In a bid to expand its influencer program, Express has launched Express Community Commerce, which allows style experts with the brand to earn commissions on special seasonal collections, the company announced on Monday.
Program participants, known as Express Style Editors, build looks from editor-exclusive items, create content for their digital storefronts and social media profiles, and earn sales commissions on products bought from their posts, according to the company's website.
The program is currently in its pilot phase, but the company plans to expand it nationally this fall. Express plans to release more details about the initiative during its Investor Day event in August, per the press release.
The Express Community Commerce program is part of the brand's efforts to reach new customers and attain $1 billion in online sales by 2024. Besides earning a sales commission, Style Editors can also get discounts on Express items, join its Facebook Group for Style Editors and participate in in-person gatherings, per the Express Style Editor FAQ.
Express has recently been attempting to turn itself around. In January 2020, the company announced plans to close 100 store locations by next year. By the end of 2020, it had also cut staff jobs at its corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. The company saw its Q4 net sales decline by 29%, and its Q4 comps dropped by 28%.
"We continue to advance the Expressway Forward strategy, and Community Commerce is the next significant step in our transformation," Tim Baxter, CEO of Express, said in a statement. "Building upon the strong performance of our influencer marketing programs, along with our brand purpose which is to create confidence and inspire self-expression, Community Commerce will be a powerful and innovative way for customers to engage with Express."
Marking a shift toward branded content and influencer marketing, Express stands alongside other retailers, including Macy's and West Elm, that are trying out ambassador programs to attract new customers. According to an Advertiser Perceptions survey, marketers plan to allocate 20% of their digital ad spending toward both branded content and influencer marketing, comprising a larger share of the ad budget than other categories.