She’s a style icon for an entire generation, predicted to bring in $£150 million annually to her country’s economy. Whatever she wears will inevitably sell out in stores as millions try to copy her look. Any new brand or designer she wears will likely instantly become famous.
Pretty impressive for someone barely a week old, don’t you think?
Of course, I’m talking about Princess Charlotte, Prince William and Dutchess Kate’s new bundle of joy. Economists and fashionistas alike have been hoping for the addition of a baby girl to the British royal family, because for better or for worse, interest in what a princess wears will essentially carry on her entire life, leaving plenty of opportunity for little girls all over the world (and their doting mothers) to eagerly copy her look. Princes? Not so much.
What makes the virality of Princess Charlotte’s fashion choices particularly interesting is the fact that no member of the royal family would be so gauche as to officially endorse or promote a particular fashion brand (obviously not the case for most Hollywood celebrities—we’re looking at you, Kim Kardashian). Consequently, news about the swaddling clothing of the world’s most famous newborn travels the old-fashioned way—word of mouth—aided by rampant use of social media.
Peer-to-peer recommendations may be comparatively low-tech, but they are the most highly regarded type of consumer influence; In fact, 90% of survey respondents noted it as the most trusted source for product information, and 74% of consumers rely on their social networks to make purchase decisions.
Yet, as discussed in our whitepaper, The Age of Visual Shopping Has Arrived: Strategies for Converting Shoppers with Rich Media, many retailers still think of social media solely as an outbound marketing channel, and don’t leverage the power of their loyal customers’ online reviews and social networks. This is a costly mistake, as not only are customer conversion rates higher among peer-recommended products, but general web traffic to a retailer site improves as well when social recommendations are leveraged: 91% of eCommerce retailers saw a lift in their SEO rank, thanks to social referrals.
It should also be noted (if not already obvious) that social recommendations and product reviews need to come from real customers in order to reap the financial and brand-building rewards. “Planted” positive reviews, if discovered, not only will damage your brand reputation, but can quite possibly also result in a lawsuit. The short-term gains you might get for those initial reviews just aren’t worth the backlash. If your company’s product is new or doesn’t have any current reviews, use your customer analytics to identify desirable customers and ask them to write one. Happy consumers won’t mind, and the payoff in authenticity is worth more than its weight in commensurate banner ads.
What else besides peer recommendations and reviews can help turn your online retail products into a Princess Charlotte-caliber viral trend? More importantly, want to learn HOW to implement these solutions? Find out in The Age of Visual Shopping Has Arrived: Strategies for Converting Shoppers with Rich Media.