by MR Magazine Staff


By Kevin Anderson and Oliver Cheatham

It was only a short while ago that traditional TV ads, billboard spots, banner ads, and word of mouth were predominant paths leading to your website. In the age of social media, there’s been a shift: consumers spend a good portion of their time on platforms where hashtags or endorsements from their favorite social media personalities drive users towards discovering brands. Audiences follow brands, interact with them, and then take those first steps towards potential purchase on the website later on in the customer journey. In 2016, though, the path between social media and e­-commerce has gotten much shorter.

It’s commonplace for brands to preview portfolio pieces on Instagram, but visiting the website is still necessary for customers who seek a more in­depth sense of connection and culture. It’s the destination for those who intend on researching details, prices, selections, and finally, purchasing. Style guides, pairing suggestions, care guides, and prefixed “looks to have” help establish trust and a sense of expertise with shoppers. Through the use of beautiful photography and lookbooks, positive associations and deeper, relatable connections with the target audience can be made. One of the greatest benefits of browsing a website is the chance to delve deeper into the stories behind designs, fabrics, and your brand’s mission. Aside from having a creative “About” page (like Warby Parker) or a popular blog (like Nick Wooster), a site’s curation can offer full transparency into the thought process behind their work. HighSnobiety and hiconsumption are known for keeping their product descriptions and tone of copy detailed, relatable, and aligned with their target audience’s lifestyle. Browsing through their sites will give you an idea of who they’re trying to reach: the most active social media users (Millennials and Gen­-Z), who expect full transparency from brands. They are the potential customers looking for the most direct route from shopping and browsing on social media to making purchases­­ and new developments are now making this possible.

Brands like Tom Ford and MACEO have gone so far as to integrate social media feeds directly into their website function, combing social media with the ability to purchase the trendiest items at the moment. In an industry where style changes almost weekly, keeping up with changing trends at a near instantaneous pace can set your website apart. Using platforms such as liketoknow.it and Curalate’s like2buy bridge the gap between e­-commerce and social media by making shopping off of platforms like Instagram possible. What may have started with a glance at an Instagram photo turns into the possibility of purchase once the user reaches the website, maximizing the effectiveness of social influencers and promoted posts.

Buyable Pins (now available on desktop as well as mobile) are also making the transition from social media shopping to website purchasing easier. With features like a shopping bag that easily switches from mobile to desktop, bulk upload tools, and better search filters, Pinterest has become even more of a powerful customer acquisition tool. Platforms like BigCommerce, Demandware and Shopify provide valuable extensions that allow brands to seamlessly turn items from their ecommerce stores into buyable Pins. Syncing your inventory, managing orders, and tracking data are all now possible, resulting in customers making purchases without even having to leave the app.

What implications can these social­-to-­e-­commerce integrations have? One retailer using Buyable Pins increased sales from Pinterest by 73 percent, while another has had twice as much traffic, almost three times as sales over the same period in a year, and an astounding 22 times more visits to their site from mobile. Increasing sales is one reward and the long­-term benefits of fashion designers extending their reach to the younger, mobile and social media­-centric demographics is even more valuable. Websites may see less overall visits than they did a decade ago, but integrating with social media grants a whole new, powerful sense of purpose to the platform.