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J. Crew unbuttons gender-specific sales push via menswear-only Instagram account

J. Crew is attempting to direct more attention toward its menswear line by introducing the J. Crew Men’s Instagram account, which enables followers to browse new and classic apparel and accessories before clicking a link in the retailer’s bio to purchase must-have items.

The apparel marketer is engaging in an atypical marketing strategy by segregating its men’s and women’s products into two separate Instagram accounts. However, the specific focus of each account may entice more shoppers to become influenced by its curated posts and choose to browse relevant items, suggesting that retailers may be able to fuel mobile sales by creating offshoot social media accounts.

“In a mobile world with increased mobile user expectations, the more personal and relevant that a brand can be, the better,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize and author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion. “I like to lavish my wife with gifts – okay, I buy her ones every now and then – but I don’t want to constantly see women’s clothing in the hopes that I will buy.”

Suiting up on mobile
J. Crew is angling to emphasize its menswear items to its target audience by recently launching the @jcrewmens account on Instagram, which features photographs of corporate employees, designers and various influencers donning the retailer’s gear.

The brand revealed the J. Crew Men’s new Instagram handle on its primary account, @jcrew, by displaying an image of men’s designer Alexander Olch wearing a J. Crew suit while posing in front of his new cinema and restaurant establishment, the Metrograph.

Clicking on the new handle brings Instagram users to the J. Crew Men’s account page, which bears the tagline, “The @jcrew ladies kicked us out (too many “brogues vs. bluchers” debates), so this is our safe space.”

Followers are able to shop the feed and read the brand’s feature stories by tapping on the Like2Buy link within its Instagram bio.

Since Instagram does not allow shoppable links to be embedded within posts, many retailers leverage third-party platforms such as Like2Buy to enable consumers to shop the exact looks featured in their feeds.

The J. Crew Men’s account, which already boasts more than 3,000 followers, showcases a collection of lifestyle-centric stories and product profiles geared toward male shoppers.

For example, one post displays a photo of Taku Shinomoto, owner of Venice-based Japanese home goods brand Tortoise General Store, wearing a Wallace & Barnes shirt-jacket. The caption invites clothing enthusiasts to click the link in the Instagram bio to discover how to pull off a relaxed yet polished business look by donning a shirt-jacket in lieu of a more formal blazer.

Another post shows J. Crew’s Web designer, Blair, riding his bicycle in Manhattan while wearing the retailer’s Harwick backpack. Consumers wanting to purchase the same accessory can use the Like2Buy link to get taken to J. Crew’s mobile site, where they may complete the checkout process.

Promoting offshoot accounts
While J. Crew is one of the only retailers maintaining separate social media accounts for its men’s and women’s products, other brands such as Target have also forayed into the strategy of dedicating offshoot accounts to different departments or collections.

For example, Target maintains a separate Instagram account, @targetstyle, for its apparel and accessories lines. The account has more than 1.5 million followers, suggesting that more specific social channels can easily attract relevant audiences.

Cosmetics brand Estée Lauder is another marketer that has employed this strategy.

Several months ago, Sephora ramped up excitement for Estée Lauder’s new millennial-centered Instagram account and cosmetics line by bringing its Snapchat followers behind-the-scenes with brand ambassador Kendall Jenner as she prepared for an appearance and modeled beauty products (see story).

Ultimately, J. Crew may be able to inspire more menswear sales by showcasing its latest apparel and accessories – accompanied by mobile-optimized articles and style guides – on the new Instagram account.

“This move is but one step in segmenting an audience,” Mr. Hasen said. “I may only like golf shirts, so the J. Crew’s of the world would be best served by offering me what I want, derived from my previous purchases and other data.”