You could very well buy your clothes through Instagram someday. Or, that's what the company's CEO, Kevin Systrom, hypothesized at a gathering at London's National Portrait Gallery Tuesday night. (This was following his appearance at Burberry's Spring 2014 show the day before — his first fashion show, ever.)
So, how can users elevate Instagram from the land of well-styled selfies to a sustainable e-commerce platform? “We never set out thinking of Instagram as a platform for commerce, but in some ways Instagram is becoming that for folks in fashion,” Systrom said. This is true; just think about how often "where did you get that??" comments flood a unique dresser's Instagram post. Systrom sees the same curiosity play out on brands' feeds, too, citing Kate Spade and Cole Haan as strong examples. "And that’s awesome," he noted. "It’s not just about imagery, that’s about the conversation as well… As long as you curate what you want to follow and don’t want to follow. That's really the balance.”
Of course, all this relates pretty directly to the impending integration of ads on Instagram, a development not entirely welcomed by its users just yet. Systrom is adamant that advertising won't be intrusive to the overall creative and communicative experience, but users who value the platform for artistic, as opposed to commercial, reasons will need to be convinced. As Lily Cole asked: "Is there a problem with that boundary?"
“I don’t think it’s so much a boundary as it is a balance,” Systrom insisted. “If Instagram were full of commerce and there were ‘Buy now!’ links everywhere and that’s all you ever had, I don’t think it would get to the true spirit of communication.” Brands like Strght Skateboards, and — as Fashionista pointed out — vintage retailer Fox and Fawn, would likely agree. They've utilized Instagram's sharing power to take their fledgling businesses from attractive ideas to profitable realities. We're excited to see art, tech, and commerce unite to create similar success stories for innovative brands worldwide. [Tech Crunch]