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Loft springs into Instagram commerce with celebrity-supported shoppable outfits

Ann Inc.’s Loft is driving sales of its spring apparel line by collaborating with actress Busy Philipps on a series of humorous videos, with several snippets appearing on the retailer’s Instagram account and including a link to purchase.

Loft is continuing its partnership with Cougar Town star Ms. Philipps as it invites shoppers to stock up on warm-weather pieces for spring and summer. The brand is posting several video teasers of Ms. Philipps’s adventures on its Instagram account, and is enabling fans to use the Like2Buy platform to instantly browse and buy the actress’s top clothing and accessories picks, showcasing how influencers can directly inspire mobile sales.

“Loft understands that it only has a few seconds to capture the attention of its followers, and taking snippets of a longer video is a clever way to break through quickly,” said Christine Cline, vice president of marketing at Retale.

“Partnering with celebrities and social media influencers is a smart way to boost credibility and relevancy; it’s critical, though, that a retailer partners with someone who resonates with its target audience.”

Getting busy for springtime
Loft previously tapped Ms. Philipps to star in several humorous YouTube videos as part of its promotion for its fall 2015 clothing line. This season, the retailer is once again leveraging the actress’s comedic talent to fuel sales of warm-weather apparel and accessories.

Loft has been posting several sneak peeks of clips starring Ms. Philipps on its Instagram account, using the hashtag #averybusyspring. The brand is inviting followers to click the link in its profile to view the rest of the videos and shop featured outfits.

In one clip, Ms. Philipps is seen holding a bright pink umbrella and dancing in the rain. She pauses and frowns when the rain stops, prompting the camera to pan out so that users realize the rain is actually coming from a man watering plants with a garden hose.

The subsequent teaser shows the actress purchasing a gigantic bouquet of flowers from a florist truck before walking down the street with a big smile. The unwieldy bouquet accidentally smacks a person sitting at a café table, who glares at Ms. Philipps before the snippet ends.

Consumers may click on the Like2Buy link in Loft’s Instagram profile to shop looks shown in its feed, including those showcased in the videos. Tapping on one of the images featuring Ms. Philipps will bring consumers to the Loft x Busy Philipps section of the retailer’s mobile site, where they will be able to watch full-length YouTube videos of Ms. Philipps’s springtime adventures.

Additionally, fans will spot a call-to-action below the top video, saying “Like what Busy’s wearing? Shop her outfits.” Customers who click the shop button will be taken to another page displaying all of the apparel and accessories worn by Ms. Philipps in her commercials, as well as other pieces given her seal of approval.

Consumers can add desired items into their mobile shopping carts to check out instantly, enabling them to be among the first people to get their hands on Loft’s newest arrivals.

Instant shopping gratification
Loft’s celebrity-supported mobile video strategy will likely boost awareness and sales for the brand, which maintains a millennial-centric target audience. Shoppable Instagram feeds are a lucrative feature for any retailer gearing its products toward younger consumers – even more so when leveraged in conjunction with social influencers.

Fellow apparel retailer Express also relied on artfully curated Instagram posts to inspire last-minute holiday shoppers to click the link in its account bio and peruse mobile-optimized gift guides for men and women (see story).

Loft has previously tapped Instagram as a top communication channel, with which it fosters two-way conversations between customers.

Last spring, Loft attempted to ramp up its followers and raise awareness of its season apparel by rolling out a photo contest on Instagram over the course of seven days, proving that establishing an emotional connection with consumers on social media is still key for clothing retailers (see story).

“This campaign works because it combines engaging content that will drive clicks with curated outfits that make it easy for women to shop, ultimately increasing conversion,” Ms. Cline said.