BaubleBar’s Amy McDowell on the Power of Peers

By: Melissa Campanelli

For BaubleBar, an online retailer founded in 2011 by Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky that sells high-quality jewelry at an affordable price, peer influence is a powerful selling tool.

“We understand that the best style guidance for consumers comes from peers,” said Amy McDowell, vice president of digital marketing at BaubleBar, who spoke on a customer engagement panel discussion at the Women in Retail Leadership Circle Launch Party in New York City on Oct. 9. “[BaubleBar] and our customers get so excited about how our jewelry works on other women. Pictures tell a thousand words, so when women come to our site and see other women like them wearing our jewelry, that’s powerful.”

What’s more, women who view these pictures “have 30 [percent] to 40 percent higher basket rates than women who don’t,” McDowell added.

That’s one of the reasons BaubleBar started taking a closer look at different ways to monetize its social pages. For example, its “Guest Bartender” series, where style personalities such as Courtney Kerr and Emma Roberts present their curated BaubleBar collections to consumers, feature Instagram feeds of customers wearing the guest bartender’s jewelry picks. When a viewer clicks on the pictures, the jewelry can be purchased directly from the feed.

BaubleBar image 1

“We were the first company in the fashion/jewelry space to make our Instagram feed shoppable,” McDowell said. “It was a huge investment, but we had to do it. You have to be out there feeding the audience, giving them inspiration.”

Olapic, a technology platform that scours the web and pulls in hashtagged photos and videos from Instagram, Facebook, Vine and YouTube, and integrates them directly into the e-commerce sites of its clients, made this organic sharing activity possible. BaubleBar started working with Olapic in 2013.

Compared to traditional digital marketing campaigns, Olapic said its user-generated image campaigns have lifted conversion rates for its clients between 7 percent and 60 percent, with an average increase of more 30 percent. In addition, the time spent on its clients’ websites typically doubles once Olapic’s solution is implemented, while average order value increases by anywhere from 2 percent to 10 percent. Clients have also seen a drop in returns, the company added.

Being able to post shoppable, user-generated images “is very exciting for us,” McDowell said. “Real women are the models, and that’s what our customers want to see and ultimately what helps us sell our products.”

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