Why it pays to make your premises ‘Instagrammable’

Why it pays to make your premises ‘Instagrammable’

Whether you like it, or not, the retail and hospitality sectors are increasingly being designed to be viewed through a smartphone lens. Savvy businesses realise the growing power of this intensely visual social media platform and are coaxing consumers to snap and share increasingly elaborate displays and visual merchandising.

That’s not surprising considering there are now 24 million Instagram users in the UK and over a billion globally. From that huge audience, 60% say they discover products using the platform, 75% take action and there are even awards created to praise businesses that are Instagram-worthy.

So why pay a small fortune for a print or online ad campaign when you can spend less creating a captivating Instagram moment and have that shared by thousands of people eager to discover more about your brand story?

The very best retail and hospitality Instagram moments could easily pass for modern art and wouldn’t look out of place in a leading international gallery. The Converse store on New York’s Broadway, for instance, recently had an installation featuring hundreds of the brand’s signature Chuck Taylor high-top sneakers, arranged to look like a skull when it was viewed through a smartphone. This proved to be Instagram gold and was shared by thousands on the app.

The beauty of In-store Instagram moments is that they form a virtuous circle embracing the brand, customer and their social media followers. The brand benefits from the increased visibility, the customer gains kudos from being associated with a cultural moment, while their social media followers benefit from the cache of ‘being in the know’.

British fashion brand Ted Baker recently went one step further using a treasure hunt game to encourage its customers to post the brand’s images for a chance to win a prize.

So, what’s the best way to make your premises Instagrammable, so that you can tap into that one-billion-strong global audience?

  1. What makes your business different?

The best Instagram moments are attention-grabbing and often quirky, but they’re always brand conscious, so that customers immediately know the company behind the image. A great example is this display created for outdoors brand Hunter. Success involves maintaining a brand rationale behind the tone, language and colour scheme you use. That doesn’t necessarily mean slavishly sticking to your brand guidelines, but if you do stray, have a good reason for doing so.

  1. Tap into pop culture

34% of Instagram users are millennials, so this give a good indication that designs that reference current pop culture are most likely to strike a chord, be snapped and shared. Just take a look at the Instagram feed of London cocktail bar Tonight Josephine, which features lots of neon, bright pink and sparkle. It certainly isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the bar’s owners know their clientele very well and they also know how to work Instagram – its 37,000 followers are proof of that. The UK-based Be At One cocktail bar chain is another great example of a hospitality venue using décor and lots of neon to create great Instagram moments.

  1. It’s all about the experience

To increase the shareability of your store, create an experience your customers can’t forget. This spans from entering the store to browsing, payment and leaving the store. Offering interactive aspects such as activities, demonstrations and photobooths can all boost the chance of someone sharing your store on Instagram. Selfridges provided a masterclass in October 2018 when it launched its new “designer street space”. The centrepiece of the store’s first-floor destination is a skate park where shoppers can show off their tricks and engage with Instagram in the process. Topshop also showed us how it’s done with their pop-up waterslide in 2017.

  1. Make sharing simple

Uploading quality images can be data-hungry and younger customers, who are most active on Instagram, don’t always have access to unlimited data. That’s why it pays to offer your customers secure, fast and fuss-free connectivity while they’re on your premises. Research recently carried out by Vodat reveals that 90% of Generation Z customers will use free in-store Wi-Fi and 64% will post to social media if businesses provide complimentary connectivity. This shows that great on-premise Wi-Fi is a key part of creating those all-important Instagram moments.

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