Another Valentine’s Day, another collection of photos featuring chocolate, flowers and jewelry populating every homepage and social feed. This year, U.S. consumers are projected to spend $18.9 billion on Valentine’s Day presents for their loved ones, with the bulk of that spend going toward jewelry and candy. It’s not that shoppers don’t want to buy unique gifts; it’s just really tough to get inspired when they’re bombarded with images of the standard items year after year.
Many consumers now turn to visual networks like Instagram for inspiration from friends, family and complete strangers on what to buy, but the process of then finding these items online and ordering them can be a challenge.
That’s changing in 2015. The odds are ever in the favor of retailers who have been trying to visually inspire lovebirds (and non-lovebirds!) to think outside the box. With Curalate’s Like2Buy solution, this is the first year in which Instagram is available to drive consumers to the products they find – a major win for brands considering the level of engagement on this channel. Here are five ways brands are mastering the art of Instagram to inspire and sell.
1. Regram your fans’ photos to showcase products IRL.
Featuring user-generated content is one of the most influential ways to capture a consumer’s attention, and HauteLook is doing just that this season of love. The brand regrammed a fan’s photo of her bedroom set, which included a couple of romantic pillows that are available on HauteLook’s site. This customer loved the pillows upon receiving them, took a great photo and ended up creating authentic, useful content for HauteLook. Fans responded enthusiastically with many expressing that they absolutely need these items, too. With the integration of Like2Buy into HauteLook’s Instagram, consumers can quickly go from admiring these pillows on Instagram to snuggling up to them at home.
2. Play coy.
Gap is taking the innovative route this year by launching the first-ever microseries featured on Instagram, “Spring is Weird.” While Valentine’s Day is not the focal point of the videos, the brand has created a love story between two characters to captivate its audience. The main video lives in Gap’s Like2Buy gallery, which drives consumers to the remaining videos or to shop the products featured in the clip. This deeply engaging shopping experience is what sets this campaign apart from others.
3. Seduce them with the look of love.
On its Instagram feed, jewelry brand Alex and Ani is featuring products that speak to the nature of Valentine’s Day. The red bracelets displayed in front of romantic artwork immediately let the consumer know that these are accessories they could buy for a loved one or for themselves in the spirit of love. Smart calls-to-action plant the seeds of desire. Consumers don’t have to take the time to ask where they can buy these bracelets, as Alex and Ani uses the photo’s location tag and image description to direct people to their profile link to nab these charming accessories.
4. Put the power of DIY Valentine’s at consumers’ fingertips.
It’s often said that handmade gifts tend to be the most appreciated because they come from the heart, and craft retailer Michael’s is tapping into that. The brand’s Instagram feed is populated with images of DIY Valentine’s Day crafts. By clicking on the profile link, users are directed to the Michael’s Like2Buy page, which makes their feed shoppable. Each photo directs users to a page on the Michael’s website that provides a shopping list for the necessary items and step-by-step directions on how to complete the project.
5. Cater to the “Galentine’s” crowd.
Valentine’s Day can make any single person feel a little bitter, and Victoria’s Secret Pink is using Instagram to help soften the blow. “Fries before guys?” Sure, why not. By featuring this shirt on Instagram, VS Pink is able to tap into the humorous side of this heartfelt holiday. By tapping on VS Pink’s profile link, consumers can quickly find where this product lives online and purchase it for themselves or a friend.
Converting Enthusiasm on Instagram Into Revenue
The average person who celebrates Valentine’s Day will spend $142.31 on gifts this year, putting retailers in an optimal position to capture their share of the demand. It might take some time for consumers to break from the tradition of flowers and candy, but the enthusiasm they’re showing on brands’ Valentine’s Day content is a great sign. The key to turning their Instagram likes into revenue is simplifying the conversion process.