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Influencers are becoming the new ecommerce salespeople for savvy brands in India

Shivi Tandon of Curious Components

We are living in a digital age where social media rules the day but navigating this isn't without its challenges, particularly when marketing under the influencers.

Many may also argue that digital marketing means the 'death of a salesman' but, when it comes to influencers, it is the evolution of traditional salesman or salesmanship.

The current digital realm consists of such social media influencers who can be now called 'contemporary salespersons.' They are millennials, social media addicts, stylish and competitive. Brands love those traits and, of course, the thousands and even millions of followers they have.

Sanjay Sayani, brand evangelist, advertising expert and founder of rebootplus.in, believes that the era of the push sale is dead and 'trust' is no longer a worrying factor for the online sellers.

He said, "It's boom time at the back end. A faceless army of bloggers, influencers, and digital marketers are punching keywords to boost online retailers and pull sales. Search and discovery sites are rotting in their graves." He further added, "Fashion stores who found walk-in clients dwindling are now dancing in the aisles as online sales rise. "

The emergence of a new influencer culture has assisted small businesses in a big way. However, brands as big as Netflix and Maybelline are also reaching out to these social media influencers to market their products. Instead of spending excruciating amounts on advertising agencies and PR, the companies now aim to target social media influencers to expand their reach and build up their audience.

So far fashion social media influencers rule the powerful influencers list. They are rewriting norms everywhere and one example of this is when Chiara Ferragni, blogger behind 'The Blonde Salad', became the first blogger to feature on the cover of Vogue. Furthermore, Facebook predicts that $30bn of the fashion market in India will be digitally influenced by 2020. One of the main reason to foster that kind of influence is the increasing popularity of fashion bloggers in India.

Kannan Poddar, director at Missa More Clothing, an e-commerce platform, spoke to The Drum. He said, "India is a vast economy with a population of over a billion people. To reach the right audience it might get challenging for upcoming brands like us with a small capital, in comparison to other brands and online websites. These fashion bloggers and Instagrammers help reduce the bridge between the shoppers and potential buyers. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be able to reach over three lakh customers (300,000) within two years. These fashion blogger and Instagrammers are the new age fashion celebrities who influence shoppers and update them about the current trends in fashion."

Social media influencers are invited to all the big brand events, where they get the chance to personally interact with other celebrities and talk about the brand and their association which they later share with their audience on the blog.

Shivi Tandon is one of India's most prominent social media influencers within the fashion realm, with over 201k following on Instagram. Tandon, at 25 years old, kickstarted her own fashion and lifestyle blog Curious Componentssoon after graduating in 2014. The blog was the culmination of pure curiosity, for showcasing her personal style and to explore the knowledge of fashion she gained from her fashion college.

Despite the growing trend of Intagrammers, she stuck to her roots by creating more content on the blog, along with a strong social media presence. Over the past three years, she's worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and beauty, such as Maybelline, L’Oreal, Calvin Klein, Samsung to name a few.

Being a part of many well known campaigns, Tandon says: "I have been the official ambassador of Maybelline for Amazon Fashion Week in Delhi for the past three seasons, covering the Fashion Show and sharing my experience with my followers. It is basically my life I am sharing with everyone through the eyes of technology and social media. Recently I was a part of Vogue eyewear campaign, working with Atul kasbekar, ace Bollywood photographer. It was a different experience overall of shooting in Mehboob Studio and having your own vanity van with an expert team of make up artists and stylists."

Curious Components charges a minimum of 35k to 40k per post and is able to command such sums because of its reach online. According to Tandon, they carefully curate their feed to promote products that are in alignment with their personal brand.

But while some blogs like Curious Components as making a success, the life of an influencer is full time and many Indian influencers aren't breaking through and attracting big brands with the same scale.

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