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How Zappos, Dune London and Sperry Use Imagery to Inspire … and Sell

There’s just something about shoes. They get noticed. They make or break an outfit. They’re the article of clothing everyone wants to talk about. So it’s no surprise that footwear is front-and-center on social media. The sneakerheads are browsing their favorite Instagram accounts to see the latest styles and fun throwbacks. The fashionistas have countless places to find (and share!) imagery of stylish heels and enviable pumps, sandals or boots.

At the heart of it all is inspirational imagery. When images are bold, bright and styled thoughtfully, they get potential customers to take notice. Ultimately, that sets into motion a journey that leads from discovery on social to a purchase.

Leading shoe brands and footwear retailers know this paradigm well — and are partnering with Curalate to make inspirational content central to their marketing efforts. Here are three of our favorite examples:

Zappos: Old School Kicks, New School Marketing

There are certain sneakers you can identify immediately. The iconic Stan Smith white-and-green Adidas. The black-and-white Vans Old Skool Core Classics. The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars (you know, Chucks!) People have been wearing them for years and they’re always in style.

As the leading online retailer for shoes and clothes, Zappos wanted a way to create a community of people who celebrate the classics. So it launched had a new retail concept called The_ONES in November, 2017.

On-site, Zappos partnered with Curalate a new online hub featuring galleries of shoppable lifestyle content. It allows Zappos to easily find Instagram content tagged with #WeAreTheOnes, make a request for rights, bring the content on site and make it shoppable.

A peek at the Curalate-powered shoppable on-site gallery for The_ONES, a new retail concept by Zappos.

On Instagram, Zappos launched The_ONES, a new account dedicated to classic sneakers. By sharing inspirational imagery and engaging with fans, the follower count is rising at a rapid pace. To allow followers to easily discover new products and shop great finds from The_Ones, Zappos launched Curalate Like2Buy, which converts the “link in bio” into an intuitive, shoppable experience. They’re even using Like2Buy to drive followers to editorial content — like an interview with the one-and-only Stan Smith or a Q&A with photographer Maly Mann.

A look at the Curalate-powered Instagram shop for The_ONES.

“The launch of The_ONES marks the beginning of a new era of sneakerhead,” said Jeff Espersen, Zappos’ VP of Merchandising. “From the passionate collector to the casual street-chic fashionista, there’s an underserved consumer who loves the closet classics as much as we do. The_ONES is our way of bringing inclusivity back to the sneaker community and celebrating the shoes we reach for time and time again.”

Dune London: A Love Affair With Inspiration

As a sophisticated and stylish fashion footwear and accessories brand, the team at Dune London knows that inspirational imagery needs to be central to their marketing efforts.

“Our customers respond very well to user-generated content (UGC),” said Mark Blenkinsop, Digital Marketing Manager at Dune London. “Being able to see others wearing our products gives them extra confidence to purchase.”

So Dune London sources imagery that customers, influencers and fans share on social everyday. Content in hand, Dune then makes those images actionable. On Instagram, Dune used Curalate Like2Buy to create an Instagram Shop, enabling Dune’s fans to find and buy new products.

On Dune’s site, the brand launched a gallery of shoppable UGC with Curalate Fanreel. It enables Dune to highlight their fans while also providing inspiration to people browsing the Dune site. This UGC seamlessly flows to relevant product detail pages to give customers additional ways to visualize products in real-world scenarios and on real people.

Dune London makes visual content from fans and customers shoppable on site.

By connecting inspiration to action with Curalate, Dune is bringing their signature style and sophistication to a growing, vibrant community of consumers. The frictionless commerce experiences have yielded incredible results:

  • +28% conversion rate
  • +82% revenue
  • +17% average order value
  • +55% clickthroughs

“This is the latest step in a wider strategy to leverage these images as well as our own beautiful lifestyle content across the web and make the products contained within photos and videos fully shoppable,” said Blenkinsop. “Rather than asking customers to search for what they’ve seen, we’re taking them directly to it.”

Sperry: Building a Community of Influencers

Inspirational imagery from Sperry and their network of influencers.

Popular footwear brand Sperry believes that building an online community of intrepid ambassadors is critical to their success. Finding influential social users who speak their language and fit their brand DNA is a key part of this marketing strategy.

When Sperry wants to find micro-influencers, they use Explore — Curalate’s tool that allows brands to find digital influencers and authentic content at scale. It helps the brand achieve the following:

  • Find and follow influencers that breathe Sperry’s values and have a modest, yet tight-knit following.
  • Identify images, products and influencers that are most engaging to Sperry customers and fans.
  • Use Curalate’s platform to repurpose top-performing content on their social channels, emails and website.

On average, Curalate clients achieve: 79% increases in time-on-site, 16% jumps in average order value and 31% increases in conversion rate. What can Curalate do for your business? Contact us to find out.

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