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To Produce New Influencer-Led Style Drops, Amazon Goes On Demand

Amazon’s ongoing experiment with fashion has a new twist in The Drop, which taps global influencers to co-design street-inspired collections sold over a 30-hour window and manufactured in line with demand.

Perhaps Amazon was inspired by the success of Nordstrom’s sellout capsule with Something Navy that crashed the website due to overwhelming demand on launch day. Plus, 72 percent of Gen Z women cite Amazon as the place where they discover new brands and 63 percent claim to shop for clothing on the popular e-commerce site. Even more compelling: 61 percent of Gen Z and millennial consumers admit that an influencer has swayed a purchasing decision, equal to the number who say they’ve discovered a new, independent brand thanks to influencer content.

Amazon’s latest initiative seems to hit on key drivers in the fashion landscape today: the power of high-wattage influencers and their devoted followings, the popularity of product drops that drum up buzz and desire while creating FOMO, and demand-based manufacturing that helps companies limit the costs and waste associated with carrying unnecessary inventory.

Customers sign up for text message alerts to be notified when a new collection goes live in The Drop. To start, Amazon is working with Southern California influencers Sierra Furtado and Paola Alberdi along with London’s Patricia Bright and Emi Suzuki of Tokyo, who collectively boast more than 4.7 million followers on Instagram alone. It has left open the possibility that other influencers could participate in The Drop’s launch collections, too.

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Based on what Amazon is putting out there on amazon.com/thedrop, the company seems to be open to where this initiative goes. Influencers interested in developing a collection can reach out to Amazon through a sign-up page and consumers are welcome to nominate social media celebs they want to see lead a capsule on The Drop.

Amazon doesn’t seem to have a fixed approach to how it will execute and manufacture each new launch on The Drop as it also wants to hear from materials suppliers and manufacturers that could bring these here today, gone tomorrow collections to life. The company declined to comment on whether the first collections will be manufactured in house and what size range the capsules will encompass.

The Drop could be a critical learning opportunity for Amazon, offering valuable data and insights into customer style interests, clothing sizes and demographics, and which collaborators truly have the greatest actual influence in compelling shoppers to fork over their money.

The influencer marketing industry has grown to a value of $6.5 billion this year, up from $1.7 billion in 2016, according to the Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report: 2019. What’s more, 86 percent of businesses surveyed for the report said they plan to earmark part of their budgets specifically for influencer-led content, eager to tap into awaiting audiences on platforms like Instagram, which lapped the 1-billion-member milestone nearly a year ago.

Even as interest in influencer partnerships continues, the industry is developing tools to better measure their social marketing investments. Last week Traackr, which offers a platform to evaluate influencer marketing performance, debuted its Influencer Market Benchmark that helps marketing executes better understand how their influencer-based content affects overall brand performance on social media.

Traackr CEO Pierre-Loic described the current “inflection point” in influencer marketing as the impetus for why brands require more advanced tools to assess their personality-led initiatives. “Marketers have struggled to meet these expectations because they lacked the right technology,” he added. “Traackr’s IMB and Brand Vitality Score answer this challenge by providing a meaningful and transparent framework to measure the impact of influencers on brands and elevates influencer marketing to the level of other core marketing practices.”

In LaunchMetrics’s 2018 report The State of Influencer Marking in Fashion, Luxury & Cosmetics, ITB Worldwide managing director Emma Gregson said lifestyle companies should consider these kinds of marketing campaigns because they hold “the power to shift brand perception, target new consumer groups, change their fashion conversation, and provide engaging content for their consumers. It’s absolutely a channel that should be explored and invested in.”