Instagram Stories is a more retail-friendly Snapchat alternative

by Infor Retail August 9, 2016 Converged Commerce

If there’s one social media platform that most retailers across the United States have struggled to get a grip on, it’s Snapchat. With its arcane interface and exceptionally young user base, the app has become synonymous with next-generation marketing initiatives. But even though the younger user base means that Snapchat is irrelevant to many brands, there’s no doubting that the app’s skyrocketing popularity presents a major opportunity for many of today’s retailers. As the Snapchat user base has grown older and the millennial generation has become an integral demographic for retail marketing, retailers have been under a load of pressure to either adapt to the Snapchat platform or lose out on an entire audience. Luckily, retailers may finally have a viable Snapchat alternative via the Facebook-owned Instagram platform.

With its new “Stories” feature, introduced just last week, Instagram is throwing down a selfie stick-wielding gauntlet and challenging Snapchat head-on by allowing users to create photo and video “stories” that disappear after 24 hours. While the brand has received a slew of criticism for allegedly ripping off Snapchat’s “Stories” feature, Instagram’s new alternative is already popular enough to have snagged the attention of celebrity users like Taylor Swift (or at least her cat Olivia).

With its clean and easy-to-use interface, Instagram already has one distinct advantage over Snapchat for retailers: it’s far more accessible to implement for marketing purposes. On top of that, brands that already have a following on Instagram can send out Instagram Stories to their existing follower base—so they can deepen relationships with their existing Instagram audiences through timelier brand storytelling.

With a much larger user base (Instagram has 300 million daily active users to Snapchat’s 150 million), Instagram has the audience advantage. Plus, with the implementation of a “Buy Button” last year, Instagram has already demonstrated that it’s willing to add features that are designed to help retailers sell their products through the platform.

For retailers that are looking to gain the attention of younger audiences—without having to risk investment in a Snapchat campaign—Instagram Stories is shaping up to be an ideal solution. And the best part? It doesn’t actually matter whether retailers decide to create Instagram Stories of their own: since the Instagram Stories platform already has massive potential to siphon some of the Snapchat user base, retailers can put more of their eggs into the retail-friendly Instagram basket—while worrying less about missed opportunities from the Snapchat audience.


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