Loft is late to Snapchat, but it’s already rolled out a strategy to get its followers on the app to shop from its Stories.
The women’s retailer (which dropped the ‘Ann Taylor’ from its name a few years ago) started its Snapchat account last weekend by posting about a trip to Chicago for an event. The social team incorporated its products into the trip, first with a packing tutorial, then a tour of the city, with Loft products serving as the subject.
Loft then used Snapchat’s Memories function to upload straightforward product shots of the items featured during the tour. Some, like a shot of a belt, were photographed to give an idea of their size. A super-thin belt was rolled up and placed next to a lipstick to demonstrate how little space it would take up in a suitcase, for example. Other Memory uploads simply showed a product page with the name of the item. In case that wasn’t specific enough, to get Snapchat followers there, the brand included the style number, the unique SKU that can be Googled to get to an e-commerce store’s product page.
“At Loft we have been very thoughtful about incubating a voice which is intimate and tailored for the community snapchat has cultivated,” said Michelle Horowitz, svp of marketing. “The platform provides the liberating opportunity to be less precious about production, which allows us to be nimble.”
Loft’s Snapchat strategy falls into the trend of retailers hoping to relate their Stories to their products, even they can’t be bought straight from the app. Users like Ann Taylor can’t link out, so shopping is not a particularly natural behavior for the platform. But that hasn’t stopped brands from practicing product placement in Snapchat. Online retailer Revolve also uses a similar strategy on Snapchat and Instagram to nudge people in the right direction if they want to shop what they see. Revolve’s method, however, happens in real time as the Snap is playing, whereas Loft is taking a step back and indexing products using Snapchat Memories whenever they peddle product style numbers. Before the stream of codes begins, Loft uses a “shop this story” frame to signal that the actual story is over and the shopping portion has begun.
This strategy applies to an important, even if relatively small, number of consumers.
“You’re never going to remember that style number. But if it’s something you saved and care about, it makes it easier to find it later. It’s better than having no way of finding it at all,” said Thomas Rankin, CEO of social analytics firm Dash Hudson. “On Instagram, there are a couple of different ways to shop, but for Snapchat, this is particularly important, because there is no other way.”
While Loft is still new to Snapchat, it’s already pinning its stories to performance metrics that other retailers like Gap likely couldn’t do.
Gap’s few Snapchat efforts included following the Brooklyn United Marching Band during some performances and streaming a workout session presented with Complex. Loft, on the other hand, will be tracking data from each story to gauge product interest, like the number of screenshots, views, chats sent, follower growth and store traffic from social.
According to Rankin, the strategy is smart because it doesn’t disrupt the user experience. Followers still get content that’s befitting the platform (rather than “shop now” prompts) but if they want to track down one of the products, they can.
The reason more brands haven’t tried this? Probably because lots of SKUs don’t look that pretty in a retailer’s Story.
“Certain brands are really sacrosanct with their captions,” said Rankin. “They wouldn’t do something like this because they want to put something more clever or call-to-action instead. But for most people browsing through a feed, it wouldn’t bother them.”