I am a thrifter. It all started when I was visiting a friend over New Year’s in Brooklyn. He had to work the whole time, so I spent my (freezing) days exploring the neighborhood, which led me to one of my most favorite hobbies…thrifting. I found the most amazing thrift store where I found a slinky silk black dress, fur shawl and very cool red snakeskin boots with hand engraved snakes on their heels. I was ready for New Year’s, and it was all for under $50!
Fast forward, and I am now all over the thrift store scene. I love finding unique items from past decades that no one else is wearing. I might wear a coat from the 70s with a mini dress from the 60s with pearl earrings from the 30s. I’m obsessed.
Enter Instagram. Most thrift stores do not offer online shopping. Shocker, I know. However, they are KILLING IT on Instagram. Why? They have mastered the art of using Instagram to drive in-store sales. Here’s how:
These thrift stores are no joke. If they see you are in Williamsburg, they will immediately like your photo and invite you to stop in. Seems a little stalker-ish, but it works! Suddenly an avid thrift-shopper in their neighborhood is in their store. They also spend a ton of time cool fashion in their city and liking/commenting on each of those posts. Seems tedious, but it is well worth it.
Thrift stores take the time to engage with their consumers. Unlike corporations that are usually bogged down by a ton of customer service requests, they have the fortunate ability to spend more time in conversation with consumers on Instagram. I’ve seen thrift stores carry full-on conversations with fashionistas about their favorite outfit and how they would style something. Of course, they drop the last comment in there about a super awesome accessory they have in their store that would complete the outfit.
Influencers are so important to every brand and easy to find in the fashion world. Thrift shops search for influencers on Instagram that have just the style that goes with their store. They then will offer free products for the influencer to model or close the shop for a day for the model to come in and IG story it, to get more exposure. This is a great way to ensure you are getting in front of the right audience that will be interested in the fashion the thrift store offers.
They will use Instagram as a coupon system. Seriously. They will flash a deal either in their IG story or on their page. It will usually be restricted by time. For example, anyone who stops in the next two hours gets 50 percent off. This works wonders. It not only brings more people to the store, but it encourages more people to follow the store on Instagram. Win/win.
Duh. It’s IG. Beautiful, unique pieces that span decades of fashion immediately have gorgeous photo-cred. Thrift stores that are successful on IG make sure to take photos of their pieces in environments where consumers might wear them. It perfectly allows the consumer to imagine where they could wear that piece out, and then they immediately need to have it!
Thrift stores have done an incredible job of using IG to increase in-store conversions. You should take something from what they have learned and apply it to your brand. Social does not just need to lead to online conversions. It also can be very powerful for getting consumers into the store.
– Marji J. Sherman