How Shein’s Rise Up the Fashion Food Chain was Boosted by Their Brand Ambassador Program

How Shein's brand ambassador program helped them grow

If you’ve been even remotely involved or interested in the fashion space in the past couple of years, no doubt you’ve come across one name more than the rest: Shein. Between fashion hauls and OOTD (outfit of the day) inspirations, Shein is everywhere and there seems to be no slowing down the fast-fashion giant – no doubt thanks to their presence on social media and investment in the influencer space. It’s no secret then that Shein’s brand ambassador program had a helping hand in getting them to where they are now, so let’s dive in and explore just how it helped drive the brand to success in the 2020s.

Who is Shein?

Shein is a major fast-fashion retailer from China, with headquarters located in Singapore. The company was founded in 2008 but found most of its fame and success after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, post-2020. Shein’s product line is focused on inexpensive, trendy clothing and is predominantly marketed to the Gen Z demographic, who are commonly noted as ranking the fashion retailer as one of their favorite stores to make purchases from. 

By 2022, Shein had grown to the largest fashion retailer in the world, overtaking giants such as Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, and Zalando, with revenues totaling US$24 billion for that year. In fact, Shein commanded 28% of the USA’s fast-fashion market – which just so happens to be the largest segment, too. Its meteoric rise to success has been attributed to its early adoption of TikTok as a marketing platform, as well as its frequent features in clothing and try-on hauls on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. The brand has tapped into trends that are most popular amongst its target audience and are quick to turn around clothing that appeals to them, allowing its buyers to consistently find the styles they are looking for at a relatively low price – perfect for a younger, predominantly Gen Z market.

What is a brand ambassador program?

To understand how Shein’s work with influencers and their brand ambassador program aided them in reaching the metrics they enjoy today, it’s important to briefly cover what a brand ambassador program is. 

Quite simply, a brand ambassador program is one which recruits representatives, or ambassadors, to speak on behalf of a brand and communicate its core messaging to the audiences the brand wishes to reach, usually via social media channels. In doing so, these ambassadors aim to achieve certain goals such as boosting sales of a particular product or service, or driving awareness for the brand and thereby bringing new audiences in as customers. 

Ambassadors usually come in the form of influencers, although their size can vary greatly, from micro-influencers with 5,000 followers to celebrities with audiences in the millions. These ambassadors usually enjoy benefits through their involvement with the brand and can expect to receive a variation of perks depending on the program. There are many reasons why brand ambassador programs have become so popular today, and the high degree of benefits each party can reap from these arrangements is certainly not to be underestimated.

Shein’s brand ambassador program

So, with the theory out of the way, we can get to discussing how Shein has taken the brand ambassador concept and used it to its advantage to leapfrog other major brands and make its mark among Gen Z-dominated audiences on TikTok, Instagram, and more. 

Simple, welcoming, and accessible 

Shein is currently promoting their newest influencer initiative, the Shein Campus Ambassador program. The page on their website is bright, fun, and to the point, perfect for attracting the Gen Z influencers they most want to work with.

The program is laid out in a very straightforward manner – simply apply, wait for approval, get access to your unique affiliate code, and start sharing and earning rewards. They’ve even provided a simple application form built into the webpage which you can access after logging in with your Shein account.

This format is great because it makes applying for the program quick and easy, reducing the time it takes for potential applicants to get on board. The language used is also very welcoming and makes everyone feel like they can have the chance at being a Shein influencer, rather than positioning itself as an elite program only for those luckiest to be chosen. However, they still communicate that applications are only open from the 1st to the 20th of each month, which can create a sense of urgency amongst hopefuls and push them to apply sooner rather than later.

Landing page tools such as HypeAuditor help to facilitate the easy creation of pages just like this one, making it even simpler to run brand ambassador programs. This tool helps to create a customizable sign-up page so it can be aligned with the brand’s image and style, while also making it seamless for influencers to apply to join the program. The details entered on this page are linked with HypeAuditor’s in-house CRM tool, My Network, meaning all the influencer’s information and contact details will be captured for future communication and reference.

Targeting the right crowd

As previously mentioned, Shein is a brand that focuses its marketing efforts on Gen Z, a group that comprises the majority of its consumer base. Naturally, an ambassador program focused on university and college students is a great way to recruit those that can speak directly to their audience, and of course, may already be a part of their existing audience.

This is shown not only in the name of the program but in the design of its webpage and the visuals they’ve gone for, showcasing its knowledge of its target market and its desire to appeal to them in particular.

Perks are clearly communicated

When it comes to joining brand ambassador programs, what matters for many of the creators who want to get on board is understanding what benefits they stand to gain from taking part. Ultimately, while an influencer may just love a brand and want the honor of working with them, there needs to be a feasible reason for them to do so, and Shein does a great job at putting their creators’ potential rewards front and center. 

Shein’s program offers ambassadors the opportunity to earn commission on sales made using their unique referral code, a perk that would be highly appealing to younger creators who may be reliant on income from side hustles such as this. They are also given the opportunity to make use of mentorship programs and internships, which are relevant to younger people, and also gain access to special giveaways and invitations to exclusive events. This variety of rewards can make applicants feel as though their efforts are being recognized, and the transparency may also be highly appreciated, as it is noted that Gen Z in particular is a demographic that is more prone to skepticism from brands and highly values honesty in marketing and advertising.

Proof of a job well done

Now that we’ve analyzed how Shein has structured its most recent brand ambassador campaign, we can dive into just how successful its current and past efforts have been in promoting the brand and securing the awareness, reach, and sales that they’ve been looking for.

We’ve already determined that Shein’s revenue for 2022 is eclipsing that of some of the world’s largest fashion retailers, but what do the stats tell us about their social media performance? Well, unsurprisingly, the numbers are staggering, with the analytics from 2022 showing that Shein is among the top 3 brands most mentioned by influencers on Instagram with an average of 12,000 mentions by 4,500 influencers on a monthly basis. This is more than 50% higher than the next major brand in the ranking, Fashion Nova, which just so happens to be another major fast-fashion retailer. 

Their other prominent brand ambassador program, #SHEINgals, was a major proponent of this success, with the hashtag being used in more than 20,000 influencer posts in the first half of 2022, with an average of more than 500 posts every single day being created by Shein brand ambassadors – proving that these ambassadors push the brand’s notoriety to new heights on social media.

A further element of success can be drawn from the gender ratio of Shein’s brand ambassadors. Statistics show that the majority of Shein’s audience is female, particularly when looking at their website visits as well as their followers on social media platforms. As such, Shein employs the approach of using almost exclusively female influencers to promote styles, outfits, and accessories on Instagram, TikTok, and more – over 96% in fact. This has helped them to better target the target market that matters to them and helps to keep their influencer efforts focused.


Brand ambassador programs are crucial to the success of many brands in today’s Gen Z-oriented, social media-driven age, and Shein may as well be the poster child for this phenomenon. Their approach to capitalizing on social media to reach the audiences that matter most to them is paramount to their success, as well as their tactics in forming and running brand ambassador programs, is something that many other brands, particularly those in the fashion and beauty space, can learn from

It’s clear that one of the key things to get right is to know your target market and base your ambassador search and marketing strategy around that first and foremost. This will allow you to appeal directly to your customers and start working with them in a more influencer-focused capacity. Deciding on perks and benefits is another important part of the process, as they need to specifically appeal to these creators as well as aptly reward the degree of expectations you may have from them. Deciding upon hashtags to use is also vital as this can get people aware and involved with your brand ambassador campaigns, as well as give you something tangible to track the results and virality of the campaign

As Shein’s star continues to shine in the fashion world, let their successful brand ambassador programs be a source of inspiration for other hopefuls looking to achieve the same thing.

Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 137.2M+ account database.
Candice is an influencer marketing enthusiast and marketing copywriter at HypeAuditor. When she’s not searching for the perfect music and filters for her Instagram Stories, she can usually be found keeping up with the latest gaming and tech influencers on Twitch and YouTube – or drinking a latte macchiato.
Topics:Relationship ManagementFashion
April 11, 2023
Don’t forget to share this post!
Candice is an influencer marketing enthusiast and marketing copywriter at HypeAuditor. When she’s not searching for the perfect music and filters for her Instagram Stories, she can usually be found keeping up with the latest gaming and tech influencers on Twitch and YouTube – or drinking a latte macchiato.
Level Up Your Influencer Marketing with HypeAuditor
G2 Global Leader among influencer marketing tools trusted by 750,000 businesses and influencers
Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 137.2M+ account database.