Rebecca Minkoff is giving its website a new look, inspired by its shoppers’ Instagram habits.
“For millennials and Gen Z, the Instagram search is the new Google search,” said Uri Minkoff, co-founder and CEO of the brand. “They’re going to Rebecca Minkoff on Instagram and they’re looking at the narrative of the grid, then they’re bouncing to the e-commerce platform on mobile.”
Currently, more than 50 percent of Rebecca Minkoff’s site traffic is through mobile, Minkoff said.
In the name of creating a seamless digital experience, while also building on a tool with a proven track record, Rebecca Minkoff recently linked with earned content platform Olapic, which is now facilitating two objectives: integrating the brand’s community content into its website and making its Instagram feed shoppable through a link in bio. It timed the vendor switch with the launch of a new, mobile-first e-commerce platform, Shopify Plus.
“We have a 30 percent higher order value when a consumer touches an Instagram-sourced picture versus if they don’t,” Minkoff said, “so we have a very liberal use of such content on our site.”
The most obvious iteration is the scrolling row of Instagram images anchoring the RebeccaMinkoff.com homepage, which is tagged with the prompt, “Tag us in your photos for your chance to be featured.” Styles in each look are available for immediate purchase: Shoppers are taken to a product page after clicking an image then clicking a thumbnail of an individual style.
“We’re trying to help brands to stay ahead of the trend,” said Olapic co-founder and CEO Pau Sabria. “Shoppers are going to get used to shopping products on Instagram, and this is how they’re shopping them: The products in an image pop up; you can see them very quickly and individually before being directed to a product page.”
A screen grab of the shoppable Instagram content on the homepage of RebeccaMinkoff.com
Rebecca Minkoff has been relying on social content “for many years,” according to Minkoff. And, true to form, it has found a way to “hack” the system — which is popularly regarded as a crapshoot (“You ask customers to use a hashtag, and then you look at the sky for the pictures to come,” said Sabria) — to make it work to the the brand’s advantage.
“There are close to 250,000 people who have tagged Rebecca Minkoff,” Minkoff said. “Rather than look at it as a one-way monolog, we realized we could create a beautiful dialog, where they gain more followers, we gain more followers, we gain more dollars and they gain more fame.”
The secret is featuring images on its 800,000-follower Instagram feed that reflect the brand’s prevailing “mood or feeling.” As the mood evolves with new seasons and priorities, Rebecca Minkoff “trains” those followers hoping to be featured.
“If we want to go in a new direction, we’ll take the lead and go light on UGC for a couple of months to set the trend,” said Minkoff. “Our feed becomes the CliffsNotes, the pre-production clips of what’s important — like the new style of photography and the new way we’re styling looks.”
Lately, that includes featuring more age-diverse, ethnically-diverse and body-diverse women, driven by a brand initiative to become more inclusive.
A pop-up shopping window on the homepage of RebeccaMinkoff.com
Beyond earned content, Rebecca Minkoff regularly hires influencers to produce content — in fact, it was among the first to do so, said Minkoff.
“We lead with a ‘hacker-brand’ mindset. At the beginning, we were like, ‘We’ll put you on the runway,’ or ‘We’ll put you in an ad.’ We were always trying to push the edge of the [influencer] relationship,” Minkoff said. “Today, we’re definitely still working a lot with microinfluencers, but the business model for the big influencers has changed. I don’t think we’re ever going to be the brand that says, ‘Let me pay full retail for you to go to an event with Rebecca.’”
And it doesn’t need to be, said Sabria.
“Rebecca Minkoff is a brand with strong brand equity. It has a strong community, it’s very well-positioned,” he said. “Others struggle more to generate organic, earned content, and they have to hire influencers to kick-start the wheel.”
Regardless of whether the content is earned or paid, it’s proven effective for brands across the board: According to a 2017 survey by consumer-generated content company TurnTo Networks, 24 percent of female shoppers consider social content to be the most influential marketing tool, and 63 percent of shoppers believe social content creates a more authentic shopping experience.
Among fashion brands, Rebecca Minkoff has a long track record of being first to market with new concepts. It launched see-now-buy-now during in February 2016, making its spring runway collection immediately available for purchase. In addition, its first of three “connected stores” opened back in November 2014, complete with interactive screens on the main floor and in fitting rooms, allowing associates to track what’s tried on and not purchased, and shoppers to request anything from a new size to a glass of champagne. Next, the brand intends to “invest heavily” in video, and Minkoff has his feelers out for opportunities involving augmented reality.
“Neither of us grew up through the traditional fashion channels,” Minkoff said, of himself and his sister, the brand’s co-founder and creative director, Rebecca Minkoff. “From the beginning, we basically said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna try stuff. Some of it is going to win 100 percent, and some is going to fail — but we’re gonna keep optimizing for our customer, and our customer appreciates that.”