Most fashion bloggers would agree that Instagram is the most influential social media outlet for their personal brands. But generating revenue directly from the app has been a challenge since Instagram doesn't allow direct links—i.e. you can't sprinkle your feed with affiliate links.
Until recently, pretty much the only solution has been RewardStyle's LiketoKnow.It which, like it's name, is clunky. Both the blogger and the potential shopper must sign up for the service to use it, and it works by sending an email with shopping details every time an Instagram user likes an image that's linked up with the service. For inbox neat freaks, that can be a deterrent to liking photos in the first place.
Enter two new workarounds that create smoother shopping experiences that won't clog your inbox.
RewardStyle's chief competitor, Shopstyle Collective, launched this one in April. It's a deceivingly simple, beautiful solution with complicated proprietary technology behind it. It integrates with Shopstyle's existing “Collections” functionality. No sign ups are required, and no emailed products are involved. The widget allows you create a shoppable “Look” each time you post an image or video to a social network that features clothing and/or accessories your followers might want to buy.
You can create a new page on your blog and imbed the widget, and then use that URL as your Instagram “link in profile” if you like. You can also create more than one shopping page: one for Instagram, one for Snapchat, etc. Check out this example, and learn more at this tutorial.
Christine Andres of Hello Fashion tells us she loves the widget because it lives on her site, so readers don't have to leave to shop.
“It's really easy to use and it's nice being able to direct people back to my blog so in turn they can stay on my site longer and hopefully shop my whole whole post as well as my Instagram,” Christine said.
Shopstyle representatives tell us they're all-in when it comes to partnering with bloggers to help them make money. Stay tuned for another offering in June in the form of a universal checkout.
Witlee launched in November and was dreamed up by former eBay guy Doron Gavra, who noticed a problem: Retailers struggle to present huge amounts of inventory in an inspiring way; influencers have nailed inspiration, but are limited by the practicalities of selling via their blog and social media.
Witlee is his solution. It's similar to Looks and Collections in that you can create a page on your blog where your followers shop, with a few additional features that save bloggers time and could make them more money.
First, sold-out items will never create a dead link on your shopping page because Witlee automatically generates similar items in real time using the company's proprietary machine-learning technology. So even your outfits from years ago can feature currently-shoppable pieces. The tool recommends similar items whether they're sold out or not, so your readers will always have several options at varying price points to choose from. Your readers can also browse your items by automatically-generated categories and hashtags.
Bloggers will be able to make money via affiliate links on their Witlee pages when the affiliate functionality launches in the next week or so.
Witlee's VP of growth, Deepika Mathur, tells us metrics are off the charts with a bounce rate of less than 1%, a 3 minute session duration on average and 6 pageviews per session. Heavy hitters including Atlantic Pacific, Gal Meets Glam and Late Afternoon are testing it out.
Both options require work on your part: setting up your page and continually populating it with new shoppable pieces. But these two tools are the best workarounds to the social media shopping problem we've seen yet.