Monsoon Accessorize on using social to boost sales

Like many high street retailers, Monsoon Accessorize is facing a number of challenges – with the firm currently undergoing major restructuring plans of its physical stores.

However, the company is also focused on boosting its online presence. Lizzie Newell, social media manager at both brands, says social commerce has become an increasingly important area for the business.

Since joining over a year ago, revenue from social has been a top priority. As a channel, it can be underestimated in driving awareness “and ultimately sales," she says.

Using advanced social commerce technology has increased click through and conversion rates. The retailer uses tools from visual commerce company Curalate, including Like2Buy, which enables Instagram feeds to be shoppable, and Fanreel which pulls in user-generated images to a brand’s website and applies image recognition to tag products to show they are easy to buy.   

Natural fits

In spring 2019 the firm decided to do more work with “micro-influencers” – rather than people who seem “unreachable,” says Newell. That strategy is complementing its use of social technology.

“The micro-influencers content sits seamlessly next to fan snaps in the Fanreel gallery.” People enjoy seeing their images on our website mixed in with influencers, which also strengthens brand loyalty.

“Of course, there is still a place for top-tier Influencers; the younger end of the Accessorize audience especially still react well to ‘glamorous’ people we can all be ‘in awe of’.

“We’ve got a few girls with larger followings who have become true brand ambassadors and friends. We generally amplify their more polished content through paid social,” she adds.

Brand difference

Monsoon tends to have an older customer base.  Inspiration around ‘how to wear’ items typically appeals more than influencer and celebrity content.

The Fanreel gallery gives Monsoon customers a place to browse how clothes look in real life, not on models. “The user-generated content we get tagged in demonstrates the wide variation of age and personal style within our audience,” she says.

Although Instagram is still important for Monsoon, it also sees high engagement and clicks through from Facebook. “It is on Facebook that we use Showroom links to create easily- digestible capsule collections to a ‘theme’ or ‘trend’ to help educate our consumer on key products per season, for example.”

The main challenge for Monsoon social is to keep attracting a new, younger audience, while retaining loyal repeat-purchasers, she says.

“The brand is transitioning and introducing trend-led pieces, but we have to tell that story on social in a considered way and still represent our classic styles with a strong ‘pay for quality’ message.”

For Accessorize, a lot of time and resource is dedicated to Instagram – growth, content, competitions, paid social. “It is our heartland, and where our most engaged target audience can be found.”

The biggest change from over the last year has been the huge increase in the output of Instagram stories, she says. “We challenged ourselves with four stories a week and added numerous highlights to cover all aspects of brand story-telling, including behind-the-design content, charity and ethical narratives and key events (e.g. Pride, #MentalHealthWeek).”

Following the launch of its social shoppable function, Monsoon reported a 29% increase in website dwell time. Meanwhile, Accessorize reported a 65% conversion rate uplift.

As tough high street trading conditions shows little sign of abating, using new channels to boost online growth seems more important than ever.