Nothing is as it appears on Instagram’s Ghost Stores
Instagram has proven to be one of the best platforms for selling fashion. The emphasis of the platform on the visual makes it the perfect place to display fashion items of the online store. The emergence of the “Instagram boutique” is part of a long platform campaign to keep users in their ecosystem for as long as possible. One side effect of the emergence of Instagram boutiques was the rise of companies that supposedly create their own fashion, but which, according to a text by Terry Nguyen of Vox, simply resell the fashion they bought from cheap suppliers.
The only thing about online stores that we haven’t quite solved is that it’s easier to sell a lie online than in person. For example, it takes a lot more deception to pretend to create your own fashion if you operate as a personal store, compared to an online store. As Nguyen reports, many Instagram boutiques have taken advantage of the deception opportunities opened up by the online world, claiming they are something they are not. Nguyen opens her article describing an Instagram boutique that has the slogan “Change is innovation” and claims to be in Los Angeles, owned by women, and hints that the clothing is reworked or made from old, discarded fabrics. However, when Nguyen did a reverse search of Google clothing images, after he became suspicious that prices were too low for handmade clothing, he was taken to another Instagram boutique and AliExpress, where the same items were sold using exactly the same promotional images. half the price of items sold in the initial Instagram boutique. Nguyen calls this an example of “spiritual trade” and says their number has risen as stores are increasingly relying on Instagram as a sales channel.
Over the last few years, the Instagram team has worked hard to make it visually appealing, easier to use, and more appealing and viral. So it’s no surprise that the platform has exploded so quickly into a large shopping platform. The Instagram that sells their goods there doesn’t always sell exclusively on Instagram. What they do is use the platform to attract customers to their websites and applications, through advertising and influential marketing. Online shopping exploded, especially during the pandemic era when shopping in person was difficult to do for a long time. However, many customers have become cynical about brand claims.
Customers have realized that many brands are willing to take the opportunity to lie or distort the truth provided by the online marketplace. Many brands, for example, participate in green laundry, claiming to have more environmentally friendly practices than they actually have. In this case, Nguyen has found, like many people, that some brands sell goods they can find at much cheaper prices, without any compromise in quality, on platforms like Amazon, AliExpress, YesStyle and Shein. A Business Insider reporter bought two dresses from an Instagram boutique called It’s Juliet and revealed that two $ 34 dresses can be purchased on AliExpress for $ 10!
Other Instagram boutiques have an even more radical business model. They do not keep any inventory, instead they rely on drop shipping to deliver goods to customers when they order. For example, a boutique on Instagram could create an online store where it looks like you’re browsing their inventory, and you’re actually just going through a catalog of things on AliExpress or some other vendor. When you place an order and pay, they deliver the items to you from AliExpress, giving you the impression that they had the goods on hand, while actually doing what you could easily do at home.
While there are many honest and reputable online stores on Instagram, the piece is a reminder that not everything is as it seems. It is important to take due diligence. One thing you can be sure of is the quality of the products offered by Creative Cabinets and Fine Finishes.