Instagram launched a new feature in 2017 which allowed businesses on the platform to sell their products directly from their home page. As one of the most popular social media platforms amongst the 18-24 age group, Instagram has become a valuable selling tool for brands. Whether that’s from finding customers by inspiring them with outfits seen on your business account, or videos of construction work, Instagram is a great platform for selling. Even small businesses benefit from this platform, often by choosing to buy automatic Instagram likes to show organic viewers that their items have a large following. But with so many brands taking advantage of the shopping feature, which industries have benefited the most so far? Here, we take a look at the rise of Instagram shopping and how it affects online businesses…
1, Instagram shopping explained
Instagram shopping is incredibly popular for online brands, as it allows them to have more of a connection with their customer base. It’s reported that Instagram has over 800 million users, including 25 million business accounts and two million advertisers. Amy Cole, Instagram’s head of business development, tells Marketing Week: “Brands tell their story in the same way an individual person does, so it creates a direct relationship and levels the playing field for small and big businesses.”
Using a feature called Shopify, brands are able to directly link through to their goods via the platform. These “shoppable posts” allow users to click-through these links straight to the website. At the time of research, 600,000 businesses were reported as using Shopify, and more than $63 billion ( 48 billion) worth of products has been sold through the platform. But, how can businesses make the most of this feature?
2. How have consumers been using the platform?
According to data, more than 30% of the most viewed Instagram stories are from online companies. This suggests that people enjoy seeing what a business is up to and connecting with their favourite brands in this way. Plus, one third of messages sent through Instagram Direct each month begin with an Instagram Story. Keep your Stories updated and maintain a connection with your customers through this feature as preparation for Shopify on Stories. For instance, why not show your consumers what goes into the making of the latest piece?
One of the main advantages of Instagram shopping is that it allows companies to seem more natural in their advertising by showing off their products via their follower’s news feeds. This is unlike the other options of Instagram advertising where you choose from photo ads, carousel ads (with multiple pictures), video ads and Stories ads. Encourage users to click-through into the image with a call to action in the caption, such as encouraging them to learn more about the item by following the Shopify button or offering them the option to see more detailed images.
3. Which industries have benefited so far?
Fashion and jewellery brands have already benefited greatly from the introduction of the shopping feature. Whether it’s custom wedding rings, necklaces or simply a gift for a loved one, jewellery is not often a quick purchase decision for consumers. The interaction that customers can get with their brand through social media therefore plays on this, as it allows them to build a relationship and connect with a brand by following what they do online. In fact, 80% of people follow a business or brand through Instagram and more than 150 million people have a conversation with a business through the platform’s direct messaging feature (Instagram Direct) each month.
One particular brand reported that 59% of their overall sales were down to Instagram advertising and they say that this is because it allows people to discover the brand naturally on the platform without being exposed to it through other means. Through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, social media users can leave comments when they like a piece, or tag someone who they think it would make a nice gift for. Perhaps the purchase won’t happen straight away but situations like this, which wouldn’t occur without social media, start to increase brand awareness.
The popularity of social media influencers has also helped grow the platform. This is where individuals on Instagram with a high number of followers talk about or feature a product in their post – influencing followers to purchase it too. Businesses can use this strategy and encourage people to feature their products in posts, often leading to an increase in following and interest in the product.
With the introduction of shoppable Instagram, keeping in touch with your customers through the platform could mean more sales as well as increasing brand awareness.