The growing power of social media influencers has spurred the creation of new influencer-marketing platforms that are helping more Australian retailers get a piece of the action.
Referboard founder Aaron Woolf recently launched his “Pinterest meets Shopify” platform, giving retailers yet another channel to drive product and brand awareness.
It also lets avid shoppers turn their habit into passive income.
“It allows people to share products from their favourite online retailers with their friends or followers, and make a commission when a sale is completed,” Woolf told SmartCompany.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
Referboard allows individual users to create online stores by curating and sharing products from other brands and retailers.
When followers see an item they like, they can purchase it directly through the influencer’s board and 10% of the sale price is directed back to Referboard.
Of this amount, half goes to the influencer.
While the platform is open to anyone, Woolf says Referboard enables digital influencers with large followings to monetise and validate their influence on followers.
“With the influencers that we’ve got on board, there are anywhere from 5000 up to 300- or 400,000 followers,” he says.
In addition to this, Woolf says new influencers can start using the platform to grow engaged and validated followers.
“If you can tell people about a product and that influences their purchase, you’ve got a legitimate influence you can leverage in future,” he says.
In return for 10% commission, Woolf says retailers get important information like who is referring them and what products are trending.
Since it launched, Woolf says Referboard seen hundreds of influencers sign up and that they could be turning over a seven-figure sum in 12 months.
More than 350 brands have already joined the platform including The Iconic, Seafolly, ASOS, Samantha Wills, Reebok and Tony Bianco.
New ways for retailers to sell with influencers
Referboard is among a pool of Australian startups moving quickly to gain early entry into the fast growing market of digital influencers.
In the past few months, influencer-marketing app Tribe scored $5 million in funding on a pre-money valuation of $15 million.
Tech fashion startup Foenix Closet also secured more than $500,000 to develop its own influencer-marketing app.
While the power of these platforms will no doubt increase over time as more and more influencers with larger followings jump on, they are giving small businesses new opportunities and streams to convert advertising revenue into sales.
Woolf says generally there is a lot of risk involved for small retailers in digital marketing campaigns because ad spend may not directly convert to desired results.
“Retailers’ customers and influencers can become their proactive sales force, earning commission for generating sales,” he says.
“Customers generated as a result of it are either people who are like or similar to the influencer or they are friends of them.”
Woolf says such “genuine referrals” can create greater long-term value for retailers.
“Those people are worth between four to five times more over their lifetime as a referral,” he says.