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Nordstrom's Instagram Page

This screenshot shows a glimpse of Nordstrom’s Instagram page and the types of images that the firm has created for it. Included in the bottom right corner are some statistics highlighting the volume of activity generated through the page and the large number of followers the page has attracted

An interesting article in Forbes discusses Nordstrom’s choice to be the first company to take advantage   of a new service called Like2Buy with the goal of enabling the company to maximize the value of its marketing through Instagram. Like many other retailers Nordstrom uses Instagram to promote its current and new products. The challenge for businesses that promote products on Instagram is that there is no way to place links on individual pages. In fact each business is only allowed one link towards the center of their brand page. When Nordstrom’s social media team shares a photo of a really nice sweater on Instagram they can’t also place a link on that photo’s page that would take any interested users directly to the part of their website where they could then purchase that sweater.

It’s not uncommon for visitors of Instagram in an instance like the one above to ask in the comments section where and how they can purchase what is being shown in the photograph. Nordstrom’s acknowledges that in the past their social media team would reply to these types of comments with guidance on where to find the item and what its item number was, but this was often very time consuming and labor intensive. Additionally, if the response to a comment from an interested consumer fails to come in a timely manner that individual could potentially forget about the item or attempt try and  find it through a self-driven search effort. Taking this even further, if their search effort fails to yield the desired result within an acceptable amount of time their efforts would most likely end there.

For marketers gaining an understanding of the customer journey and providing the means to help facilitate a customer’s progress through their respective journey is an important part of achieving success in marketing. In the digital space the ability to accomplish this is further enhanced by the wealth of data related to user actions and interactions that are available for tracking and analysis. In some cases a customer’s journey is a complex one and in other cases it is a simple one. But no matter what it’s important that at the point when a customer is engaged and ready to make a purchase or commitment that the means of doing so is made as simple as possible. Companies have seen that once the intent to buy has been established the more steps that are involved in getting the user to the point where they can make the purchase the higher the drop-off rate is.

Like2Buy provides Nordstrom’s and other companies the opportunity to use the one link they are allowed on their Instagram brand page to show visitors a grid with all of the items within the company’s Instagram feed that are also currently available for sale from the company. Visitors can click on the displayed images in order to go directly to the part of the company’s website where they can purchase the selected product.

When it comes to social media, marketers often discuss how best to determine the ROI of investments in it. Like2Buy which is also set to be adopted by Target and Charlotte Russe is especially attractive because of its ability to both support the translation of a social media investment into retail dollars and  enable a more effective measurement of an organization’s investment in a social media platform (in this case Instagram). The specific Like2Buy page leveraged by Nordstrom’s is designed to have a sort of look and feel similar to Instagram, suggesting a desire to have the page be perceived as an integration within Instagram as opposed to a completely separate component.

From a marketing management perspective here are some questions to consider:

  • Are there any risks that might stem from the strategy being employed by Norstrom’s in terms of a potential response from Instagram or from visitor’s to Nordstrom’s Instagram page?
  • As a social media manager interested in investing in this type of service as a compliment to your company’s Instagram brand page what would you want to know about the potential benefits of implementing this service before you presented it to a decision maker for approval?