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Instagram Flexes on Fashionistas With Product Drop Alerts

Reminder: Instagram wants to be the destination of all things current, cool and commerce.

The launch of a checkout button was just the first taste of Instagram’s grand plans to dominate social commerce. Now the Facebook-owned platform has a new way to keep consumers engaged and buying inside its ecosystem: reminders.

Instagram is already the place where people flock to gaze at pretty things (when they’re not laughing at memes) and brands know any whiff of a new product launch, hype collaboration or exclusive drop garners eyeballs and traffic galore. But the onus has been on brand stans to set their own calendar alerts and alarms timed for the precise moment a product becomes available to ensure that “fear of missing out” doesn’t become their left-behind reality.

Now Instagram is flexing on fashionistas with a new reminder function that removes much of the friction from their path to purchase. In a blog post published Monday, the company said this new reminder functionality is only available in the U.S. to brands participating its beta pilot of the checkout feature, which includes apparel and footwear players Adidas, Revolve, H&M, Highsnobiety, Outdoor Voices and Net-a-Porter.

These beta-testing brands can apply stickers to their disappearing Stories or insert a tag in their feed to put followers on to upcoming product launches, calling out the drop date and product details so that shoppers who opt into these alerts are primed and ready to buy when the clock strikes go time.

Reminders could be a way to bolster engagement and conversions through Instagram checkout, which enables consumers to complete purchases inside the app without having to click away to another site. Adidas Originals senior vice president of digital Scott Zalaznik said he’s observed month-to-month improvement in user adoption of the Instagram checkout option.

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“With new features like product launch reminders,” he said, “we expect to see engagement increase as we can create simple, immersive and user-obsessed experiences adidas creators love.”

The advent of reminders seems to be a remarkably self-aware decision by Instagram that plays to its strengths. Rather than trying to capture all of commerce, Instagram can now capitalize on its raison d’être: fueling actionable discovery for must-have, here-today-gone-tomorrow goods.

And all signs indicate that young consumers, conscious of how status-symbol products serve as the currency of “cool,” might be willing targets for anything that will help them to cop what they covet. Already 72 percent of teenagers are active on Instagram, according to Pew Research Center, and 71 percent of all users are no older than 35.

On top of that, product drops and limited-time sales have cemented their places within the commerce landscape as “the stuff of e-commerce fashion royalty,” Shopify wrote in a blog post, “as long as they’re combined with exclusivity and anticipation.”

The Chinatown Market’s first Instagram drop as a beta checkout brand sold out in seconds, Dan Altmann, president of youth-oriented streetwear label The Chinatown Market, said.

“Drops are a key part of streetwear and we’re excited to evolve the industry together with Instagram,” he added. “Now, the ability to set reminders will allow our fans to be notified and make the process even more seamless than it already is.”