As one of the largest social media platforms in the world, Instagram is home to one billion active users per month.
Although Instagram is a social networking service first, it is also an up-and-coming ecommerce platform for big and small businesses alike. In fact, the latest innovation in shopping has provided many companies an opportunity to showcase their products and more easily drive higher sales by completing a purchase without leaving the platform.
Every month, 130 million Instagram accounts tap on Instagram shopping posts to learn more about products.
The Instagram shop is redefining what it means to shop online and transforming the outdated user journey from social media to store. With the new all-in-one storefront, users are presented with products in an entirely different fashion that is both simple and easy to use.
But what exactly is an Instagram shop and how will it help you grow your business? Keep reading to discover all the ways an Instagram shop can convert followers to sales.
What Is an Instagram Shop?
An Instagram shop allows online businesses to create an immersive storefront that integrates a product catalog with an Instagram profile. Users can easily explore products and even purchase them through the shopping feature.
Instagram Shopping has also made marketing simple as businesses have the unique ability to promote products directly to consumers via posts, stories, in the explore tab, and in a special shop tab on your profile.
When a product catches a user’s attention, all they have to do is tap on the product tag seen on the post or the product sticker in a story. The user will then be taken to a product description page where they will see:
An image of the product from your post
A description of the product
How much the product costs
Keep in mind that while this feature is widely available, it’s not completely worldwide, and at this time internal checkout is only available to customers in the US and a select number of businesses.
Benefits of setting up an Instagram Shop
Whether you’re a big name brand or a small mom-and-pop shop, Instagram is overflowing with a hungry audience. Both selling and promoting products on the platform can revolutionize not only brand awareness but sales.
If you haven’t set up shop on Instagram, check out a few of the benefits you might be missing out on:
1. Simple online shopping for consumers
Instagram has always been a dynamic platform, perfect for reaching a target audience and building strong customer relationships. Making Instagram the ideal place to seamlessly integrate products amongst content.
There is a lot of noise online and it can be a real challenge to translate followers into sales. Luckily, Instagram Shopping has found an imaginative way to bring a storefront to consumers and surpass the traditional sales funnel.
An Instagram shop detaches the friction from the purchasing process and makes online shopping simple. Customers can skip jumping link to link and rather enjoy the effortless experience of browsing catalogs, checking prices, and learning more about a particular product all on one platform.
While an Instagram shop will do wonders for sales, it will also take the pressure off of product marketers as consumers are no longer asked to follow the breadcrumbs to company websites.
2. Market directly to consumers
For many brands, Instagram is the first place consumers go to connect. Whether it’s a fashion brand or a tech company, people are keen to check out products from the social media side of things before anywhere else.
With that being said, creating a storefront on the platform allows brands to market directly to consumers through various types of organic content.
This is known as business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, which can have a high return on investment (ROI) when managed well. B2C marketing is chock-full of benefits as the method also includes a higher customer satisfaction rate and provides more opportunities to expand your business.
It’s important to keep in mind that in order to successfully market directly to consumers, a business profile on Instagram should already have a strong brand personality and stick to the brand voice. What makes B2C marketing so influential on Instagram is also what makes it quite challenging.
3. Tap into impulse buying
Instagram content has a not-so-unique way of making us feel like we need new things. Whether it’s a trendy outfit or a brand new camera, content can quickly convince us that if we only had this one product we’d somehow be better.
While this mindset is something many of us try to shake off, it’s also one of the top reasons why Ecommerce has skyrocketed in the past few years. With products so perfectly positioned and easily bought, the Instagram shop has tapped into the market of impulse buying.
Impulse buying is a strong marketing strategy as the consumer does not give much importance to the product itself, but rather what the product can bring to their life or how it will make them feel. Subsequently, impulse buying relies heavily on emotions, which makes it a great pair for B2C marketing.
Businesses who sell items that are geared towards lifestyle, status, or productivity are prime examples of products that will speak to impulse buyers and are a fantastic match for the Instagram shop.
Instagram shopping features that stand out
If you already have an Instagram shop or are planning on launching one, make sure that you’re familiar with all of its features to drive higher sales and get the most out of each post. From tagging products to utilizing the ‘Try on’ feature with augmented reality, Instagram Shopping has a lot to offer:
1. Shopping feed posts
To begin, Instagram feed posts are the most basic form of Instagram Shopping and allow businesses to post a photo and tag up to five products within the photo. Each product tag allows users to explore more about each item, including an alternate image, pricing, description, and link.
Although this is a simple way to drive sales on the platform, it is one of the most effective as product promotion is carefully integrated alongside organic content. Many big brand names including the clothing retailer H&M and the creative software company Sony are making great use out of Instagram Shopping feed posts.
2. Shopping carousel posts
Another fantastic way to make your feed shoppable is through Instagram carousel posts. Just like regular carousel posts, a shoppable one includes a stream of photos that can then hold up to 20 tagged products within the images.
Carousel posts are a great way to release a seasonal lookbook or introduce users to a wide range of products all at once. The luxury fashion brand Revolve has even used the carousel post to show off a single pair of colorful pants from different angles to give customers a better idea of the size and fit of their product.
3. Stories with tagged products
Don’t forget about Instagram Stories, as these 24-hour posts have the potential to drive major traffic. To make your stories shoppable, all you need to do is add a product sticker to the post, and voila!
Tagged products on Instagram Stories are a great way to notify followers of new products that they can find on your profile page or repurpose older content to push sales. The clothing and home decor company Anthropologie has been a trendsetter in using the latest feature.
The company offered followers personalized gift-giving advice by tagging the perfect product for each specific need.
4. New AR filters with tagged products
To top off the Instagram Shopping experience the platform released a brand new augmented reality shopping feature. The latest tool is just as cool as it sounds by allowing consumers to try on products digitally before purchasing them.
Although the feature is currently undergoing beta testing, the tool will eventually allow companies to create a personalized experience for each product. For example, customers will have the option to try on different lipstick shades or see what they’d look like in a sweater before buying it.
This feature isn’t open to the public just yet, but it’s something to keep your eye on and look forward to!
Instagram has taken social media by storm and is making massive waves in Ecommerce. As the platform continues to grow, so do its innovative and imaginative features.
Instagram Shopping has opened up a whole new world for B2C marketing and has even managed to capture a large share of impulse buying.
With the help of multiple features like feed posts and product stickers for stories, shopping on Instagram has blossomed into a collective user experience.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.