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See, Like, Click, Buy: Soldsie Wants to Streamline Social-Media Shopping

Consumer brands and retailers could hardly contain their excitement earlier this summer when Instagram announced it would begin testing buy buttons on select ads, allowing users to click on a link to purchase a product—finally presenting companies with a means of monetizing their massive followings on the photo-sharing app.

The commercialization of Instagram, however, could potentially upset some of its 200 million regular users, who might be unhappy to find their newsfeeds clogged with unexpected ads from companies they don’t follow, hence why some brands could be skeptical of the ad strategy’s ROI.

Here to fill the space between visual socialization and pushing users to purchase a product that’s piqued their fancy is Soldsie’s Have2Have.It, a third-party app that links a company’s Instagram account to a shoppable gallery.

“Instagram only has one clickable link and it’s in the user’s profile,” said Chris Bennett, co-founder of Soldsie, which also offers a product that enables sales through comments. “You can include a link in a caption which people browsing on a desktop could copy and paste into a browser but if they’re on mobile they don’t have the ability to highlight that—and 90 percent of the traffic on Instragram is through mobile.”

And therein lies the conundrum. Once a brand has captured a consumer’s attention with a striking photo featuring its latest products, how can it then generate revenue from that engagement without losing the attention of its audience? Essentially, how does it reduce the path to purchase down to a couple of clicks?

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It’s simple, Bennett explained: “Brands and retailers using Have2Have.It include a link to their shoppable gallery in their Instagram profile. Shoppers who click that link are taken to a page that mimics all the photos they see in that brand’s Instagram feed. They scroll and find the item they like, click and it takes them directly to its page on the brand’s e-commerce site.”

The best part: checkout takes place through the company’s existing cart. “Most online selling is super-invested in e-commerce and asking brands to do checkout anywhere else is challenging,” he said, noting that clients including Frye Company, DailyLook and Nylon magazine have said Have2Have.It ranks within their top five referrals each month and has led to an 87 percent click-through rate on average, with visitors spending 50 percent more time on the website.

Priced at $49.99 per month and no percentage fee, new customers can sign up for a 14-day free trial. “The comments you usually see on a brand’s Instagram photos are ‘want,’ ‘love’ and ‘need this.’ What they can now do is send users directly to that item so they don’t have to search all over the web trying to find it until something else catches their eye,” Bennett said.