As retailer's marketing strategies shift towards personalized content and less digital noise, Instagram provides the perfect platform for this. As one writer at The New York Times wrote, “Instagram isn’t designed to be an e-commerce site, and that’s part of its appeal to me.. For me, Instagram resembles a modern-day bazaar."
The visual nature of Instagram means that retailers can successfully use it to promote products. Bauble Bar asks users to post selfies with their jewels, and by using a hashtag, can pull them onto the product detail page on their e-commerce site. 30 to 35% of Bauble Bar’s audience engages with this widget, with conversion 4 to 4.5 times higher among this audience. While there currently isn’t a way for users to buy products directly through Instagram, apps, like LIKEtoKNOWit are helping fill the gap.
Retailers can also use Instagram to build brand culture. This year, Sephora promoted its collections through Instagram by tying it to the culture of Coachella. With a dedicated hashtag, festival goers were able to use a photo booth to share selfies on Instagram, giving them a chance to be featured on the Sephora’s network and also promote their new wares to their own followers. Instagram gave Sephora a chance to also include consumers that weren’t able to attend the festival by giving them a behind-the-scenes look at what was happening, from backstage photos to real-time, live coverage.