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If you’re using social media to keep up with your friends and family during the holidays, you can now use social media to buy gifts for them, all without leaving the app. Whether it’s looking for new gift ideas, searching for amazing deals or buying unique gifts that aren’t available anywhere else, you can now do so via social networks like Instagram and Pinterest.
Looking for new gift ideas
One place to start looking for new gift ideas is on Instagram, where users are creating “Stories” that are comprised of photos and videos that they’ve artfully curated. Not sure what to buy your cousin Jim? You can head on over to Instagram, and check out his Stories. Maybe you’ll get insights into what types of sports teams he likes, or where he’d like to go on vacation. Unlike regular photos that show up in an Instagram feed, Stories show much more of a user’s personality, and how they have been spending their days (and nights).
You can do the same on Snapchat, although this social network definitely skews a bit younger. If you have twentysomethings that you’re shopping for, though, this might be a place to learn more about what’s on their mind during the holiday season. Check out what filters they are using, too – this might give a good idea of what kind of gift to buy, too.
Searching for deals
Across Twitter, brands are sending out special promotional codes via tweets that you can cash in for savings. So start following some of your favorite brands and you might be able to cash in on some last-minute bargains. Also, look for brands to use special hashtags to announce upcoming deals and promotions that are specifically holiday-based. The same is true on Facebook, where brands have always been eager to give fans an early peek of upcoming sales and bargains.
Buying unique gifts
This is where social networks like Pinterest and Instagram are really moving the needle. Recently, Pinterest unveiled “Buyable Pins,” which are a way for people to buy items that they see posted on the Pinterest app. This makes a lot of sense, mostly because Pinterest has always functioned as a way for users to catalogue things they’d like to buy. Now they don’t have to wait to buy these items in the real world – they can click on designated Buyable Pins from within the Pinterest app and buy on their mobile devices!
And Instagram just unveiled its new “Shop Now” feature for 20 major brands, including J. Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kate Spade, Warby Parker and Macy’s. In many ways, this feature is similar to the Buyable Pins of Pinterest. Say, for example, you’re looking for a gift from J. Crew for your significant other. You’d go to the @jcrew Instagram feed, click on the “shop Now” link and you’ll get a page of “shoppable” images. Maybe that pair of Women’s Italian Cashmere PJs (the blue ones with the popcorn on top) looks appealing – click on the image and you’ll be directed to the J. Crew Instagram shop.
One thing is clear – social networks are slowly but surely transforming themselves into social shopping destinations. It’s becoming increasingly possible to shop from within your social feeds, all without leaving the app.