Lipsy London: building customer relationships through social media

With a young, fashion-conscious customer base, social media is critical to the Lipsy London brand. Amy Jackson from Lipsy’s marketing and ecommerce team shares her social strategy with Retail Connections.

With a young and fashion-conscious customer base, social media is a cornerstone of Lipsy London’s brand awareness and customer engagement strategy. We caught up with Amy Jackson from Lipsy’s marketing and ecommerce team, to discuss how the retailer is building relationships using its social strategy.

Creating an authentic platform

With its core audience aged 16-35, Lipsy is very conscious that its customers have been born into, and brought up in, the era of social media. It is very important not just to build brand values, but to directly influence customer spend and loyalty – and that means they need to get the tone right.

“Authenticity is key,” remarked Jackson, as part of a discussion on social in the customer journey at eTail Europe, “but it depends on how and why you create it”.

“Authenticity is key, but it depends on how and why you create it.”

For Lipsy, that authenticity comes from two sources. Firstly, picking the right celebrities to represent them – Michelle Keegan is one of their most prominent ambassadors – and secondly, tapping into the buzzing community of bloggers, vloggers and social media stars that influence what their customer buy.

Interestingly, although celebrity endorsement has a marked impact on sales, Lipsy tends to find a bigger uplift in products when it is worn or recommended by an influencer.

The right strategy for every channel

In addition to leveraging external relationships, Lipsy has put a lot of work into understanding how each social media channel affects customer behaviour.

For example, its Facebook page and Instagram account are built around the purpose of acquiring new customers, while its Snapchat and Instagram Stories content is aimed at retaining existing shoppers.

Instagram Stories has been one of its biggest recent successes, particularly when Lipsy uses it to create a ‘sneak peek’ into their business; “our girls want to see what’s going on behind the scenes,” said Amy.

“Our girls want to see what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Facebook has also shapeshifted in recent months, becoming more of a paid channel for the retailer. Due to algorithm changes on the social networking site, organic reach increases when supported by paid-for advertising, which has changed Lipsy’s strategy.

Twitter is another interesting channel when it comes to customer engagement. While it drives less marketing interest than the likes of Snapchat and Instagram, it is a strong point of customer care for any shoppers that have product or brand questions.

In addition, Twitter is very useful for live engagement on topics or cultural trends that will resonate with Lipsy’s audience. For instance, the retailer regularly tweets along to ITV’s Love Island, as this is a programme that is very popular among Lipsy customers. “We’re showing our customers that we’re interested in what they are interested in,” Amy affirmed.

Measuring social success

One of the challenges Lipsy faces is proving the value of social in nurturing customer relationships. While some interactions can be easily tracked, it is harder to measure ROI on video content, and many social channels seem to be leaning increasingly towards this visual format.

It is also harder to distinguish new engagers from loyal customers; unlike email marketing, it is difficult to see when consumers started following and interacting with its social media accounts, so they cannot communicate exclusive incentives in the same way as email and some other channels.

However, it is clear that social is a critical engagement tool for the customer journey. Given that Lipsy only goes on sale twice a year, the retailer needs to find other ways to drive revenue, and in many ways, communicating with digital natives through their favourite social channels fills this gap.

Not only that, but it encourages two-way conversations between both the retailer and the customer, and between its core customer base. “User generated content is definitely what is making us our money at the moment – especially among our influencers,” Amy concluded, demonstrating the power of recommendation in driving customer loyalty.

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