How the Creator Economy Will Change Online Ecommerce
The creator economy is taking the world by storm.
As of 2022, there are an estimated 50 million people contributing to this new economic standard.
These "creators"; monetize their online presence through the development of countless types of content. Creators can include everyone from Instagram influencers to TikTok stars and famous bloggers.
Experts believe the creator economy has fundamentally changed the way content and information is produced, distributed, and consumed. In previous generations, content was mostly dictated and regulated by large companies and organizations. Within the "creator economy" anyone can build a lucrative presence on the web.
The creator economy alters not just the balance of online information, but also the way consumers search for products, purchase solutions, and make buying decisions. Indeed, the creator economy is set to have a long-lasting and significant impact on the ecommerce market.
What is the Creator Economy?
So, what is the creator economy? To answer this, we need to look at the evolution of the world, and the economies people have experienced over the centuries.
About a century ago, we lived in the "Industrial economy";. This was the age of manufacturing, and most people earned money through physical labor, typically working in some form of factory, farm, or agricultural environment. People earned a living by making physical "things".
In the 1950s, the landscape began to shift into something called the "consumer economy". Following a world war and depression, consumers were looking for new shopping experiences. People began to earn money by offering services to others. Trade became globalized, and traditional media started focusing on appealing to the "fear of missing out" among customers.
The era of the internet brought with it the "knowledge economy". Technology began to wipe out many traditional jobs, and people began making money by sharing knowledge, through blogs, content creation, and even online education. This "knowledge" economy eventually evolved into the creator economy we know today.
The evolution of the internet decentralized the way we consume and access media. The internet isn't just a repository of information anymore, it's a powerful resource for the diverse needs of billions of users. Just as we can find value by accessing the internet, we can also share value by "creating" resources for other consumers to use.
While in the past, content production often required specialist equipment, expensive software, and elaborate sets, anyone can now produce content using basic equipment like smartphones and website builders. Ordinary individuals are leveraging the internet in a new way, to monetize "creation".
How Will the Creator Economy Affect Ecommerce?
As mentioned above, the creator economy is fundamentally changing how we interact with brands, build companies, and generate sales. The creator economy has introduced a shift to a people-powered commerce environment. Not only can creators promote and help to grow the revenue of other brands, but they can also design and build their own brands from scratch.
As a result, ecommerce is shifting towards a more social, versatile, and people-oriented environment. While it's difficult to know for certain how the creator economy will transform the ecommerce space, there are 3 clear trends beginning to emerge as a result of the creator landscape:
Social media and "community"; landscapes have become a core part of the purchasing journey for consumers all around the globe. Around 76% of customers say they have purchased a product they've seen in a social media post. Increasingly, consumers are relying on social media not just to learn about products and services, but also to make decisions on what to purchase.
Influencers, used to draw attention towards products and services are a core part of the creator economy. They use their existing sway over their target audience to generate new sales for brands, and unlock monetization opportunities.
At the same time, as new generations continue to spend more time on social media, these channels are beginning to roll out new ways for creators to sell products directly through social platforms. "Social selling" opportunities are now available on Instagram, Facebook, and many other platforms. This trend will only continue to grow with Gen Z, as 40% of this generation prefer using Instagram and TikTok for product research, over traditional Google search.
Combined with the rapid increase in no-code and low-code tools available for building ecommerce websites and stores, the creator economy is also inspiring the arrival of a new generation of ecommerce sellers. As more individuals become "creators" and develop followings online, they're increasingly looking for new avenues of monetization.
Ecommerce stores provide creators with new ways to make money by selling their own line of products. We've already seen endless YouTube stars and TikTok experts producing their own branded products and merchandise for sale online.
However, there is a challenge facing creators in this landscape. The majority of these solo entrepreneurs don't have the team members and resources required to successfully manage sourcing, and merchandizing strategies. This can create a significant barrier to entry.
To overcome the issues involved with entering the merchandizing landscape, creators will need to look for new ways to simplify their go-to-market strategy. Traditional merchandizing routes likely won't be an option for these smaller "companies".
In the past merchandizing has largely required dedicated teams for product design, pattern creation, supply chain management, contract negotiation and more. Fortunately, new solutions are emerging with specific benefits for creators without access to these resources. For instance, companies like NovaTomato are designing new platforms which allow anyone to create their own brand from scratch.
Unlike restrictive "print on demand" solutions previously used by other creators, NovaTomato delivers a more advanced and customizable way to "design on demand". Creators can create completely unique fashion products from scratch, using eco-friendly materials and processes.
Unlike most print on demand platforms, which focus largely on printing designs onto blank commoditized products, NovaTomato works with fashion designers in a bespoke manner. The company helps creators to build their customized product portfolio, with all products made to order from fabric or yarn.
With full customization (including all-over prints), creators can unleash their full creativity and design their products with no limitations. The platform takes care of the production process, and the quality is guaranteed by manufacturers working for large international retail brands. All the creator needs to worry about is designing and selling.
Platforms like NovaTomato can even handle shipping and quality control, and they produce merchandize as it's sold, reducing the demand for maintaining an inventory, and minimizing production waste.
As the creator economy continues to break into ecommerce, platforms like NovaTomato could be crucial to ensuring everyone and anyone can expand their monetization efforts. This new business model will surely change the landscape of the future e-commerce and the way of brands creation!