Proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Boohoo has taken a page from its pure play competitor ASOS.

Last year, ASOS launched its #ASOSinsiders program, partnering with independent influencers to create branded handles such as @asos_lexley and @asos_lex. Each influencer’s posts feature a direct path to purchase with product IDs in the captions. Additionally, the brand aggregates these products in a shoppable Insider hub featured within primary navigation.

Boohoo, which, like ASOS, earned Gifted status in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail UK,  launched its own branded influencer accounts in August. While ASOS recruited external influencers to create branded accounts, boohoo looked internally to its corporate office, elevating buying assistants and visual merchandisers to influencers (@boohoo.jaya, @boohoo.kerry, etc.). A fifth of boohoo’s Instagram posts in Q1 2018 were dedicated to these #BOOHOOEditors and other user-generated content.

However, this strategy has not resulted in the lift that ASOS enjoyed. The average boohoo editor account has approximately 1,000 followers, compared to over 10,000 for the average ASOS branded account. 

boohoo joins a number of brands developing employee influencer programs. Macy’s received widespread coverage for its launch of “Macy’s Style Crew,” a move to feature corporate employees in shoppable style guide videos on the brand’s site. Similarly, Kate Spade has seen success with its Talking Shop series on YouTube, which features Niesha, a visual merchandising associate in New York. As an increasing number of influencers diversify their brand partnerships, employee influencer programs offer an attractive alternative for brands to protect their image and equity.

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