There’s a Better Way to Do Creator Commerce

Aaron Millberg
January 9, 2023
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There's a Better Way to Do Creator Commerce

When we discover influencers online, we’re subscribing and aspiring to an entire lifestyle. We zoom in on their posts to see what clothes are in the closet, what books are on the shelves, what sheets are on the bed, and what bracelets are on their wrists. We follow the person’s entire vibe, aesthetic and world. 

Brands have long tried to capitalize on this attachment through an influencer marketing industry which is valued at over $16B, and growing every year. Creators, wanting — and deserving — a bigger piece of the pie, have tried several avenues to monetize their taste or even build their own brand, but turning an online following into a sustainable revenue stream is challenging. 

Traditional brand deals can be few and far between. Launching a product line from scratch carries incredible risk from start to finish. Creator funds on the major platforms are opaque, and subject to negative change without warning. Affiliate links use unreliable technology and drive followers away from the creator’s platform to make a purchase. These avenues are certainly profitable for some creators, but leave most (and their audiences) wanting more. 

With Canal, there’s a better and more sustainable method for all creators on the horizon.

A better way to monetize influence

At Canal, we’re re-defining creator commerce as the direct selling of products to a creator’s audience. By sharing, promoting, and selling their favorite products directly on their owned platforms, creators can keep more of the revenue generated from sales instead of giving a large percentage to intermediaries. They can acquire valuable first party data, build an owned customer base, and diversify sources of revenue as well.

By sharing, promoting, and selling their favorite products directly on their owned platforms, creators can keep more of the revenue generated from sales instead of giving a large percentage to intermediaries.

In my nearly ten years representing talent, no method of monetization has simultaneously offered creators the opportunity to earn a bigger piece of the sale and own their customer data, while eliminating the upfront risk of launching their own brand or product. 

The applications for owned creator commerce are virtually endless, giving creators true control over their fan and customer experience. That said, we’re seeing a few particularly successful use cases with Canal…

Curated marketplaces

Hannah Bronfman — an activist, angel investor, and the founder of HBFIT, a digital content platform for all things health, beauty and fitness — launched HBFIT Marketplace, a curated collection of goods that are hand-selected and approved by Hannah and the HBFIT team. Canal powers this marketplace on HBFit’s existing site, allowing customers to shop third party products in a familiar destination, alongside the HBFit products they already know and love.

Between HBFIT’s 101,000 followers and Hannah’s 970,000 followers on Instagram, HBFIT Marketplace can sell products to over 1 million potential shoppers without having to buy and hold inventory or manage the fulfillment and shipment of orders. Hannah and HBFit use their existing commerce infrastructure to centralize, curate, and sell their favorite products directly on Instagram, TikTok, and shoppable content like blog posts. By using Canal as their commerce infrastructure, HBFit can even power point of sale (POS) at events and pop-ups shops with dropshipping or consignment inventory.

Private-label and custom product drops

Creators like Brian Tyler Cohen are experimenting with creator commerce to initiate drops with white label and custom products, generating urgency and excitement around a product that leads to higher audience engagement and more sales. As one of the most watched progressive political commentators on YouTube, Brian used Canal to partner with Nocking Point Wines to sell a white label rosé wine.

The drop was announced to his 2.25m combined followers on YouTube and Twitter. The posts linked to Brian’s own Codify Roe-sé product page where shoppers purchased the wine. 

Brian Tyler Cohen's shoppable Youtube video unveiling the Codify Roe-sé.

Brian has never held any inventory or fulfilled any orders himself. In fact, Brian and Nocking Point sold over 3,000 bottles in the first week of the drop and generated over $120,000 dollars of revenue — all without Brian touching a single bottle of wine. Furthermore, his team maintains control over the customer experience and owns all of the valuable customer data.

Event-based collections

Combining the time sensitivity of a drop with the curated selection of a marketplace, event-based collections like Ashton Kutcher’s Mother’s Day popup shop can be the best of both worlds. The Mother’s Day popup was so successful that Ashton followed up shortly after with a new collection for Father’s Day, announced on Twitter to his 17 million followers.

Another great seasonal collection is the recently launched Holiday Marketplace by Phenomenal, a values-driven media brand that celebrates phenomenal voices by centering women and underrepresented communities.

Its seasonal collection features 92 expertly-curated products from trusted brand partners that can be purchased directly through the Phenomenal ecommerce shop. Items are dropshipped from suppliers directly to customers, which has allowed the brand to focus on marketing the seasonal collection to its 728,000 followers on Instagram

Turn your audience into customers, and earn more

We’re building the next generation of creator businesses. With Canal, you can connect with a trusted network of suppliers, curate and expand your catalog with the best products, monetize your public recommendations in your own storefront, acquire valuable first party data, build an owned audience, and diversify sources of revenue in a meaningful and fun way. 

In other words, Canal’s brand partnership platform brings together the businesses you’ve built and the products you love so fans can shop your world. If you want to learn more about creator commerce at Canal, or if you’re excited to begin curating products for your next drop, seasonal collection, or marketplace, we would love to help. Just fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

P.S. In addition to celebrities, creators, influencers, and media companies, Canal is also building long-term relationships with talent representatives, agents, managers, publicists, streaming services, podcast networks, venture funds, and brand incubators. If you fall into one (or more) of these categories and would like to learn more about Canal, please reach out.

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Aaron Millberg
Talent Commerce Lead
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