Marc Jacobs Beauty Built Its Own App to Make Products 'Shoppable' on Instagram

It's the first retailer to develop a shoppable Instagram experience in-house.
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Dhani Mau
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It's the first retailer to develop a shoppable Instagram experience in-house.
Photo: Marc Jacobs Beauty

Photo: Marc Jacobs Beauty

Brands, bloggers and retailers post thousands of products to Instagram every day -- but, greatly to their frustration, they can't link out to those products for followers to buy. A number of companies have launched to help them work around Instagram's no-links handicap. And now, Marc Jacobs Beauty has debuted a solution of its own.

Here's how it works: You sign up here with your email address and Instagram handle. Every week, you will receive an email with purchase details for any @marcbeauty Instagrams you liked that had the hashtag #shopmjb.

What's interesting is that in lieu of using an existing Instagram e-commerce workaround app, Marc Jacobs Beauty developed its own in-house -- in fact, it's the first brand or retailer ever to do so. We spoke with with Kelly Coller, senior director of marketing for Kendo Brands, an LVMH entity focused on developing new beauty brands in partnership with "creative leaders." Marc Jacobs Beauty is part of its portfolio.

She explained that the brand's in-house digital and marketing teams have been working since last spring to develop the app. They felt it would be a service uniquely suited to the Marc Jacobs customer, who she says is a bit younger than other luxury beauty consumers, in the 25-35 age range (that makes its choice of a 64-year-old campaign star a little more interesting) and very digitally engaged. "With Marc Jacobs Beauty, the driver for the brand is 'luxury reinvented,'" she tells us. "We wanted to control every touchpoint of the client shopping with us" -- important for the luxury aspect. Also, she says,  the brand has always prided itself on its "first-to-market" approaches and digital engagement.  It wants to be the luxury beauty brand doing innovative things that other luxury beauty brands aren't doing.

Coller says that since launching Wednesday, she and her team have already seen a huge response that "exceeded our initial goals," though she declined to give specific numbers. But, she feels it works because of the die-hard "Marc Jacobs enthusiasts and superfans" who follow the brand on social media and get excited about product. "They're product junkies," she says. Additionally, the brand has promised exclusive items and special deals to lure people into the Instagram shoppability component.

As for what's next for Marc Jacobs Beauty, Coller said the brand is "always about surprising and delighting our consumers," and to expect "a lot of amazing things in the works for 2015."