If you follow the Instagram accounts of fashion publications like Vogue or bloggers like Man Repeller, there's a good chance you've come across LikeToKnow.It. Launched in 2014 by RewardStyle, a retail network used by editorial sites (including Fashionista) to collect a commission on products they feature, the tool essentially makes Instagram shoppable. You sign up, and when you see a photo with a liketk.it URL in the caption, you can give it a "like" to receive a product link in an email. (If you click the link and end up buying something, the publisher who posted the link gets paid a percentage.)
It's not the world's simplest system, but apparently it is, in retailers' opinions, better than nothing. After working primarily with bloggers for the past year, RewardStyle announced on Tuesday that a batch of retailers including Matchesfashion.com, Moda Operandi, Selfridges, MyTheresa and Asos have gotten on board with LiketoKnow.It — the total comes to 30 if you count Urban Outfitters's separate European and US operations. And it's no wonder that they have. Mobile commerce is a huge push for brands, with e-commerce sites receiving an enormous amount of traffic from smartphones, but disproportionately few purchases.
Of course, those retailers are not the only ones feeling the thirst to turn their Insta-game into an additional revenue stream. Last August, Nordstrom became the first retailer to use Like2Buy, another workaround system, while Marc Jacobs Beauty and Michael Kors have developed their own solutions in-house. As has always been the case, the easiest move for everyone would be for Instagram to enable shopping, though such a feature could change the app's experience in less-than-awesome ways. For now, at least, it seems RewardStyle has placed itself firmly ahead of the pack as retailers' workaround app of choice.