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Editorial - Will you buy your next watch on Instagram?

Editorial Will you buy your next watch on Instagram?

The latest new from Facebook is a big deal for the watch industry and its customers.

Not all of the news from the opening day of Facebook’s huge F8 conference made the headlines last week. Beyond the fact that Instagram is trialling “private like counts” (only account owners will be able to see how many likes they are getting on their posts), there were a couple of announcements that will have repercussions for watch brands and watch collectors alike. 

Although Mark Zuckerberg gave his opening address under the headline “The future is private”, highlighting user-centric improvements like end-to-end encryption for the Messenger App, new features for WhatsApp and Instagram are clearly aimed at businesses. At a mundane level, the new Messenger Desktop application will make it easier for your editor-in-chief to multitask while answering enquiries received via Facebook, and will no doubt help watch brands with their customer relationships. But the business catalogue function on WhatsApp takes things much further, allowing brands to showcase their products within chats. Don’t be surprised if watches start popping up in your feed if you happen to be talking about the latest Batman movie or if you express your desire to quench your thirst with a Pepsi.

Most important of all, however, is the new “Shop from Creators” feature on Instagram. The word “creator” misleadingly suggests that you are buying something from the person who actually made it. In Facebook’s lexicon, however, a “creator” is a content creator. The list of such creators, who will be able to tag products they feature in their posts, is quite short for the moment and not all of them have millions of followers. Their fans will, however, be able to buy any products they tag on their posts directly on Instagram without leaving the application, providing that the brand has signed up for Instagram’s new checkout feature. Like the list of creators, the list of these brands is also short, but it includes heavyweights like adidas, Burberry, H&M and Nike. It is telling, though, that one of the three mock-up screens included in the press kit for this new feature shows how it would work in the case of someone tagging a Michael Kors smart watch in a post. 

Social media, e-commerce, influencers (sorry, “creators”), smart watches… It’s a familiar and long-running story and it’s easy to use this latest news to foretell yet more impending doom for the fine watchmaking industry. But it would be wrong! That rather exclusive list of brands who use Instagram’s checkout programme also includes Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter, both of which are now part of the Richemont Group. In theory at least, watches from these platforms could soon be no more than an aspirational Instagram post away from their next customer. You could soon buy a $275,000 Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S Limited Edition Skeleton with just a couple of clicks on an Instagram post. (Sorry, you can’t – it’s sold out, but you get the idea.) 

Achèterez-vous votre prochaine montre sur Instagram ?

The downside of this new feature is that watch brands are likely to pander even more to the privileged few with the capacity to promote and now sell their products on Instagram. Fans and customers will still be none the wiser about whether these creators have a genuine affinity for products they feature or whether they are just being paid to feature them. How many posts have you seen on Instagram marked with the “Paid partnership” label that has already been available for nearly two years? 

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

6 May 2019
Patrick PAYEN
je sais pas meservir d'instagram
6 May 2019
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