Communications and sales channels are blurring – extract from CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101948093
Attention fashion lovers: It just got easier to shop on Instagram.
Both high-end department store Nordstrom and big-box retailer Targetare teaming up with Curalate, a visual marketing and analytics firm, to launch Like2Buy, a platform that seamlessly allows Instagram users to make purchases when they see an item they like on their feeds.
The concept is dangerously easy: By clicking on the retailers’ profile pages, users can bring up a gallery of shoppable Instagram photos, and click through to go directly to the retailer’s website. There, they can read product reviews and make a purchase through the retailer’s secure page.
Users can also use a function in the Instagram gallery, called “My Likes,” to save items for later.
“We connect with more than 500,000 customers on Instagram by posting items we hope they find inspirational, beautiful and fun,” said Bryan Galipeau, social media director at Nordstrom. “Like2Buy enhances the experience for customers who want to take the next step and learn more about the great fashion we’re featuring, to make a purchase or save items for another time.”
Apu Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Curalate, said Instagram is an “amazing” platform for engagement. He cited a recent study by Forrester Research, which found that the image-driven platform delivered brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
“There’s an enormous audience here that is very engaged in what these brands are pushing out,” Gupta said, adding that it was frustrating for both marketers and shoppers when consumers couldn’t easily purchase an item they liked. “[Like2Buy] makes it very easy for consumers to engage with a product and buy quickly.”
Although many tout the importance of brands connecting with consumers over social media platforms, they have struggled to take off as a significant revenue stream for companies. According to a recent report by IBM, only about 1 percent of visitors arrive at retail sites from social media pages.
“I think that’s been the whole reason why we were so eager to do this,” Gupta said.
Last year, Curalate launched Fanreel, a product that allowed brands to incorporate user-generated images onto their websites and product pages. About 50 brands, including Urban Outfitters and Wet Seal, launched the product, and saw the rate at which traffic from Instagram turned into sales increase collectively by about 26 percent.
Like2Buy is available to the more than 450 brands that work with Curalate, including Gap and Neiman Marcus. The individual brands need to opt in to activate the service on their Instagram pages.
The product is already live on Nordstrom’s Instagram page. It will launch on Target’s page in the next few days, Gupta said.
—By CNBC’s Krystina Gustafson