If you spend a lot of time on Instagram, then you might have noticed a few things popping up lately. In between all the aerial shots of legs and coffees and "oh look, a close up of a pumpkin patch!" photos, you may have picked up on the fact that people are really, really trying to make Instagram shoppable. And if you haven't already connected features like LikeToKnowIt and Like2Buy with the fact that people are trying to sale things through Instagram, well — now you know. Brands recognize how powerful Instagram is for connecting with customers, and they're trying to monetize the process in any way they can. And when you think about it, it's kind of a great idea.
We already all visit Instagram to see what our favorite brands are selling and bloggers are wearing. If we could simply buy the items that we saw right there in the photo with one click, that'd be pretty convenient and wonderful, wouldn't it? Extremely detrimental to bank accounts, maybe, but convenient in any case. I know I'm not the only one who has seen a have-to-have item on Instagram only to forget about it later when I'm shopping online. And as a dedicated shopper who is almost always looking for creative ways to spend money
So what's up with all of these features and apps? Are there any differences between all of them? Are they even easy to use? We all have a lot of questions, and that makes sense; it's hard to even look through an Instagram feed without seeing one or two pop up in the caption of a bloggers or brand's photo.
Like2Buy utilizes the one clickable link that Instagram does allow you to insert—the link in your profile. Whenever you, a customer, like a photo in that particular brand's feed, you're created a curated wish list of items you like, a list that you can find at that Like2Buy link at the top of the brand's profile. Once you head to that link, you'll see a collection of the items you liked and you can easily shop for them all from there. Not exactly seamless, but certainly saves you the trouble of trying to find the product through Google or another search engine. Nordstrom, Target and Charlotte Russe are among the customers of Like2Buy currently.
LikeToKnowIt, a product of the company rewardStyles, is what companies like Vogue have chosen to use on their Instagram accounts to make them shoppable. Many, many fashion bloggers have also hopped on the LikeToKnowIt train. The main difference between this feature from Like2Buy is that instead of providing a link where all the images show up and are shoppable, LikeToKnowIt sends you an email with information (and the ability to easily purchase) that item you just liked.
InstaShop is one of the shoppable Instagram features that is exclusive to one particular brand. InstaShop in particular is a brand new initiative that has been announced with Kenneth Cole. It creates separate Instagram accounts for particular collections and items, and has "regular" people style them in different ways. Then those styles get their own pages, where you can click one link at the top of the profile and shop that item. This may be one of the more creative ways a brand has used Instagram, but begs the question: Can brands simply create an Instagram account for every single item they sell? Probably not.
Another, even more brand specific Instagram shopping feature is ShopMJB, which Marc Jacobs beauty has been featuring on their Instagram page. This works essentially the same was as LikeToKnowIt, but is exclusive to Marc Jacobs Beauty. A good idea, but the same questions of convenience that exist with LikeToKnowIt exist with this as well.