Friday, February 22, 2019

The merge of social media and e-commerce


Earlier this year, American retailers Nordstrom and Target hired social analytics firm Curulate to create a social platform called Like2Buy, which seamlessly allows users to make purchases when they ‘like‘ an item on their feeds.

At the start of this month, Marc Jacob‘s eponymous beauty line also became shoppable through photo sharing app Instagram. With no current app option for users to click through to and buy products, the news came as revolutionary. This was particularly so because in place of a separate vendor‘s plug-and-play solution, the digital team developed its own e-commerce workaround app in-house – making Marc Jacobs the first retailer to do so.

By providing their e-mail addresses and Instagram handles on a form, customers who like anything from the brand‘s Instagram account which features a #ShopMJB hashtag, will be sent an e-mail with a link to a product page on the Marc Jacobs website.

Now luxury lifestyle brand Michael Kors has joined the bandwagon, attempting to capitalise on its 3.1m Instagram following with the hashtag #InstaKors.Customers can ‘instabuy‘ once they have provided some details on a landing site.

What sets Kors apart from retailers who made the move first, is its high user engagement. The number of followers for Nordstrom‘s Instagram account currently stands at 639k, Target‘s at 468k while Marc Jacobs‘ beauty account comes in with 112k, a mere fraction of Kors‘ social media fan base.

Scott Galloway, founder of Red Envelope and a marketing professor at New York University‘s Stern School of Business, told Business Week that people generally aren‘t in a shopping mood when clicking through a friend‘s photos or reading Tweets.

“So far, social and commerce are strange bedfellows” he explained.

It is worth noting however, that engagement rates on Instagram are 15 to 25 times higher than those on Facebook and Twitter, which makes it a particularly valuable outlet particularly valuable for brands attempting to connect with customers.