A representation of the user journey of the reminder feature. By Instagram
NEW YORK — In early September, streetwear brand Chinatown Market released a limited-edition T-shirt in four colours that was sold exclusively on Instagram’s in-app Checkout. Priced at $10 instead of the New York brand’s usual $40, the shirts sold out in seconds. “Instagram is the main place we connect with our fans, and the response [to these Instagram-only drops] has been incredible,” says Chinatown Market president Dan Altmann. “We have yet to see any other platform that even scratches that surface.”
Instagram is now formalising such experiments by rolling out a feature that will integrate product drop tools directly onto the platform. Launching on Monday, the US-only feature lets brands add ‘reminder’ buttons from the stickers tray to any new launch announcements they post on Instagram Stories. They can also add product detail and launch date tags to photos on their feeds; when clicked, the tag will let followers enable reminders for the product release. If they opt in, they’ll receive push notification reminders both one day and 15 minutes before the drop. Customers who shop the drop are directed to purchase through Instagram’s in-app Checkout.
The feature is currently available to only 20 brands, including Adidas and Levi’s, which are part of the US beta launch of Checkout. It is a way to capitalise on behaviour that’s already taking place on the platform, says Eva Chen, Instagram’s head of fashion. Brands and retailers have been using the countdown sticker — created to mark time until events like a holiday — to tease new collection launches. “We also know from sneaker culture that people are sitting and waiting and refreshing the page over and over again until they can purchase.”
Highlighting product drops is Instagram’s latest attempt to make shopping on the platform easier. Enabling reminders may help brands convert potential customers who don’t have the patience to keep refreshing until a product is live, says Altmann.
For most of Instagram’s existence, it facilitated purchases elsewhere via paid and organic content. In March, it launched the in-app Checkout function, for which it charges an undisclosed selling fee, for roughly 25 brands, before extending it to influencers like Aimee Song and Gigi Hadid. It also started the @shop account in May, which spotlights products from upstart fashion, beauty and home brands curated by an editorial team led by Leigh Belz Ray, a former branded content director at Condé Nast, which publishes Vogue Business.
The success of this shopping push is hard to quantify so far. Of the 1 billion Instagram accounts worldwide, 80 per cent of people using the app follow a business and 130 million people tap to reveal a product tag each month. The company declined to comment on the amount of monthly in-app purchases or how they’ve increased since launch.
Drops for (almost) everyone
While drops culture is heavily associated with streetwear, Chen expects the new feature to be especially popular with beauty brands and those launching new, non-streetwear collaborations. Claudia Soare, president of Anastasia Beverly Hills, says the tool will help meet customer demand. The beauty brand dropped its limited-edition eyeshadow palette with influencer Jackie Aina on Instagram Checkout in August, which sold out within a few hours. “The beauty industry has gotten faster, and customers expect brands to move more quickly. This will allow us to give our followers what they’re looking for at the exact time they’re looking for it.”
Read the full article on Vogue Business.