Melissa Shoes taps micro-influencer tech in stores
- Brazilian retailer Melissa Shoes, known for its plastic "jelly" footwear, installed interactive kiosks in two stores to encourage micro-influencer engagement, according to information made available to Mobile Marketer. The interactive touchscreens serve as both marketing tools by presenting the brand's look book and product info and a social engagement opportunity for customers.
- The kiosks — now in two Melissa stores in Orlando and Miami — let customers take photos with products, print the images and post them on social media with a branded Melissa hashtag. The terminals also serve customers discounts in real time.
- M-ND, a "social-experiential tech company" that developed the kiosks, is an Instagram and Twitter development partner with granted access to track customer and store data in the retailer's system.
Many brands have taken to adding micro-influencers — those with less than 100,000 followers on social channels — to their marketing mix, but what's interesting about the recent Melissa effort is how it aims to bridge offline and online experiences through in-store tech and add loyalty incentives to drive consumers to engage with the brand.
Jim Hopper, CEO of M-ND told Mobile Marketer that he "saw that there was a disconnect between brands and the user," and he wanted to be able to "measure and activate real-world situations" surrounding customer engagement. Tracking users' brand experiences beyond likes and comments is crucial for companies that use micro-influencers, he added.
Companies like E.L.F. Cosmetics have seen success leveraging their own customers' loyalty by supporting their efforts to become micro-influencers. E.L.F.'s micro-influencer strategy, launched last year, produced a 25% increase in the brand's Instagram followers. Beverage brand La Croix has seen profits increase since adopting micro-influencers.
Despite these efforts, the verdict is still out on how effective micro-influencers are. There's also no measurement standardization in the space, which has led to a growing number of influencers gaming the system to boost visibility and artificially inflate their numbers.
Melissa's target customers generally fall in the Generation Z category. Over 80% of this group's shopping habits are influenced by social media, so establishing a presence on visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat is vital to the brand's overall strategy.
For now, brands with a strong Gen Z following are likely to continue exploring influencer marketing. Compared to previous generations, Gen Zers have frugal tendencies and more realistic product expectations, thus making them more wary of traditional forms of advertising.
Gen Z shoppers value details in product images, reviews and seamless customer services in person and online. Supplying these basics can give the skeptical consumer group a reliable sense of both the product and the brand. Micro-influencers are often already loyal customers within a company's fan base, thus likely boosting trust among their network of followers for promoted brands like Melissa.