Digiday recently wrote about How Cole Haan drives sales with Instagram.

In August, Cole Haan launched a new app, created by social commerce platform PredictSpring, that worked around the lack of direct commerce capabilities on Instagram by pulling in Instagram posts into its own app. Customers logged in via Facebook or Instagram, then browsed the Instagram posts in the app. You can tap on the image to get info and add it to your cart, then pay with Apple Pay.

Read the Digiday piece for the full story, but I hesitate to with call what Cole Haan did a “workaround for the lack of direct commerce capabilities on Instagram” because it does nothing to get an Instagram user from Instagram to an e-commerce platform.

That being said, it’s not a bad move for Cole Haan. Here’s the major pros and cons of the approach.

PRO: Users of the Cole Haan app can see which products real people are wearing and what they are saying about them. It’s a smart way to add user-generated reviews and opinions to their products, and it’s not dissimilar from what restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc. do by integrating TripAdvisor reviews into their websites.

CON: As I said before, this approach does little to influence Instagram users where they already are: on Instagram. Consequently, it is likely limited to influencing those who have already shown interest or purchase intent (because they’ve downloaded and are using the Cole Haan app).

Make no mistake, though. The future of social commerce looks a lot like what we’re seeing from Cole Haan and other retailers like Wish and Adore Me, brand that find ways to spotlight what their customers are saying about them at the point of purchase consideration.

The key to using social media to influence commerce is by finding ways to leverage what people are already saying about a brand rather than trying to incentivize people who aren’t already sharing to do so.


This post also appears on Word of Mouse.