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The Power of Supermodel Persuasion On the Decline

Models who score fashion magazine covers and have millions of followers on social media no longer influence retail purchases, according to Style.Mic.

Models on sites like ASOS and Nasty Gal, who fit some of the model criteria but aren't marketing themselves as a brand. In a word, reflection is the reason the new models are helping generate sales for retail sites.

"People identify with images that confirm their own identity. So, if someone is young, female, blonde, tall and with blue eyes they will be attracted to similar models — if the individual sees themselves as young, blonde, tall, etc.," says internet psychology consultant Graham Jones.

The rise of the plus size model, particularly online, is helping sales because retailers are aware that most women can relate to the model. To the e-commerce world, diversity equals sales.

Data collection and algorithms can also help tell which model helps sales. If stock is slow, websites can quickly swap out images that contribute to underperforming sales.

If retailers like ASOS and Nasty Gal decided to work with supermodels, it could hurt their overall brand—and sales. Mic noted British catalogue/online retailer Boden, who faced criticism from loyal customers when they learned the company hired supermodel Helena Christensen for a campaign. No word if Christensen effected Boden's sales, but the publicity didn't help the brand and reverted back to its original practice of working with models customers identified with. Boden learned the the decades old adage is true: The customer is always right.

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