A few months ago we covered the shopping features coming to Instagram during its beta testing.
The feature allowed brands to upload a single photo containing a number of product items which they could tag, allowing users to interact with each individual product.
After clicking on a product item, they would be led to the product description and a 'buy' button to your store, like so:
In early April, Instagram officially rolled out their new placement to thousands of businesses that sell apparel, jewelry, or beauty products.
To qualify, as well as being in any of the above niches, your website must be hosted on BigCommerce or Shopify and meet the following criteria:
- Have an Instagram business profile
- Content must be in English
If you meet these requirements, it's time to get your product feeds ready and optimized, because you're going to want to use this feature ASAP. Here's why:
Shopping is now mobile
As mobile devices become more powerful, the need for laptops and computers for personal use is on the decline. 88.5% of digital shoppers come from mobile with a third of all retail sales in the U.S. influenced by mobile.
This is why Instagram as a platform and its new placement is so powerful. Reaching more than 400 million users every day and being a mobile-only network, there is no better mobile media buying platform for e-commerce brands than Instagram.
This doesn't mean that every brand needs to get on Instagram and apply a pitch-first approach, overloading fans and new audiences with 'buy me' buttons and ads that push the hard sell.
Compared to print magazine, Instagram is more likely to be used for product discovery and purchase inspiration.
In other words, Instagram is perfect to raise awareness of your brand and products, targeting audiences at the top of your funnel (cold interest targeting, lookalike audiences, page engagements, etc.).
It's a place for brands to find new customers and a place for consumers to discover new products and brands.
Through creative imagery (using the shopping placement) and story-telling, you can build relationships with new customers and nurture existing fans.
This is exactly what the world's biggest brands do.
You'll struggle to find a more powerful, motivated, and story-telling Instagram account than Nike. Each piece of content Nike uploads aims to inspire users and discover their latest products.
The stats don't lie
Facebook revealed that 63% of fashion buyers take more than 24 hours to make a purchase, emphasizing again how important the discovery and inspiration phase is.
With ads flying at consumers from all directions, impulse buying is on the decline. Brands must now think of new ways to draw in consumers and make it easy for them to discover, learn, and buy.
The shopping placement lets users discover up to four products in a single image, click on the item that they are most interested in to learn more or view more images, and even be directed to your website in one seamless shopping experience.
Currently, 4.1% of all impressions lead to users tapping on a product, with 19.2% of people that tap on a product ultimately visiting a brand's website.
While shoppers may not convert on their first website visit, by retargeting on Instagram or Facebook dynamic product ads or collections, you can bring visitors back to your website or mobile app.
Streamline your Instagram sales funnel
In a previous blog post we talked about how Facebook collections offered e-commerce brands a new sales funnel to grab consumers' attention, help them learn more about a product, and be able to buy the item through a streamlined mobile experience.
Instagram shopping is the exact same; it allows consumers to easily discover new products and quickly learn more with a single tap while not having to leave Instagram. Consumers have the flexibility to visit your shop on mobile, go back and discover more products, or go back to their Instagram feed.
Many brands and in-house marketers view Instagram as a place to dive sales but forget to view the bigger picture: Instagram is a virtual shopping mall that is visited by millions of consumers every day to discover new items.
You must do everything you can do to leverage every virtual inch of space to increase your opportunities to find more customers. You can do this by serving the right type of content at each phase of your customer journey.