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E-Commerce Instashop: When You Try Socialising by Yourself

To keep ahead of the game, ecommerce retailers have created their-own social platforms. These instashops provide sites with user generated content (UGC), social appeal and increase revenues. Considering social media’s influence on customer behaviour, it’s definitely a move in the right direction, but is it enough?

Using BooHoo’s instashop as an example, we will examine some of the problems of such platforms:

Unfriendly User Interface

BooHoo’s Instashop is a one-page platform displaying authentic product pictures. These pictures originate from Instagram influencers who share them using #myboohoostyle hashtag. There are currently 73 pictures featured, displayed in rows of three. Each provides product information when hoovered upon and links to the product page.

At first look, BooHoo’s instashop seems well designed and manages to convey a social appeal. But, it is clear that the pictures are not categorised in any way, leading to a situation where:

  • The feeling is more of a window-shopping experience
  • Shoppers are unable to find specific products they might be looking for
  • The display created is a collage of unrelated pictures
  • To create a instagram-like feeling, the page features only pictures. But, the complete lack of textual content ends up driving it away from this aim.
BooHoo's instashop platform screenshot
* instashop page

Limited and Limiting Content

The #myboohoostyle hashtag allows BooHoo to get UGC that features its products. Yet, having this as the only source of content creates other problems:

  • The pictures are limited in both scope and volume
  • Some pictures lead to out-of-stock products
  • The lack textual content creates an unfriendly SEO page
  • And Most important: The content is not optimised for selling!

A good social platform should provide a large amount of UGC. This allows a company to keep abreast of the latest trends in colour and style. It is important as it could prevent the risk of losing sales and even an erosion of the market share. Finally, the company would gain valuable information allowing it to react to fashion changes.

BooHoo's Fix Blog Screenshot
*BooHoo maintains a blog called “The Fix”, indicating an understanding of the importance of unique textual content. Why not use similar content on their instashop?

Wasted Resources

Let us consider the resources BooHoo currently uses to operate and maintain their instashop. The manual tagging process indicates that they have a team for image selection. That team, needs to go through the images one-by-one, choose the useful images and publish them.

This is A LOT of work for low results:

Number of #myboohoostyle Tagged Images: 82,532
Number of Pictures Featured Images: 73
Percentage of selected images: 0.08%

Let’s assume it takes at least 40 seconds to analyse each picture and find a match out of 36,000 products.

Lets do the math:

Time invested in each Image: 40 Sec
Number of #myboohoostyle Tagged Images: 82,532
Total time spent: 3301280 Seconds = 917 Hours = 20 UK work weeks!

And that’s without even considering the time needed to upload and integrate them to the instashop!

And There Are Many More

BooHoo is only one example of a Ecommerce retail business which moved in the right direction. Yet, it didn’t go far enough and ended up creating an unfulfilled social platform.

Some similar examples:

It does not have to be that way!

Companies should not build a social platform for the sake of it.  The right platform would integrate the social into the company, and tell it something about it’s shoppers. After all, these companies recognised the opportunity, now they need seize it.

If there was only an automatic and resourceful platform which could provide beautiful and promotable user generated images for Ecommerce retail shops….


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