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Coach unzips shoppable Instagram ad for exclusive look at fall items

Accessories marketer Coach is leveraging Instagram’s new shoppable advertising units to ramp up excitement for its fall handbag collection, projecting an aura of exclusivity by offering users of the photo-sharing application an invitation to be the first to shop the new items.

Coach has sponsored the ad to appear on select users’ feeds, as part of Instagram’s new initiative to serve consumers with more relevant advertising from brands they may be interested in. Fans of the marketer’s leather goods may not be aware that the new fall collection is currently shoppable, leaving open a wide opportunity for Coach to ramp up sales and also shower users with the first alert to buy now.

“Instagram has become a luxury lookbook for many users,” said Gary Schwartz, president and CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. “Facebook has built creative ad units for Instagram that help eliminate any barrier or interruption in these users’ fashion image scroll.

“On the small screen, any barrier will drive abandonment-of-intent to click and the user will have moved on.”

Fueling shopping desire
Consumers are becoming increasingly more expectant of the opportunity to directly shop content featured on Instagram by their favorite brands. Previously, some marketers have tapped external applications and sites such as Like2Buy, which enable users to click a link in the brand’s Instagram profile and buy the products from the third-party platform.

Instagram’s shoppable units are making the purchasing process much more streamlined by featuring a “shop now” or “book now” button on the bottom right of the advertisement.

Once a potential customer clicks the button, he or she will be brought to the brand’s mobile site, where he or she may add the product to the shopping cart and check out via a personal device.

Coach has targeted consumers on Instagram who may be interested in its products, and has served them the ad promoting its new fall 2015 collection. The brand is tapping an aura of exclusivity for Instagram users by giving them the first alert that the line is now shoppable online and on mobile.

“‘Early announcements for our best customers’ are not a new retail trick, and they work,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, Miami. “If the shopper likes something she sees, and the retailer provides the option, it makes a lot of sense to punch out to the Web site.”

As the ads are targeted based on the brands that consumers already follow, Coach has a much better chance of reaching its target demographic as well as marketing to potential new customers. This strategy will likely be tapped by a larger amount of brands as the holiday season creeps closer, due to the sheer convenience that shoppable ads offer individuals.

If someone is searching for the perfect holiday gift for their mother and sees the sponsored Coach ad pop up on his or her Instagram feed, he or she may be inspired to press the “shop now” button and purchase the leather bag shown in the photo. This eliminates the need to go gift-hunting in stores or busy shopping centers at peak season.

Coach is not the only accessories marketer leveraging this approach to driving more mobile sales.

Cole Haan is one of the premier lifestyle brands tapping a new in-app feature that enables users to browse Instagram content and purchase items directly within the app via Apple Pay, underscoring the need for shoppable social newsfeeds (see story).

The proliferation of mobile payment solutions will likely carry over to shoppable social media ads in a bid to offer users a streamlined checkout.

Pushing mobile’s buttons
Coach has been engaging in a mobile blitz in recent months, proving the brand’s dedication to catering to millennials as well as older demographics.

Last month, Coach enabled fans to virtually place their pets in Coach bags via a new feature in the brand’s mobile application whose launch coincides with the kick-off of the #CoachPups campaign to raise funds to combat animal cruelty (see story).

Previously, the brand invited Insta-famous personalities to customize pictures of bags in their own manner to celebrate consumer individuality (see story).

Coach has potential to ramp up the effectiveness of its shoppable ad even more.

“I believe more can be done around its messaging to make its offerings feel more exclusive for its Instagram followers,” said Lea Solimine, marketing manager at Flite, San Francisco. “For example – by explicitly calling out ‘exclusively for our Instagram friends’ in the ad unit, or by sharing a special promotion code for Instagrammers only.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York