For Brands

90 Days After Shoptalk - What’s Trnd’ing Trends in Influencer Marketing + Discover and Connect Launch

Ninety days ago, Shoptalk brought together the brightest minds in retail digital marketing and social commerce. Since then, we’ve sifted through countless conversations to identify the most interesting trends shaping the industry. We've also taken a hard look at the challenges brands face in connecting with influencers. To address these, Trnd introduced our new Connect and Discover feature. This tool leverages our Creator Community, helping brands get discovered by creators who align perfectly with their audience and needs.

The Trnd team at Shoptalk Vegas 2024. A notification box reads "New Trends for you and Trnd launches Connect & Discover"


Influencer marketing is evolving, driven by smarter AI tools, the rise of social commerce, and enriched consumer experiences. Trnd's Connect & Discover capitalizes on these changes, flipping the script on traditional methods. Instead of endless searching, let creators find you with an inbound strategy, fostering authentic and efficient partnerships. This streamlined process ensures a steady flow of aligned influencers, saving you time and enabling genuine engagement. Stay ahead with AI-driven insights and the rising importance of social commerce.

Combining industry research with the insights gathered from Shoptalk, several key areas have emerged where innovation is transforming the landscape. From the practical application of AI in marketing to the growing importance of social commerce, brands are navigating a rapidly changing environment. Here’s a deeper look at the trends:

AI-Powered Tools: Practical Applications Over Hype

Enthusiasm for AI remains strong, with the approach maturing from novelty tactics to long-term strategies aimed at solving specific issues. According to a November 2023 survey by Billion Dollar Boy, 92% of marketing leaders have used AI-generated content. Creators are rapidly adopting generative AI (genAI), and marketers are fully embracing this shift. Nearly every marketing leader has commissioned content created with genAI, which helps creators produce high-quality content efficiently. This technology enables marketers to process information faster, gain deeper insights, and act quickly on emerging trends. While AI development often exceeds many vendors' current capabilities, focusing on mastering the basics and conducting small-scale experiments is crucial for effective application within one’s domain.

Social Commerce is Growing in Priority

Marketing budgets are increasingly shifting towards social commerce. According to eMarketer, brands recognize that influencer marketing delivers better ROI than traditional digital strategies, leading to increased investment in this area. However, high-profile partnerships are becoming harder to secure, despite the increased funding.

  • 75% of B2B marketers worked with influencers by mid-2023 (Ogilvy).
  • Increased investment in influencer marketing, but high-profile partnerships are harder to come by (eMarketer).
  • Growth in revenue streams outside traditional sponsored content, such as tipping, gifting, merchandising subscriptions, and affiliate marketing.

The evolution of influencer marketing is most notable among nano and micro-influencers as well as top-tier influencers. Smaller creators often have a direct connection with their audience, driving higher engagement and sales while larger influencers excel in brand awareness. Mid-tier influencers, however, are struggling in a saturated market, finding it harder to secure lucrative deals.

  • Smaller influencers (nano and micro) and top-tier influencers are seeing the most growth.
  • Mid-tier influencers face a tougher market, struggling to secure deals in a saturated space.
  • Data-driven optimization is becoming critical, with marketers using extensive data to refine their strategies and maximize ROI.

Focusing on Consumer Experience

Brands are increasingly focusing on delivering high-value experiences directly to consumers, with Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) strategies taking center stage. Given shoppers' short attention spans, averaging about eight seconds, lengthy checkout processes often lead to high cart abandonment rates. According to the Forbes article, the Baymard Institute reports a 70.19% average cart abandonment rate, with over 18% due to complicated checkouts. Paul do Forno from Deloitte Digital emphasizes that a fast, easy-to-use checkout is crucial for conversions, especially in social buying. Innovative startups like Croissant and Accrue Savings are enhancing checkout options to boost conversions, build loyalty, and better serve customer needs.

Connect and Discover on Trnd: Driving Influencer Partnerships

One of the biggest pain points we've heard from brands is the difficulty in finding the right creators. It's a process that's often likened to constant business development—time-consuming and frustrating. That’s why we developed our Connect and Discover feature.

One of the biggest challenges brands face is finding the right creators—a process often likened to constant business development, which is both time-consuming and frustrating. Our Connect and Discover feature was designed to streamline and enhance this crucial aspect of influencer marketing.

With Connect and Discover, brands no longer need to chase creators. Instead, creators who align with your brand's values and audience can find you. For example, a skincare brand looking to collaborate with influencers passionate about natural beauty products can now attract those creators directly, leading to more authentic and effective partnerships.

This feature shifts from a traditional outbound strategy to an inbound one, allowing creators to apply to collaborate with you. As a result, brands spend less time searching and more time engaging with potential partners who are genuinely interested in their products. For instance, a fitness apparel company can receive applications from fitness influencers who already resonate with their brand ethos, making collaborations more seamless and productive.

The streamlined process ensures a consistent flow of applications from interested creators, simplifying the partnership process and opening new opportunities for mid-tier creators who often struggle to find collaborations. Imagine a mid-sized tech gadget brand, receiving numerous applications from tech enthusiasts and reviewers, enabling them to choose the best fit for their campaigns without the hassle of extensive outreach.

Looking ahead

Shoptalk has shown that the landscape of retail, social, and influencer commerce is rapidly changing. Adapting to these shifts is crucial. AI tools, genAI content creation, and a growing focus on social commerce are shaping the future.

The Connect and Discover feature on Trnd helps brands navigate these changes by streamlining the process of finding and partnering with the right creators. By staying ahead of these trends and leveraging innovative solutions, brands can build stronger, more effective influencer partnerships.

Explore more resources