Target and Nordstrom have rolled out a new service that makes impulse purchases terrifyingly simple. It's called Like2Buy and it's basically Instagram made to Instashop. On Like2Buy, retailers display their merchandise in square Instagram-style photos; click on one and you're taken directly to the item's page on the retailer's own website. See. Like. Click. Buy.
Curalate, the marketing and analytics firm behind Like2Buy, pitches it as the "missing link" that will turn user engagement on Instagram into traffic and revenue for companies. Instagram claims to have 200 million regular users who have shared more than 20 billion photos to date. That audience is thought to be four times as large as that of Pinterest, another visually oriented social media site. In April, a study from technology and research firm Forrester declared Instagram the "king of social engagement" and said brands using it had 58 times more success in getting followers to interact with their posts than they did on Facebook.
Both Target and Nordstrom have posted links to their Like2Buy pages on their Instagrams. Bryan Galipeau, director of social media at Nordstrom, told Businessweek that having Like2Buy will address questions frequently posted in the company's Instagram comments such as "How much does this cost?" and "Where can I buy this?"
Turning active users on social media into active spenders for a brand is something that no one has quite cracked the code on yet. Pinterest has been testing "Promoted Pins" that advertisers can buy to raise their visibility. Twitter has sponsored tweets, and Facebook is constantly experimenting with ads. But the company that turns a social network into a virtual aisle of impulse items has a good shot at being crowned "king of social engagement."