West Elm has launched The Collective, its first ambassador program that allows influential figures to showcase products and their favorite designs, the company announced via email to Retail Dive. The program will feature people who are Tastemakers, meaning industry mavens, and Insiders, meaning social media influencers, who will curate their own West Elm shop page and share product recommendations.
Every month, the retailer will feature a Tastemaker alongside their product curations. The company will allow Insiders to preview and try out new items, inform them of new brand promotions and partnership launches and pay them a commission for the items they promote, the company said.
Among the people participating in the initiative as Tastemakers are fashion designer Misha Nonoo, fashion designer Jonathan Saunders and Brother Vellies founder Aurora James, per the announcement.
The goal behind the Collective is to tap into the retailer's relationships with content creators and industry experts, the company said. To kick off the initiative, West Elm is creating a "guerilla-style" ad during which members of its Collective highlight their West Elm product in a "pass the torch" style video.
"The visual aid will serve to underscore how even though we're all apart, West Elm is fostering unity among its most loyal brand partners and honoring their symbiotic relationship through a lighthearted take on this ambassador program rollout," the company said in its announcement.
West Elm joins other retailers like Macy's and Sally Beauty in establishing an influencer network to boost sales. Research indicates that social media is a critical touch point for both consumers and marketers. According to Linqia's 2020 report, more than half of marketers (57%) planned to increase their influencer budgets last year, and over three-quarters of marketers (78%) sought to work with micro-influencers that have between 5,000 and 100,000 followers. Additionally, a 2020 report from Poshmark found around 41% of of consumers discovered new brands via influencers.