Miami, FL--So, here is the trailer. Get ready!
I know some of you are just starting to put your shopping carts together on your website. Keep moving forward! I follow quite a few of you on Instagram. Nice job! Some are to the point and some are very creative (and I loved seeing that you had our successful Preferred Jewelry Spa Weekend posts on your profiles). And I love how you are promoting all your special events and drawing business into your store.
But hold on to your hats! We have just now started seeing advertising and purchasing on Instagram—a hint of what is about to ensue. Instagram has posted a new mission statement: “A visual platform that will be expanding into a commerce platform.” Let me try and give you a prequel into the next shopping “craze.”
It all starts with fashion. The fashion industry is the first to test and Instagram wants to connect the dots between product discovery and purchase. They will be starting with 20 U.S.-based brands. These brands gradually started showing posts that were tagged with product. When clicked, the tag opens up a “details” page with information such as product name, price, and description. From there, users can click a link to the product’s page on the brand’s website.
When describing the incentive for brands and stores to participate, they all used the word “seamless” to describe the increasingly relevant aspect of shopping digitally. Another positive point made by retailers is that Instagram is essential when storytelling and highlighting retail transformation to consumers.
Retailers are calling this as another huge step in the future of online shopping. One retailer calls it a game changer as it is very convenient to scroll through the Instagram feed. Some say that this may eat away at Instagram’s relevance but others say that it only emphasizes the need for social networks to serve the customer.
Once again Instagram is saying this is not just about making Instagram shop-able, it’s ultimately about connecting visual content to commerce, wherever it exists. This is just one more way to see the “experience” coming to the customer where he or she is shopping and living. The mantra is: “The ability to see something you love and get it seamlessly – that is what the world expects today.” (We called it “instant self-gratification” when I was growing up!)
“Star” bloggers are also getting into the game. Brands and/or start-ups use bloggers who can influence shoppers as they see them as a way to maintain relevance to social shopping to attract and use influencers to grow their audience.
As of right now, Instagram does not profit from its new feature. But Instagram spokespersons say it could lend itself nicely to advertising in the future.
In the immediate future, the observable changes on Instagram will be discreet and limited. But the capabilities signal a shift, and for many it was a long time coming. So get ready, do your research. It’s going to be your new shopping platform.
I as an Instagram person love it! See it, click it, buy it! Who would have ever thought this brick-and-mortar girl would become an “Instagram Shopaholic,” but it is what’s next. --Andie
Andie Weinman, president and CEO of Preferred Jewelers International / Continental Buying Group Inc., was born with the “Jewelry Gene” working in the jewelry industry since she was only ten years old. Her first job was as a cashier in the opening of a catalog showroom doing a fantastic job even at that tender age. Andie holds a B.A. in musical theatre and a B.S. in marine biology from The University of Tampa. When she realized that seawater and marine biology were not good on her hair and she wasn’t quite good enough to make it on Broadway, the jewelry business beckoned. Andie has picked diamonds, sorted color stones, shot waxes and performed a multitude of jobs in the manufacturing of jewelry. Her negotiating experience and prowess has given her the reputation as being tough but fair in her dealings with vendors. In 2012 the Indian Diamond and Color Association awarded Andie the Prestigious Doyenne Award of the Year.