One of the nice things about Instagram is that unlike the rest of the web, the platform is generally devoid of annoying hyperlinks in posts and comments. However, while no hyperlinks make a cleaner user experience, they also make it hard for e-commerce brands to drive shoppers to external sites.
Instagram hasn’t exactly helped these brands, as they only allow each profile a single hyperlink on the brand’s main page.
One solution is Photoslurp, a service that provides brands with a custom profile hyperlink that once clicked, will take shoppers to an external e-commerce site with the same look and feel as Instagram.
This Instagram-style page integrates directly with a store’s inventory, making it an intermediate site between lifestyle pictures of a product, and the page to actually purchase that product.
Above: Photoslurp’s platform on the left, Instagram on the right.
Essentially, the company is betting that a photo-based, Instagram-like shopping experience will lead to more sales than if a company just provided a link to their main website. And, it seems to be working. According to the company, beta tests have shown click-through rates of around 60 percent.
In addition to this shoppable Instagram platform, the company also offers a visual commerce experience that lets brands find and user photos of customers advocating the brand’s products, which boasts customer like Birchbox Spain and Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic. Ben Heinkel, the company’s cofounder and CTO, says that the company eventually hopes to provide brands with “a unified visual marketing platform, from which they are able to manage all their visual content in one place.”
While Instagram may eventually turn on the switch for in-app e-commerce purchases, it seems that third-party workarounds like Photoslurp are currently the best bet for brands trying to turn social media users into paid customers.