Basic Space looks to leverage the influencer economy

  • Basic Space debuted a curated mobile app and web-based marketplace for internet influencers to sell their own vintage fashion and pre-owned luxury items, as well as new exclusive products, according to a company press release.
  • Some of the sellers, who are chosen on an invitation-only basis, include Sophia Amoruso, Steve Aoki, Love Watts, Pia Arrobio, Emily Oberg, Purienne and Sami Miro. Basic Space said its first 100 verified sellers have a collective worldwide social media reach of more than 50 million followers.
  • Basic Space is now available as an iOS app, and an Android version is anticipated to roll out in late 2019. The company celebrated its marketplace launch during SXSW in Austin, Texas, this week by hosting a shopping experience featuring some of the products that are sold on the marketplace.

Dive Insight:

The rise of the influencer economy has both enchanted and vexed the retail sector. Retailers and brands have watched as social media has provided a platform enabling both established and would-be celebrities to either tout or dismiss brands and products. This has been more than enough for many companies to look for ways to partner with or buy their influence.

As early as 2017, 70% of brands across multiple industries used Instagram influencers to help market their products, and Instagram alone is estimated to drive a $1 billion influencer economy. Among major retailer activity, Walmart last year partnered with Collective Bias for influencer content.

The influencer economy may be big, but retailers and brands still need to be careful how and to what degree they get involved with its players. A Sprout Social survey from last year, for example, found that only 7% of shoppers were interested in celebrity or influencer content. Many were keener on more traditional promotions and deals, as well as basic product information. 

Having said that, an online and app-based marketplace that curates pre-owned and new products from various influencers is probably an idea whose time has come. Basic Space is being picky about who it will invite and the company may be able to quickly build a reputation as a digital shopping destination for the audiences of several different influencers. Focusing on pre-owned collectibles and exclusive products also should make shoppers feel like they are getting access to something special, rather than just whatever item a certain brand paid an influencer to pitch for them.