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Instagram fashion influencers have cultivated their own “Instagram Style” of constantly evolving cult fashion items that quickly become must-have (and scarce) commodities. As the prevalence of these influences continues to grow, fashion companies have even begun to incorporate Instagram influencers into their plans for new product releases. That is, designers now pre-launch an item to popular Instagram influencers, with a request for a post that features the item, to be uploaded within a certain timeframe. Then the social media platform’s algorithms can be leveraged to boost views and product exposure.

Until recently though, this “Instagram Style” approach relied on word of mouth. Designers had to find the right influencers to represent its brand, and then they had sit back and hope that the post would be interesting enough to spark sharing, while also providing sufficient information to help potential customers find and purchase the sought-after item.

Noting this limitation, Instagram has developed a new platform, LIKEtoKNOW.it, that is designed to help retailers connect with customers. Instagram users can take screen shots of their favorite influencer, then access the imagine on the LIKEtoKNOW.it application. Retailers that have entered into agreements with Instagram can ensure that their own fashion and apparel items load, immediately available for purchase, with just an easy click. Each influencer also can host a variety of items for sale.

Other vendors are taking notice of Instagram’s new application and have asked to leverage the capabilities of the platform to help connect customers with desired fashion and accessories. A new brand called Choosy encourages users to include a #GetChoosy tag on their Instagram posts. The company’s Style Scouts review each day’s hashtags, identify items featured in the related image, and then make the most popular items available for purchase on the Choosy website within 48 hours. Choosy also will rely on its own in-house design team and manufacturing facilities to create look-alikes of popular fashion and apparel items and offer these items for sale, often in as little as two weeks. With this approach, the company can adapt to ever-changing consumer tastes and stay on top of the latest “Instagram Style” trends.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is involved in Instagram’s new offering? Is it a product, a service, a channel, or some combination?
  2. Would you use LIKEtoKNOW.it? Why or why not?

Source: Jessica Sulima, “What’s Next for Cult Fashion Items on Instagram as the Platform Becomes More Shoppable,” Adweek, July 10, 2018; Ana Colon, “6 Summer Fashion Trends All Over Instagram,” Glamour, June 15, 2018