Most of us dread the thought of having to return a piece of clothing we purchased online. In recent years, a newer generation of shoppers — mainly Gen Z — have put their trust in influencers to help them find the best products. Influencer shopping app LTK (formerly LiketoKnow.it and rewardStyle) is tapping into that trend. Between 2019 and 2021, LTK has decreased return rates by 30%. The company is aiming to further reduce return rates and show the impact that creator-guided shopping has on purchase satisfaction with its new creator product review feature. The creator product review feature has begun rolling out globally, starting with iOS devices. It will be available for Android users soon.
The tech platform, which raised $300 million late last year, also redesigned its app homepage with a “For You” section, which provides recommendations for other creator LTK posts and online stores. In addition, a new onboarding process, which recommends creators based on location and style preferences, and search capabilities will roll out in the coming weeks.
“The LTK app is the best place to discover and shop styles from creators. Creators are real people who do the work of online shopping, curating, and trying amazing styles to save shoppers effort, time, and money. This is why more and more people are shopping through creators,” said Kit Ulrich, General Manager of the Consumer Platform at LTK, in a statement. “Now, with product reviews from LTK Creators, shoppers get verified reviews and notes from real people who have tried many styles to select their favorites. And our new product search technology enables LTK to deliver a tailored experience to each shopper to make the experience even more convenient and helpful.”
LTK’s creators are mainly fashion bloggers and social media influencers who can upload their content on a central marketplace, making each post shoppable on the LTK app and site. All the content made by creators highlights a product, which is either worn or shown off. The products are listed below the post, so that a customer can click on them and purchase them through an affiliated link that takes them to the retailer’s website. The creator will get the same commission as other creators who don’t write a creator product review, so it is just an added bonus that improves customer satisfaction. It is likely that reviews will garner more interactions on posts since opinions from influencers help them further build trust with their audience.
If the creator wrote a review on a product, a customer will see the review section slide up after clicking on it (see picture below).
With the launch, a new in-app editing tool allows creators to share their opinions about apparel, accessories, and other merchandise — like beauty and home products — in the description section. They can provide information regarding the fit, quality, color, and use, as well as pricing info and a fit scale showing if the product runs small, true-to-size, or large. They can share styling tips as well.
The LTK platform also enables creators to post videos, which many Instagram and TikTok influencers have turned to nowadays. This allows customers to see close-up shots and try on clips in order to really see the product from multiple angles.
In testing the feature, we have found that creator product reviews lack a ranking system. Similar to Amazon or eBay, having a 1 to 5-star rating will be another great way to influence a shopper to purchase a quality item.
Also, the creator product reviews that are on the app currently are short and sometimes vague. Frankly, some of the reviews sound more like an ad rather than an honest opinion. Of course, creators generally aren’t going to wear or use items that they don’t love and wouldn’t recommend horrible quality products to their audience, but there will always be imperfections that need to be pointed out.
In addition, the influencer-driven platform is also advancing its search technology to personalize the creator-guided shopping experience by using a custom ranking algorithm, a smart autocomplete box that automatically recommends content and creators in search results, and a unique data set that guides a customer’s search.
The company has an app designed specifically for creators as well. The LTK Creator: influencer app allows creators to schedule posts, share content directly to social, and more. Over the past week, this app rolled out a news feature which informs creators about updates regarding product launches and sales from retailers, consumer insights, and more. This is the first phase of a broader personalized home screen update that will later include access to creators’ real-time earnings and performance analytics, the company said. Price alerting for sales and out of stock alerts are also in the works to provide creators information that creators need to best tailor content to shoppers.
LTK was founded in 2011 by fashion blogger Amber Venz Box. There are currently 200,000 fashion, beauty, fitness, home, and lifestyle influencers taking advantage of the platform to monetize their content across the entire social ecosystem. Over 5,000 global retailers also participate on LTK, and the tech company claims to drive more than $2.9 billion in annual brand purchases from creators in over 100 countries.