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Demystifying the PP Phenomenon

Here I am demystifying the PP phenomenon, a unique user behavior that can be converted into sales. 

Every fashion and jewelry brand has faced this, you make a post hoping it will attract traffic to your website but instead you are bombarded with pp pp pp pp pp pp…… 

You don’t know what to do, you hire a human to reply to this comment and DM the person with the link to the product. A really monotonous job, often allocated customer service agents or interns at fashion brands.

But as many of those users often don’t reply or shop or go over to your website, you wonder. 

So here you go, I interviewed customer care managers from across the fashion industry to really understand what's going on in the pp lady’s mind. 


Q: How did pp even start and how does everyone know about it?

A: PP started on facebook about 7 to 8 years ago when small retailers without websites were posting products for sale, since their business was personalized and small scale they wanted to interact in the DMs or on call and figure out what the customer actually wanted. So many years hence, PP is a great study of adoption of a new term and action, it is as strongly understood as an emoji. Infact pp is almost an emoji! 


Q: Are they serious buyers?

A: Here’s the split - 60% have the intention to shop, 30% are just doing it to feel good, feel acknowledged when a brand replies to them, 10% are doing it for no reason at all. 


Q: If entertained do they buy?

A: Yes 15-20% convert to sales when a human replies with a link and then answers further queries around size, composition and discount. One of the brands I spoke to goes to the extent of taking their numbers and calling them to transact. Around 10% convert if an automatic link has been sent to them which also seems like a good conversion rate. 


Q: How long should a brand reply in?

A: Within 30 mins or max one hour will increase the likelihood of making the sale. 


Q: What is the age group of the PP er :) 

A: 25-45, teenagers don't pp, let's hope that means in a few years this phenomenon may die out but until then we are all looking for a solution. 


Q: What do the PPers have to say, why do they pp?

A: Actually they are pretty pissed that brands don’t write the price upfront on the post or story in an attempt to take them away from instagram. I see their point there, it would be a lot easier if the price was right there.


Q: So why do brands not add the price to the post?

  1. Brands feel that by writing the price upfront, the customer loses interest, there is no curiosity that may make them click on the link in bio and come over to the website where they may also shop other products along with this one. 
  2. Brands love the engagement this creates on the post, some brands I know have created a product, photographed it, and never uploaded it on the website, only on instagram to get even more pps + can’t find this on the website
  3. Brands don’t want to leave posts on instagram with pricing, in a year they may make this product again and at a slightly higher price.   


Q: Do these customers negotiate in DMs, what are their questions? 

A: Yes they do, they ask for discounts, but in most cases they just want to ensure they have chosen the right size. Sometimes they are looking for an explanation around the price and value of the product and when explained that it is handmade, they are convinced and end up buying. 


Q: Do you send them the exact product link?

A: Sometimes the exact link, sometimes the brands send them the category page as they want them to checkout a lot more products as they are more likely to buy one of them.


Q: Are you able to measure what sales you are doing by replying to these?

A: No there is no tracking so we actually don't know the ROI, but have a sense of it. One thing is for sure we cannot ignore it! 




There are a couple of automation solutions for this problem 

  1. Spur App - 
    Book Demo -
  2. Delight Chat -
  3. Many Chat - (I have not used or met them, but I hear they also provide this solution)

I am currently using Delight Chat for Customer Care Management at Relove and hence we extended to using the same for replying to pps. Try to type pp on any of the posts at within seconds you will get a reply on the comment and a DM with the link to shop. The limitation here is that just one link can be sent which usually is your whole website or category page. 

If you want to send the link to the exact same product then you should use Spur which is an app focused solely on solving the pp problem. 

Should you have another conversational customer care management app and it does not have the automated pp reply set up, again I would go with Spur. 

I took a demo of the Spur app and it seemed very easy to use, I also loved the energy of the team and the founder. A sweet bunch of engineers trying to deeply understand this pp problem. 

Spur also allows you to calculate the impact of replying to these pps. What % converted to sales etc. Should the customer see the link and add to cart and then not buy, it will also send cart abandoned messages on instagram. 

To be able to send the exact same product in DM, on Spur inside your shopify you will have to tag posts to products, just see if you are ok with this and it's worth it for you, I think it will be worth it if you get at least 10 pps per post. 


Non Tech 

This is what I did for the longest time, I had someone for solely replying to pps. Now to be fair you will hire this person for about 12-15K and they may be able to convert a certain amount of sales for you depending on the volume for your brand. You have to make sure that this math is working for you. You can afford this one person for pp should they be converting at least 1 lakh in sales monthly. I have seen that giving this as additional responsibility to another role in the team doesn't usually work as they are not able to be quick enough to reply within 30 mins in the middle of their other work. 


Conclusion: These customers subconsciously imagine instagram to be a marketplace. They simply leave pps when they like a product, which is equivalent to the wishlist on a website or even add to cart. They do not want to leave the platform we are all so addicted to and break their flow. 

Should the brand revert, they will be able to get a personalized very individual and special purchasing experience. The fact that a brand has replied also makes them trust the brand to actually exist and add that offline human element of an acknowledgement when you enter a store. I almost feel it’s the equivalent of “ye kitne ka hai” 

Do note, these are not sponsored posts by Spur or Delight Chat, I just feel your pain replying to those pps :) 

I encourage you to leave your questions in comments so I can get more answers from these technology providers for you. 








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