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Instagram accounts are being converted into shopping platforms and photos are becoming a way to tap into a crucial revenue stream
Instagram accounts are being converted into shopping platforms and photos are becoming a way to tap into a crucial revenue stream

Turn instagram into a shopping delight

Instagram is much more than an online photo sharing tool that jewellery businesses can use to generate customer buzz. LILIAN SUE looks at how retailers can turn the platform into a shopping haven.

It’s no secret that successful jewellery retailers in today’s market are the ones who can catch the attention of consumers both in person and online. One sure-fire way to achieve this is by sharing high-quality images on photo-centric social media platforms like Instagram.

Instagram currently has more than 300 million monthly users – including businesses that regularly post pictures of product, staff and even behind-the-scenes activity to their pages for cross promotion on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to recent breakthroughs by retailers like US-based luxury fashion brands Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, the potential benefits of Instagram extend much further than sharing a business’ personality through fun product images. Instagram accounts are being converted into shopping platforms and photos are becoming a way to tap into a crucial revenue stream.

Creating a shopper’s paradise

Until recently, it was difficult for companies to use Instagram to drive customer spending as the platform does not allow active hyperlinking to be embedded in photo captions – making it impossible to redirect browsing Instagram users to e-commerce stores or other sites. But retailers have been getting creative and a bevy of new tools are being introduced that can assist jewellery businesses in using Instagram as a sales platform to drive foot traffic into stores.

Marc Jacobs, for example, recently set about simplifying the customer’s path to purchase. When a registered Instagram follower ‘likes’ a photo on the Marc Jacobs Beauty account containing the hashtag #ShopMJB, an email related to the featured product will be sent to that follower’s inbox.

US-based department store Nordstrom has also attempted to convert its Instagram followers into customers using a tool called Like2Buy, which eliminates the need for consumers to open a separate browser to search for product. Instead, users simply click on the Like2Buy link featured on the company’s Instagram profile to be transported to a page where the items are available for purchase.

Another new tool called InSelly allows business owners to convert their Instagram profile into an online store by adding the hashtag #inselly to images they wish to sell. Once the hashtags have been added, Instagram photos are automatically loaded into the InSelly store and are available for purchase by customers.

What’s more, in March 2015, Instagram released a function for companies that advertise on the platform to help encourage consumer spending. Initially introduced on a limited basis, ‘carousel ads’ allow people viewing paid posts to swipe left to see additional related images and a link to a website of the business’s choice.

It’s early days, and jewellers may want to observe how the bigger companies are leveraging these opportunities before jumping into anything, but what is clear is that the potential to drive sales via Instagram is very real.

Getting creative with marketing

Any Instagram shopping haven is going to be more effective if it features engaging content.

Pandora's instagram posts preview new collections

Instagram gives businesses the flexibility to share not only all kinds of photos but videos as well. Instagram Video’s 15-second timeframe provides a perfect way to entice customers with breaking news regarding a retailer’s store. Customers will definitely love the original content and it will help a business stand out from the rest of the competition.

When it comes to posting videos, try to show real-time footage of people purchasing jewellery during special VIP events in-store along with the launch of new collections. Jewellery company Pandora does a great job of this on Instagram, sharing sneak peeks of new charms. The brand’s ‘Travel the World’ inspiration video is an example of how to effectively use this feature – it received more than 7,500 ‘likes’!

If there is a group of photos that needs to stand out from other images being posted, try writing on them. An app known as A Beautiful Mess allows users to write directly on the image, adding fun fonts and doodles to help effectively designate certain products as on-sale items. Another app called Frametastic gives users the ability to frame up to six photos in a variety of designs and backgrounds. The images can even be turned into a video slideshow montage – a great way to create look-books for a new collection.

The opportunities for a business to not only connect with its audience but also generate sales via Instagram continue to expand. What’s more, jewellers have the added advantage of working with arguably some of the world’s most photogenic products.

Stones & Silver

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