Social Shopping: The Influencer Tech Driving Billions with Amber Venz Box and TechCrunch’s Fitz Tepper

I was super pysched to attend a session on Social Shopping.  Not only am I seeing more and more clients in my marketing work looking to drive visitors on social network to complete e-commerce transactions, but I’m also a huge social shopper.  I follow lots of influencers on social media (especially Instagram) and I’ve certainly purchased pieces of clothing because I’ve seen the piece in a photo online.

It’s funny to me that in my lifetime we’ve seen online shopping transform physical spaces (with the death of malls) but the rise of social media is certainly influencing the digital landscape when it comes to e-commerce.

Amber Venz Box is the co-creator of a company called  You’ve probably seen little liketoknowit tags on instagram, especially if you follow any fashion, beauty or lifestyle influencers/bloggers.  Basically, was created because instagram doesn’t allow you to post links in your instagram posts, or rather, they do but they aren’t actually clickable.  So if you sign up for this service and like an influencer’s post, you’ll trigger an email notification that tells you where to buy the products featured in the image.  So it really was created to answer a need that wasn’t being fulfilled by the original platform.

There were a few themes from this session that stuck out to me:

The power of mobile:

This was a common theme throughout many of my sessions here at SXSW.  If you are thinking of the way consumers interact with your content – you should first and foremost always be thinking of users on mobile!  We’ve gotten to a point where mobile has become the priority — and everything should be done with a mobile first perspective.  Thinking ahead this means that creative should be optimized for mobile, but then be viewed through the lens of a desktop user as well.  It should look good regardless of platform or operating system, but mobile should be the priority.

The power of images:

As Amber put it, “Conversation is becoming more image based.”  Additionally, google search isn’t cutting it anymore.  Users don’t want to find products that are like the one they are looking for, they are looking for very specific items they want to purchase.  I’ve been working more and more with Pinterest when it comes to our clients.  They see this as a great platform to invest in with great ROI.  Beyond Instagram, Pinterest is a great example of the power of visuals when it comes to connecting to consumers.  When we think about “thumb stopping power” what we are really referring to are images – are they powerful enough to make a consumer sit up and pay attention?  If you have stellar copy and a great product, but a shitty image you aren’t going to find success.

The power of Influencers:

Today, people are getting more and more content from peers than traditional media content.  Even with the explosion of ads on social media, you log on and follow people that you relate too (even if they are influencers).  Traditional media content is part of that consumption, but not he majority of it.  As such, Amber sees the power of influencers only growing.  Plus, she claims its the cheapest form of marketing around.  She also says that influencer marketing is becoming more and more democratized.  It used to be celebrities, but now it’s more relatable people who gain online followings.  She also dispelled the myth of follower count.  She said that one of the most successful influencers on LIKEtoKNOWit only has about 30k instagram followers, but is so powerful in her influence in terms of transactions.


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