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Nordstrom employs New York Instagrammers to personalize fall accessories

September 18, 2014

Promotional image for Nordstrom's Instalog

Promotional image for Nordstrom’s Instalog

Department store chain Nordstrom gathered a group of Instagram aficionados to photograph its fall accessories to add a personal touch to its ecommerce pages.

The “Instalog” features shots of handbags, jewelry, boots and hosiery composed by 11 New York-based magazine editors, social media marketers, stylists and bloggers. Including these varied voices on the product pages will help consumers see how items fit into their lifestyles.

“We know that our young, trendy customer is inspired by the aesthetic of Instagram and the wonderful shots posted by the influencers,” said Dan Evans, Jr., spokesperson for Nordstrom, Seattle. “We hope to bring that same authentic perspective to life on, through print and social.

“We believe this is one of the first times that a major retailer has photographed a catalog in partnership with true social influencers and simultaneously launched it using multiple outlets, including the influencers’ own social accounts,” he said.

“We selected a stylistically diverse group of 12 influencers based out of New York City. Each influencer has a highly engaged social community that aligns with our interests and the photographic aesthetic we love.

“Some of the influencers we selected focused on street style, while others specialized in creating product lay down shots or selfies. Ultimately, we selected a variety of photographers that we hope would resonate with our customer and our social community.”

Tastemaker styled
Nordstrom introduced its Instalog on social media, linking to a blog post about the feature.

In the post, Nordstrom explains that it brought the social media “mavens” to its studio filled with accessories and gave them free reign to capture them as they wished.

Nordstrom Instalog blog
Screenshot of Nordstrom blog post showing Instagrammers

Along with text, Nordstrom included photos of each of the participants to give a sense of their personal style. Each Instagrammer’s account was also linked to allow consumers to browse their entire feed.

Those chosen include Lucky magazine style editor Laurel Pantin, Laundry Service executive director Liz Eswein and editorial manicurist Madeline Poole.

At the bottom of the blog post, Nordstrom included a gallery of images created by the Instagrammers, as well as links to the product pages where their photos appear.

Nordstrom Instalog blog 2
Images created for Instalog

These links to the special guides appear on the Nordstrom homepage as well, along with select images from the campaign.

Nordstrom Instalog homepage
Nordstrom homepage

When a consumer clicks on the photo tiles, they are taken to the corresponding guide.

On the landing page for the guides are slideshows containing tiles of Instagram images, with the handles of the corresponding tastemaker below accompanied by an assortment of images created by the Nordstrom team.

Nordstrom Instalog handbags
Screenshot of Nordstrom Instalog handbag guide

Each slide demonstrates a trend for fall. For instance, jewelry is broken down into statement necklaces, bracelet and ring combinations, delicate necklaces and stud earrings. The Instagrammers did a mixture of modeling the items themselves and laying them out artistically, for instance photographing a necklace laying on a bouquet of flowers.

Nordstrom Instalog jewelry
Screenshot of Nordstrom Instalog jewelry guide

For every trend depicted, Nordstrom includes a link to shop the selection that fits that style.


Social shopping
Nordstrom has been working to blend social media with ecommerce through a number of initiatives.

The retailer is enabling ecommerce through Instagram with a clickable link in the profile section of its account.

Nordstrom worked with social media agency Curalate to be the first to use its Like2Buy platform, which houses Instagram photos that link directly to a brand’s existing ecommerce site. Instagram provides high engagement but has proved an obstacle for linking to purchase options, so this solution could give marketers a way to generate business from the social platform (see story).

“It was our goal to break down the barriers between the traditional and digital worlds,” Mr. Evans said. “We united our social media, catalog, creative, and web teams in an effort to inspire our customer.

“Adding Instagram images to product pages is one way we hope to engage our customer and tie the experience together across multiple channels.”

Many department stores are getting battered on multiple fronts, but early adopters of digital have defied the climate of decline, according to a new report by L2.

The number of department stores has plunged over the past decade and some big dogs have been toppled, but the outlook is not that bleak for savvy players. Indeed, the logistical prowess of department stores is a major advantage in the digital world.

Nordstrom was identified as the highest performing department store in terms of digital by the report (see story).

This fits with Nordstrom’s goal to create a seamless online and offline shopping experience.

“I’m always amazed by Nordstrom’s initiatives,” said Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate, New York, who agreed to comment as an industry expert. “They seem at once both incredibly innovative and completely obvious. They leave you wondering, ‘Why didn’t I think about this?’

“With this initiative Nordstrom is demonstrating that social is about communities,” he said. “By harnessing the creativity of some of the most stylish Instagrammers, Nordstrom gets to show their world through fresh eyes and help consumers envision how these products can fit into their lives in a fun and authentic way.

“Nordstrom will likely see not only their audience engage with this content but the audiences of these Instagrammers engage as well. It’s a great way to broaden their reach and relevance.

“While I think this will translate to revenue, I think the editorial style of this content is far more about inspiration, brand affinity, and becoming synonymous with style.”

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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Sarah Jones is editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York. Reach her at

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