Making Instagram Shoppable

On every retailer’s to-do list this year is to monetizeInstagram.  The concept is a no-brainer as the visual social network gains more interaction than Twitter and Facebook.  Executing a sale from the platform, however, isn’t as easy as a quick like, specifically because there is no outbound linking from a photo.  Retailers have been struggling to figure out ways to monetize this content.  We’ve see tactics like using the product SKU as the location of the photo, using the entire product name for easier online search later, shortened URLs used in copy for easy memory, and the ever-present shop-able Instagram galleries on websites.

None of these are perfect, of course, as Instagram is after all a social platform not an ecommerce platform. But some retailers have put new solutions in place just in time for this holiday season, partnering with start-ups in an attempt to figure it out. With the insights they’ll gain this season, if not the sales, these retailers will have a solid start on their social commerce strategy.  Here are some examples:


Nordstrom Like2Buy Instagram Shopping

Innovator Nordstrom partnered with  Curalate to launch their Like2Buy service. The service is basically a shoppable web gallery (outside of Instagram) that the users have to click through from the Nordstrom profile page. The stronger selling point is the curated gallery aspect, in which you can shop only the selection of  photos you’ve liked previously.  Target and Charlotte Russe have also signed on as early launch partners.

Fox & Fawn:

Beverly Hames, an owner of Fox & Fawn, a vintage boutique in Brooklyn, says that sales arising from pictures she posts free on the store’s Instagram feed, now account for 20 to 40 percent of daily revenue.

Even boutiques and small businesses are leveraging shop-able Instagram solutions.  Vintage Brooklyn outpost Fox & Fawn utilizes vendor Soldsie to let users leave comments with a hashtag to reserve goods from a photo. Users then have to call to pay but with a more established retailer’s ecommerce site, the users could checkout online.



The uber popular affiliate blogger network launched LikeToKnowIt, a service that utilizes email bounce backs as the mode of shopping from a blogger’s outfit post on Instagram. Vogue was the first magazine to make its feed shoppable using this service.  They also just announced a partnership with BCBG for fashion week that will enable a shoppable runway.


Check out highlights from around the web:

Nordstrom Wants You to Shop on Instagram (Business Week)

Buy What You Like: You Can Now Shop Straight from Instagram (Forbes)

You Can Now Shop the Runway Just Minutes After a Show With These Chic New Apps (Glamour)

On Instagram, a Bazaar Where You Least Expect It (New York Times)

3 Startups Making Instagram Shoppable (Fashionista)


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