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INTERVIEW Rachel Waller of Farfetch on visual social commerce

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From time to time, we ask IRUK Top500 retailers to tell us more about the technologies and approaches that underpin their websites. Today we hear from Rachel Waller of Farfetch on how it uses technology in its visual social commerce.

InternetRetailing: Why did Farfetch start to use Curalate - was there a particular challenge it was looking to tackle? If so, please tell me more about that challenge.

Rachel Waller, online communications director at Farfetch (pictured left): We started using Curalate about four years ago. Initially we were looking for a tool to help us understand our visual social media channels and the influencers engaging with us on them. At the time most tools were geared towards analytics on Twitter and Facebook, and Curalate was one of the few offering a tool geared towards Pinterest and particularly Instagram. Since then our relationship has evolved significantly as has the importance of visual social commerce and influencers for Farfetch as a brand, and Curalate has very much evolved with those challenges in mind.

IR: How does the technology work in practice? What are the practical effects/changes that it makes to the website?

RW: The technology allows us to do a couple of powerful social commerce pieces. Firstly, it allows us to make our Instagram link in bio a shoppable edit of products for our followers, and secondly it helps us add a great layer of inspiration and community celebration within our own site with Curalate's Fanreel or user-generated hubs.

Generally all of Curalate's technology is helping us extend the life span of social content on the site, through influencers and on our social profiles by helping us discover, share and shop social imagery. The tools help us extend our social content narrative through discovery to engagement and driving people to the site.

IR: What benefits has Farfetch seen as a result of using it?

RW: We have only recently launched Like2Buy (shoppable Instagram) so we do not have stable enough results to share.

IR: Curalate has an approach of discovery-driven commerce – what effect has that had on the Farfetch customer experience?

RW: We have not rolled out all the features Curalate has to offer, so at present outside of social media and UGC it has not yet had significant impact.

IR: What next? Are there still improvements to be made to the way that Farfetch shows products/spreads the word about them - what areas are those in?

RW: There are always big opportunities for us. We are thinking proactively about how we take learnings from social commerce more broadly into the site experience, particularly when we think about inspiration and story telling. User-generated content in particular is of real interest to us when we're thinking about how people want to see product in context, and as a site with over 100,000 items, UGC really allows us to think about how we cover and tell a story with a broader array of products than we ever could before with just our owned channels.
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