You would be forgiven for thinking of online shopping as a solo pursuit; however with 77 per cent of UK customers seeking online advice before purchasing it would appear that spending has never been so sociable.
Far from being made redundant, the shopping companion has simply been upgraded. The reluctant boyfriend muttering “I like the colour” has been replaced by the qualified fashion blogger able to advise on the perfect shade of topaz. The fashionable friend who occasionally shared her secrets has been traded in for a legion of impossibly stylish YouTube ‘haulers’ talking through their every purchase.
Obscure enough to gain trust, yet glamorous enough to garner admiration and respect, fashion bloggers and vloggers are able to perfectly occupy the void left by the physical friend. Online celebrity Tanya Burr has a staggering 10m video views as well as 500,000 followers. The success of her makeup range with Eye Candy, which had 5.5k customers sign up before it’s launch, demonstrates the trust consumers are willing to invest in an online personality.
The ‘Haul’ videos in particularly are notably intimate and modest: most are filmed in a bedroom and feature items from a number of low budget high-street stores. However, their influence is not to be underestimated - just one haul video from award winning fashion vlogger Brit Zoella is enough to gain nearly two million views. In an industry reportedly worth £21bn, retailers are undoubtedly keen to gain as much influence as possible and top Vloggers can expect to earn up to £4000 just for mentioning a product in their video.
Astute sellers have attempted to exploit the popularity of the online fashionista by providing their own personal stylists. The new personal stylist function on the Asos website allows customers to choose the style personality they identify best with, gain access to their Twitter, Pinterest and Blog and even ask them questions on the chat function. Winners of the 2013 Campaign of the year award there is no denying that Asos are one of the most skilled retailers when it comes to using social media. Based solely online they have over seven million customers, and last year just one of their social media campaigns was enough to give them 250 000 new Facebook fans.
Craig Landale, editor of menswearstyle.co.uk and an experienced online marketing consultant, highlighted the huge potential the vlogging industry presents to retailers “The vlogging industry has taken off in recent years and this (fashion vlogging) goes hand in hand with that. Young people aspire to be like someone else, teenagers need that role model and online stores could certainly do more to capture this market. Online shopping is convenient for a busy lifestyle; but vlogging gives you the best of both worlds in that it allows shoppers to have that extra information if they want it.”
Brit Zoella’s latest video