Tomorrow, our Co-Founder and CEO, Mike Jaconi, will be sitting down with the Co-Founder and CEO of rewardStyle, Baxter Box, to chat about the future of mobile commerce at MAU. Ahead of the session, we talked to Baxter about how he is connecting social content to commerce on mobile in a seamless way for retailers, influencers, and customers.
rewardStyle is the first and largest invitation-only, end-to-end content monetization platform, empowering 40,000 of the world's premium, digital-style influencers to achieve maximum economic success for their online content. In March 2017, the LIKEtoKNOW.it app was launched. Featuring first-of-its-kind technology, the high-traffic app gave users the ability to instantly shop real looks from influencers, tastemakers, stylists, and celebrities, across categories including fashion, home, beauty, family, and more.
Read our Q&A with Baxter to find out how he scaled rewardStyle and built the the LIKEtoKNOW.it app to allow consumers to shop inspiration in closed mobile social.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how you came to founding rewardStyle.
Baxter: When I first met Amber, I had just graduated from SMU's MBA program and was dabbling with different engineering ventures. When Amber explained what was happening with her offline personal shopping business, I figured I could help her create an online commissions model that worked in the same vein. Looking back, we had no idea how impactful rewardStyle would be. We created a new industry, and disrupted and redirected the traditional fashion and retail industries. rewardStyle has contributed to the professionalization and financial independence of tens of thousands of lifestyle influencers.
Q: rewardStyle has driven over $4 billion in retail sales and is used by millions of consumers to discover, curate, and shop influencer content. What have been some of your biggest learnings from leading a company of this magnitude?
Baxter: Timing is everything! When Amber and I started working on the idea around rewardStyle, we were heads down and hyper-focused to be first to the market with our idea. Once we launched, we continued to revise and fine-tune, but having the platform up and running was the starting point and proof of concept our customers needed to take action and join, followed by the growth of our retail partners and influencer database.
Q: Customer experience across the mobile ecosystem is one of the biggest challenges for the retail industry. How is LIKEtoKNOW.it connecting social content to commerce on mobile in a seamless way for retailers, influencers, and customers?
Baxter: For consumers, LIKEtoKNOW.it connects content and commerce cross-channel. LIKEtoKNOW.it is a shopping app that makes social content shoppable— it solves the problem of allowing consumers to shop inspiration in closed mobile social. You're also shopping real looks from influencers, stylists, and celebrities across all lifestyle categories— fashion, home, beauty, family and more— all in the palm of their hands.
Q: LIKEtoKNOW.it What role does LIKEtoKNOW.it play in rewardStyle's broader business strategy?
Baxter: Today, LIKEtoKNOW.it is a new generation blogging platform—built to empower modern influencers to connect with the mobile consumer who expects convenience, accessibility, and immediacy when consuming content from their mobile device. More than 70% of our influencers in 2018 were mobile first or only, and this year, we only expect that percentage to grow; LIKEtoKNOW.it is where they are blogging today. Last year, LIKEtoKNOW.it drove $300 million in online retail sales to our partners. LIKEtoKNOW.it solves the problem of allowing consumers to shop inspiration in closed mobile social and the numbers tell us it is working and is the future.
Q: What vertical(s) does rewardStyle plan to expand into and why?
Baxter: We've seen the home and beauty categories really take off over the last year, or so. Amber and I started rewardStyle when we were so young and it was a lot of Amber's friends that joined the platform around the same time, so our social audiences have grown up with us. Amber's page was originally focused on fashion, but then we bought a house and started having babies, and while yes, she is still talking about her outfits, her content has developed around her life and that has grown to include our home and children.
Q: What mobile commerce trend do you envision having the most momentum over the next year and how do you plan to evolve rewardStyle's commerce strategy accordingly?
Baxter: Retail is not only moving online, but from desktop to mobile. Consumers are transacting in destinations that provide them convenience, accessibility, and personalization, and the retailers who have properly prepared for the tech boom understand that and their performance proves it. rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it sit at the center of this market.
Q: Our audience first learned about your rewardStyle journey at TAP 2017 and how you were focused on global expansion and rolling out the roadmap for LIKEtoKNOW.it. What's next for you and your team?
Baxter: We are always continuing to iterate on the LIKEtoKNOW.it app and improve the experience and ease for our users. Most recently, we launched product search within the app, which allows shoppers to search for products and get 100% shoppable results, all in context of the lives of real, influential people who use those products.
LIKEtoKNOW.it product search gives the intent-driven shopper an incredible, contextual experience that can not be found anywhere else.
Q: You'll be speaking with our Co-Founder and CEO Mike Jaconi on the future of mobile commerce at MAU. What are you looking forward to discussing the most?
Baxter: Mike and I have known each other for a while now and I am so excited to be bringing the Button functionality into the LIKEtoKNOW.it app and just showcasing at MAU how these technologies are revolutionizing retail and mobile shopping for consumers.
Catch Baxter and Mike in action on stage at tomorrow at 11 AM PT in Commerce Room 156/157 at MAU. See you there!
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