New platform lets you buy what you ‘like’ on Instagram


If you follow your favorite retailers on Instagram, chances are you've "liked" an item you want to buy. But when you search through the fashion retailers website, you can never seem to find the item.

Nordstrom and Target have teamed with visual marketing and analytics firm Curalate to let your buy what you like on Instagram  in an instant.

High-end department store Nordstrom launched Curalate's platform called Like2Buy on Thursday, which works just like social networks. What makes it unique is that photos are directly linked to the item on the retailer's store when a user "likes" the image.

"This is the first experience of its kind," Nordstrom's director of social media, Bryan Galipeau says. "And it's the closest thing out there-that I'm aware of-in terms of delivering a seamless shopping experience."

Other social network sites feature direct links in posts. Instagram only allows users to see the item, not click on a link that would direct them to where exactly they can purchase what they see in the photo. Like2Buy would cut the extra step needed to search for the item, answering popular Instagram user's questions such as: Where do I buy this? How much does this cost?

"Like2Buy enhances the experience for customers who want to take the next step and learn more about the great fashion we're featuring, to make a purchase or save items for another time," says Galipeau.

Nordstrom linked its Like2Buy profile on its Instagram profile that has about 529,000 followers. Users simply click on the link that will take them to the shadow site's profile where a gallery of items is displayed. When you click on the image of the product to purchase, you are redirected to exactly where it is on retailer's site. Users can also see reviews for the item or go to "My Likes" to see items they saved for later.

Like2Buy is the answer to the billion dollar question for retailers: how do they cash in on our users? Instagram has 200 million users and 60 million photos are shared every day. The popular photo app is a great platform for engagement, delivering brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, a Forrester Research study found.

"Everybody is trying to hack Instagram," said Apu Gupta, the co-founder of Philadelphia-based Curalate, the firm that built Like2Buy. "There's an enormous audience here that is very engaged in what these brands are pushing out. [Like2Buy] makes it very easy for consumers to engage with a product and buy quickly."

Target will launch the platform on its Instagram page in the next few days. Like2Buy is available to more than 250 brands that work with Curalate, including Gap and Neiman Marcus.

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