- Allbirds, the startup shoe brand that has become popular in Silicon Valley, celebrated its second birthday with a limited-edition shoe collection that can only be purchased on Instagram, and not on a website or in stores, according to Adweek. The shoes are only available until they sell out.
- Customers in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia can buy the shoes by swiping up on Allbirds's Instagram story or tapping a link in its main page. The company hinted at the collection in an Instagram post on Feb. 28, followed by the release of the six birthday-themed "confetti" shoes on March 1.
- Allbirds has helped trigger a trend in making shoes from soft merino wool, especially popular in Silicon Valley. Adidas, Lululemon and Under Armour are among the apparel brands that now sell wool products, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The shoe promotion aimed to drive excitement around the brand for its second anniversary, but what's perhaps more interesting is that Allbirds made the limited-edition shoe line available for sale only on the social media site Instagram. The social platform is becoming an essential marketing platform for fashion designers and brands, given that many consumers are already drawn to the social app for fashion and lifestyle inspiration, making it a natural fit for direct sales.
This highlights a growing trend of retailers' direct sales through social media. More than 80% of Instagram users follow a business, giving them direct access to an audience that has expressed its enthusiasm for a brand. Nike's Air Jordan brand last month pre-released a shoe on Snapchat available only for people at an exclusive event. The "Tinker" shoe sold out in 23 minutes, driving major buzz for the shoe ahead of its full release later in March. Last summer, Adidas worked with designer Alexander Wang to take product orders by chatbot and have them delivered by bike messenger within hours in New York.
Allbirds, whose tagline is "the world's comfortable shoes," has 116,000 followers on Instagram, certainly modest compared with 76.3 million for Nike and 18.8 million for Adidas. But the company produces a narrow line of higher-end shoes that come in just a handful of styles. Its Instagram sales campaign is a creative way to reach its followers with a limited-edition item that will generate buzz among its loyal customers, especially given that key audience Gen Zers are attuned to social media and marketing efforts that take a more creative, nontraditional route.