Share the Week - October 13, 2017

Jonathan Gardner

A weekly wrap-up of valuable insights from the world of visual content, social media, and influencer marketing.

The Beauty of Fast Fashion

Is there anything the unstoppable fast-fashion juggernaut can’t do? The industry category -- led by H&M and Forever 21 -- has seemingly disrupted retail forever with quick-to-market hot sellers and smart on- and offline merchandising strategies. Now they’re likely to shake up the beauty space with new, on-trend cosmetic lines.

According to Bethany Biron in Glossy, fast-fashion brands are taking their fight for market share to the beauty department, cranking up their presence in the growing sector, which is expected to be worth $90 billion by 2020. The mass category, in particular, is set to grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent between now and then, and H&M, Topshop, Forever 21 and Boohoo are likely to play an important part.

“We saw a lot of demand via social media and customer emails for shoppers to be able to get everything they need for a complete look, in one place,” said an H&M spokesperson, about what motivated their line. “That total look includes beauty products.”

“The market is getting crowded in fast fashion,” added Paula Rosenblum, a retail analyst at RSR Research. “Beauty products have healthy margins and don’t take up a lot of space, so they’re a good add-on.”

We’re interested to see how this develops -- and how quickly -- into big money-spinners for the retail sector. It would make sense that there will be significant marketing investment attached to these new launches as these brands go head-to-head for market share. As ShareIQ found in a recent analysis, fast-fashion brands are already in a heated competition for engagement on social media with their brand content. Promoting their existing fashion lines, H&M, Forever 21 and Topshop are the top players there. We’d expect that we’re about to see new competitive efforts for share of voice and consumer attention around their new beauty lines.

There’s a Spark but No Fire

A few months ago, Amazon launched a product that had many shaking their heads: Amazon Spark, a new social network. A clear homage to Instagram, the app feature is a social feed of images that often feature Amazon-sold products, posted by “influencers.”

As we said at the time, Amazon’s move to create its own “Instagram-like” app makes clear how one of the world’s largest, most innovative retailers sees the future of commerce. Regardless of whether you predict success for the venture, the initiative seems predicated on some basic assumptions:

  1. People use images to discover products and engage with brands.
  2. People want to share images of themselves and the products they like.
  3. Brands want new ways to engage consumers and help them discover products that they may purchase.
  4. There are enough people and brands in #1-#3 to justify the investment and sustain a product like Amazon Spark. I’d add that this is also a bet that the future of commerce may be built in part on our personal social networks and how we share content.

Regardless, it’s clear to us and our brand clients, that visual content -- and engagement with it -- are and will be a core way that marketers connect with consumers. Now, according to Ilyse Liffreing in Digiday, there are whispers that the Spark may be fizzling: In a recent poll, Collective Bias found that 74 percent of nearly 400 influencers were unsure about whether they would have a presence on the platform come the holidays. Digiday spoke with an anonymous influencer who said they have about 200,000 followers across my social platforms and an average of 3 million pageviews a month for their blog. So far, they really haven’t seen many people that are using Amazon Spark for that. They’ve seen some, but it’s nowhere near what you see on other social media platforms.

Liffreing asked what the platform can do to make it open to influencers.”I absolutely love Amazon, but in order for them to make Spark more marketable and drive people to it, you need affiliate-link reimbursement and API integration with your website. Right now, you can see the latest things I’ve pinned from Pinterest, or my latest Instagram post or even latest Facebook post. You cannot integrate Spark with a website. I’m still limited to writing posts on other social platforms about what I see on Amazon.”

The Best of the Rest

Digiday - Retailers continue to experiment with visual search

PR Daily - 10 ways PR and marketing pros can use Pinterest

ABC News - Online shopping hasn't killed brick-and-mortar retailers

Jing Daily - Luxury Brands Acquire Start-ups to Ensure Future-Proof Business - Snapchat Stories Usage Among Top Influencers Has Dipped 33% In 6 Months

A weekly wrap-up of valuable insights from the world of visual content, social media, and influencer marketing
Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan is vice president of marketing for ShareIQ, based in New York City.