campaigns offers a tangible means of tracking influencer ROI and sales conversions. Providing influencers with an individual code enables brands to track sales generated by each influencer, providing a solid metric on which to analyze the effectiveness of a campaign as a whole, and influencers individually.
Promo code data provides marketers with a way of proving the sales performance of influencer campaigns to superiors, which is needed to justify requests for increased spending on influencer marketing campaigns.
There are some risks, however. Overuse of promo codes can lead to perceptions of devalued brands and products, or to influencers being seen as too ‘salesy’ and inauthentic. As with any aspect of influencer marketing, brands need to make sure they have clear goals in mind before embarking on influencer/promo code campaigns.
How to connect Shopify to Kolsquare and begin tracking conversions
Kolsquare allows you to connect your Shopify store by creating a personalized application that provides limited access to the data pertaining to orders made in your store.
From the campaign report tab in Kolsquare, you’ll be able to track the revenue and number of orders generated by your KOLs. To do so, Kolsquare will collect data on revenue, orders, average basket (sales), and ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).
Kolsquare also enables you to automatically generate and assign Shopify promo codes in one click and gives you full control over access to the app from your store admin.
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