Can West Elm tap influencer buzz?
West Elm has launched its first social ambassador program in another test of the potential of influencer marketing in the home category.
The program, West Elm Collective, will feature 20 regular content creators, called Insiders, as well as a series of monthly Tastemakers.
The Insiders include some interior designers but are mostly social media personalities. Each will have their own curated West Elm shop page to share their favorite West Elm designs and recommendations. Insiders gain early access to new collections that can be tapped for content. Instagram Lives, live-selling events, online discussions and how-to series are planned.
“They’ve selected their favorite West Elm pieces, many of which they actually have in their own homes, so their audiences, as well as our customers, will be able to see on their channels how these products actually live in a space,” Andrés Ortega, West Elm’s director of partnerships and influencer marketing, told Business of Home.
Members earn an affiliate commission on purchase click-throughs from their pages. Regular customers are also being encouraged to join West Elm Collective.
Other examples of ambassador programs tied to influencer storefront pages include Macy’s Style Crew, Best Buy College Crew and Sephora Squad. Most major chains offer broader, commission-driven affiliate programs. Walmart, Nordstrom, JCPenney and Zappos have all recently partnered with influencers on shopping livestreams.
According to Poshmark’s 2020 Social Commerce Report, 41 percent of consumers and 57 percent of Gen Z discover new brands via influencers on social platforms.
The influencers trend is being driven by younger consumers, many of whom aren’t homeowners, presenting some challenges for these efforts, according to the Business of Home article that explores the high-end home décor category. Home item samples also tend to be bulky and expensive versus beauty and fashion items.
However, a number of home furnishing brands and chains such as CB2 and IKEA are tapping influencers dedicated to home, food, parenthood, entertaining and other lifestyle topics to not only drive sales but create online content. IKEA’s campaigns have been particularly innovative, including one tasking influencers to transform an empty room into a stylish living space within 180 minutes.
- West Elm Introduces ‘West Elm Collective’ Creator Program – West Elm
- West Elm Collective – West Elm
- Join The Creator Community – West Elm
- West Elm is going all in on influencers – Business Of Home
- Best Buy College Crew
- Macy’s Style Crew
- Sephora Squad
- Macy’s opens online ambassador program to anyone – RetailWire
- Poshmark’s 2020 Social Commerce Report – Poshmark
- Into the Mainstream: Influencer Marketing in Society – Takumi
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the potential for West Elm Collective and for influencer-driven ambassador programs in general? Does West Elm and the home category face more challenges working with influencers versus fashion and beauty sellers?