RewardStyle isn’t worried about Instagram’s ‘shop now’ button, announces investment from Miroslava Duma & Nasiba Adilova

Brands and retailers have been asking for ways to make their Instagram content instantly shoppable almost since the platform’s launch. Demand has resultantly spawned a number of third party and copy cat apps as well as a few brands that have had a go at doing this themselves, the most widely used and recognised being LiketoKnow:it.

LiketoKnow:it -which is an offshoot of affiliate retail commissions site RewardStyle- was originally created for bloggers to monetise their Instagram content. The technology has since then opened up to retailers with 30 big names such as Urban Outfitters and Asos announcing their involvement at the launch last month.

RewardStyle announced on Thursday at the Fashion Tech Forum in New York its first round of investment that the company has taken on in its five-year history. The funding and strategic partnership comes from Buro24/7 founders Miroslava Duma and Nasiba Adilova.

This news follows the announcement Instagram made last Tuesday that it was introducing shoppable ads in addition to opening up its advertising platform to more companies. The new function allows for shopping within Instagram where as before you had to exit the platform.

Now it seems the question is how the technology and function of LiketoKnow:it will sit with Instagram’s ‘shop now’ button as it’s rolled out. According to the brand, this isn’t something they’re concerned about as the button serves a different purpose on the platform.

Kaetlin Andrews, Global Public Relations Manager at RewardStyle said that the technology isn’t in direct competition with Instagram and instead is complementary to the platform’s discovery method and motto: “LiketoKnow:It acts more as a native ads vehicle and doesn’t disrupt the user flow.” The impact ads have on the flow of the platform is something that Instagram has been cautious of. Now that an increase in ads is starting to stream through to users, it will be interesting to see what the response is.

She also talked about the opt in nature of the technology as an important differentiator: “It doesn’t act like spam because the service is only for people opting in, it’s also free to content creators who obviously wouldn’t typically be interested or have the budget for buying ads or buttons.”

On the brand side of things Andrews also highlighted the fact the ads don’t allow for any product information on a consistent basis, so brands and retailers looking to showcase new products regularly can do so organically throughout their feed.

The company is on a fast-paced growth curve. As RewardStyle Co-Founder Amber Venz Box revealed at the conference: “In 2014 LiketoKnow:It delivered 4% of retail sales to our partners and in 2015 it’s expected to be closer to 10%.” Evidently it’s a good time for investors Duma and Adilova to come on board; 2014’s 4% growth equaled $10m in sales and is expected to hit $60m this year. The partnership is aimed at two main focuses according to Venz Box, international expansion and luxury partnership growth.

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