Working with visual analytics and marketing vendor Curalate, the multichannel retailer is driving shoppers from the visual-focused social network to its site.

Instagram has been a focal point of Nordstrom Inc.’s social media strategy for the past few years.

The social network, which lets brands and consumers share images, offers a unique way for the retailer to connect to its customers, says Bryan Galipeau, social media director at Nordstrom, No. 24 in the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide.

“Instagram is a great way to inspire customers by showing them interesting products,” he says.

But there’s just one problem with the platform: it doesn’t offer a way for retailers to link to their sites. That makes it difficult for consumers looking to buy an item Nordstrom features on Instagram and it made it difficult for Nordstrom to attribute sales and traffic to the platform.

“Every time we’d post a product—which is two or three times a day—we get the same questions,” Galipeau says. “‘Is this available?’ ‘What’s the price?’ ‘Is this available at stores?’”


The retailer tried to work around Instagram’s limitations. First, it would answer shoppers’ inquiries in the comments section of posts. Later, it added a section to its web site, that features every item the retailer features on the social network. But the first solution couldn’t scale because the retailer receives about 30,000 engagements on its posts each day. And the second required shoppers to leave Instagram. “They were clunky solutions,” he says.

But this week Nordstrom found a way to drive sales via the social network. Working with visual analytics and marketing vendor Curalate’s new Like2Buy product, the multichannel retailer is driving shoppers from the visual-focused social network to its site.

The concept is simple. When a shopper clicks on Nordstrom’s profile page she can bring up a gallery of Instagram photos that, when clicked, go to the item’s product page.

“We’re removing a pain point,” Galipeau says. “There are no barriers for shoppers to get to our site and see the product they just saw on Instagram.”


Another simple solution is a function in the Instagram gallery called “My Likes” that lets them save items for later, says Galipeau. That lets a shopper who likes a pair of boots save the item with a click. That’s preferable to the old way of doing things, he says, which required a shopper to first remember the boots she saw were from Nordstrom’s Instagram account, scroll through the retailer’s old images to find the item, then find the item on the retailer’s site.

“The more we eliminate barriers, the more we win and the more consumers win,” he says.

Like2Buy is $1,000 per month, although the vendor’s current customers will receive “substantial discounts” for the additional service, says Apu Gupta, the vendor’s CEO and co-founder.