In the digital space, influencers are taking the world by storm. By posting one photo, they can organically promote a product to hundreds, if not millions, of followers. rewardStyle, a Dallas-based startup, provides a monetization platform for influencers and bloggers to get paid for all the purchases they inspire consumers to make. rewardStyle has quickly and quietly built a global technology company that has harnessed the fragmentation of influence cross-channel and around the world. In our interview, rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it President and Co-Founder, Amber Venz Box discusses the innovations that marketers rely on to reach today’s consumer.
rewardStyle was founded in June 2011. How did you manage to convince online shops to become part of the rewardStyle network – and how does it work today?
Back in 2011, myself and my then boyfriend, now husband, Baxter, identified a problem in the blogging market and solved it. I was working as a personal shopper making commissions on sales in a department store, but was also running my own blog on the side. Whilst I was offering an online service through my blog, much like my role as an in-store personal shopper, I wasn’t being credited for the sales leads and online traffic I was generating for retailers from my site. At the time, it was complex and difficult for influencers to integrate brands in an aesthetically engaging and monetarily efficient way – whether on a blog or Instagram, which was deemed a closed platform. And so that formed the business idea and thus rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it were born.
The company now has nearly 200 employees between its six offices: Dallas, London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and São Paulo.
With our integrated solution, rewardStyle facilitates the process of influencer and brand relations and adds a tracking element. It is a win-win-win system, everyone profits when the consumer purchases. At the time of launch, there wasn’t an attractive solution for retailers to connect with relevant, regional influencers so launching the platform offered the niche opportunity to link a global network of premium influencers creating compelling marketable content to the brands they were already posting about.
rewardStyle helps rationalize investment because we understand the value of influencers, as we are performance-based – helping connect brands to influencers. We’re now a global, exclusive network of quality influencers specializing in fashion, beauty and lifestyle verticals. Today, we have established ourselves as trailblazers and are known worldwide in the industry as the leader and the number one go-to platform. This reputation means we are now approached by brands daily who understand the true value in being part of the rewardStyle network.
rewardStyle has developed quickly. How many employees do you have right now?
We have more than 200 team members working from six rewardStyle global offices – in Dallas, London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, and São Paulo. Offering services in more than 20 languages.
Did rewardStyle have any competitors in Germany or even in Europe?
There is no other platform or service that offers rewardStyle’s turn-key eco-system of simple to use products, strategic consulting, and performance data.
It seems that affiliate links in the United States are quite normal. Or let me say, more accepted by the American users. What’s the biggest challenge for the German market? Is it more difficult to convince German followers?
Germany is the second strongest market in Europe and we have a strong consumer and influencer base there with a dominant, active user database for our new LIKEtoKNOW.it app. The online apparel and footwear e-commerce market is also foreseen to grow by 5% each year until 2021, based on the Euro Monitor report, so we will only continue to grow alongside this.
What’s next for rewardStyle? Anything you can share?
We are very focused on the app and have lots of engaging features coming up based on the consumer feedback we’ve received.
- In the last few weeks we have rolled out intuitive app features such as Influencer Search – it’s a new tab located at the bottom right of the app which allows consumers to directly search for their favorite influencers and shop products directly from influencer’s LIKEtoKNOW.it profiles. And we save your favorite influencers for you.
- Then there’s Hashtag Discovery. This is where app users can now discover pictures by #LTK Category!
- Media display – we’ve also just launched display advertising in Europe using an exclusive network. It’s untapped inventory, so a strong USP for rewardStyle. It involves us working with an exclusive selection of hand-picked influencers that have a proven track record to be high converting, so it is very valuable indeed to our retailers and influencers alike.
*numbers current at the time of writing
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