Interview Spotlight: Making Social Shoppable
Dave Murray, Executive VP Europe at rewardStyle/Liketoknow.it
Speaker at TREND: Luxury Fashion Digital Innovators, 28.03.18
Dave Murray is the Executive Vice President Europe for rewardStyle and Liketoknow.it, the go-to destination for influencer marketing innovation. He has over 12 years’ experience in digital marketing focusing mainly on fashion and lifestyle. As a founding member of rewardStyle London, he has grown the non-US business from start-up to a fast growth company.
“I’m a firm believer in settings goals across all areas of my life. I try to approach each day with intent and remind myself daily of the long-term objectives to ensure I keep myself on track (which is a challenge at the best of times). I find myself allocating at least 10-20 minutes each day reflecting on my goals and ensuring plans are in place to maintain my focus on the right areas.”
Tell us a bit about how it all started with rewardStyle
I first heard about a new start-up called rewardStyle late 2011 via my largest client (ASOS) from my previous agency. On discussing the challenges for influencers (then called bloggers) I was informed of this innovative new start-up out of Dallas who really “hit the nail on the head” for content creators. I was advised to reach out to partner with them, however after more research I decided I’d reach out to them out of the blue with a proposal for me to head up their international expansion. I believed in where the industry was heading, and I wanted to be part of a company who not only shared that vision, but really cared for the industry and had innovation at its core.
My proposal was successful and I became the founding member of rewardStyle’s international expansion, based originally from my kitchen table, through to opening our in Old Street and more recently a 2nd European office in Berlin.
The story of the company itself started with our co-founder, Amber Venz Box, who following success as a personal shopper receiving fees from stores based on recommendations that converted to customer purchases turned in to a blog in 2010 where Amber shared free recommendations and insight, but soon realised: If all the insights were available without any recognition or commission from retailers, Amber was effectively cutting herself out of her own business. Amber needed a solution to monetise her blog and alongside co-founder Baxter Box, rewardStyle was launched as the solution in 2011.
Over time it has continued to evolve at a rapid rate. When we started it was all about blogs, using Facebook & Twitter to drive traffic. When I joined rewardStyle in 2012 to lead international expansion from London, Pinterest started to become important and we worked with them to monetise influencer content. Facebook acquired instagram in 2013 which changed the content landscape again, and we saw Snapchat IPO last year. In the beginning an influencer needed a website to be accepted to rewardStyle. That’s obviously changed now since we see more than half of our applications are mobile-only influencers, and primarily Instagram first influencers.
What role do you think influencer marketing plays in today’s luxury brands’ marketing strategies?
The method by which consumers are purchasing luxury items has changed significantly. Consumers now look at influencers to form their brand preferences, instead of the brand itself.
Influencers who’s audiences follow and engage with them from their mobile devices across multiple channels, have become brands and retailers’ best sales tools.
Such is the trend towards mobile commerce that luxury brands see the most success in delivering a cross channel transactional experience via social media. Influencers are already leading this charge via LIKLEtoKNOW.it and represent the key to mobile and social engagement for brands.
What is the main challenge that brands face when working with influencers?
The common theme presented to us from CMO’s over the last 6-9 months has been the pressing need for marketers to understand the ROI of the influencer channel and the content created, especially across closed mobile social networks. A traditional marketing team will be working with influencers across marketing disciplines, PR, Brand Marketing, Affiliate & Social, and brands are telling us they want to measure the sales impact on the business across all of these categories.
If you add the additional layer of complexity of volume of influencers in the world looking to earn commission through content, reported by Yahoo to be 25 million globally, it’s naturally a daunting task for any marketer to rationalise investment at scale. rewardStyle is in a unique position to help marketers navigate this move towards better understanding the impact of the channel on their respective business.
Can you explain a bit further the key innovation of Liketoknow.it’s technology?
The key innovation is the ability to provide consumers with a seamless cross-channel shopping experience, essentially amplifying social inspired consumers increasing desire for shopping on demand via their mobile across any social channel.
Essentially the LIKEtoKNOW.it app’s core innovation is being platform agnostic and the use of patented screenshot technology. With LIIKEtoKNOW.it influencers are able to offer consumers the ability to shop products from anywhere the content lives across all mobile social content, simply via a screenshot or liking an image.
From a brand perspective they’re able to both generate and track social sales from any channel; the influencers are able to monetise their social content and consumers can shop at the time of inspiration, it represents a win for all parties.
From a fashion innovation point of view, who do you think are the players revolutionising this industry today?
With technology developing at an exponential rate it’s certainly difficult for brands to keep up, but certainly the innovations I foresee having the largest business impact are those around AI and machine learning. The big players such as Amazon for example have so much consumer data, that when layering sophisticated AI on top they’ll not only be able to deliver a far greater customer experience for consumers, benefiting increased conversion and retail sales, but also significantly improve the accuracy of their forecasting across stock levels, future trends and the longevity of existing trends.
I’m also following VR and AR with interest, with the move to mobile and social commerce, the way we shop in store is seeing a major shift. Looking at Google Cardboard for example, the cost of devices has dropped so much that we’re likely to start seeing wider adoption of the technology, it will be interesting to see how brands embrace AR and creative ways they develop the in-store experience.
Can you give us a little teaser of your workshop topic at TREND?
In summary I’ll be discussing the evolution of consumer behaviour, the shift to mobile social sales & how powering the influencer channel at scale will deliver a bright future for brands.
For additional context, the average consumer now spends 5 hours per day on mobile and 70% of the fashion purchases they make have at least one mobile touch point, making cross-channel social shopping and mobile traffic a key driver for all brands looking to capture consumers’ attention and sales.
Don’t miss Dave Murray speaking at #TRENDbyVERB hosting one of our Ask The Experts workshops. The event is taking place on 28th of March at the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design. Reserve your place here.