As luxury retailers move into the pinnacle of holiday shopping season, they’re leveraging Instagram’s latest offerings to lure consumers.
In an effort to promote its pre-spring ’17 collection, Altuzarra launched a shoppable, holiday-themed Instagram Story in partnership with Barneys New York. The Story — which debuted on Monday and wrapped yesterday evening — had 33,000 views as of Tuesday morning, according to Jodie Chan, director of marketing and communications at Altuzarra. Instagram launched its shoppable capabilities in November, which allows verified accounts to add links to Stories that users can click through to shop for products directly. It also includes the ability to tag other users and share Boomerangs without leaving the app.
In addition to leveraging the platform’s updated technology, such efforts also serve as a way for luxury brands to engage consumers while eschewing discounts and sales that can negatively impact the perception of a high-end brand. They also serve as an extension of Black Friday strategies, in which luxury retailers dabbled in alternative in-store activations like tech installations and exclusive product releases, according to Natalie Kotlyar, partner of professional services firm BDO’s consumer business practice group.
“Luxury retailers are still vying for a piece of the holiday sales pie, but they are more likely to leverage creative, experiential strategies than traditional discounting to get their share,” she said. “By offering in-store events during the holidays like scotch tastings, food bars and charity events, high-end retailers are drawing their target consumer base in store without boasting deep discounts that could tarnish brand value.”
Images from the Altuzarra and Barneys New York shoppable Instagram Stories campaign
The Altuzarra and Barneys partnership began shortly after New York Fashion Week, when the two companies began discussions for a potential social media integration, said Candace Stewart, social media manager at Barneys New York. The department store has launched similar efforts since Instagram rolled out the offering. They have primarily featured beauty brands, but Barneys recently partnered with another fashion brand: Moncler — the Stories are slated to run on Friday.
“Both brands wanted to execute a social-first campaign, and the holiday season was the perfect time to appeal to shopping for the season, while still keeping it festively fun,” Stewart said, regarding the collab with Altuzarra. “We’re always keen to test new product rollouts and maximize our reach, both from a social and digital perspective.”
Chan said resort collections are integral parts of the business, and Altuzarra was exploring new ways to promote the products that could be shared on several channels, not just Instagram Stories. Outside of the shoppable Story, both Altuzarra and Barneys shared photos from the clips in their Instagram feeds, which were captioned with additional details about the featured products.
“Right now, the resort collection is in stores, and it’s full price and will be full price into the new year,” said Chan. “For us as a brand, it’s important to think about ways we can elevate the product and make it feel fresh and desirable for customers — not only in stores, but online.”
The quintessential stop for any holiday shopping trip? Why of course, it’s the Union Square Christmas Market. Baubles galore! Amanda wears the ‘Woodbridge’ Studded Sweater, ‘Lucile’ Skirt and #GhiandaBag Knot Hobo, now available @BarneysNY (Links in bio) #USQHoliday #AltuzarraPS17 #aVeryBNYxAltuzarraHoliday
An Instagram photo posted by Barneys as part of its Altuzarra partnership
The duo also produced a video for The Window, a shoppable interactive magazine accessible on the Barneys website and its accompanying app. Both in the video and on Instagram, the story’s focus is a quintessential New Yorker shopping for the holidays — backdrops include the Beekman Hotel, the Union Square Holiday Market and Freds, the restaurant arm of Barneys.
“We wanted a way to capture the collection in a fun, whimsical way that ties into holiday shopping,” Chan said. “The partnership serves several platforms, even within a singular platform like Instagram. We wanted everything to be really interactive and shoppable.”
Ultimately, Altuzarra is looking to such integrations to help build consumer loyalty, much like brands who are experimenting with chatbots and augmented reality, Kotlyar said.
“Luxury shoppers put a premium on customer service, convenience, personalization and exclusivity. A good deal is considered more of a ‘nice-to-have’ than a “need-to-have,'” she said. “Of course, the ultimate goal is to drive sales and traffic, but some retailers are playing the long game by offering tech-centric shopping experiences to build loyalty among key consumers for future purchases.”