Instagram has long been a hit with millennials. A recent study shows that 71% of Instagram users around the globe are under the age of 35. Of those users, the split between men and women is pretty even. eCommerce businesses would be wise to tap into that market, especially since 1 billion people use Instagram every month.
We all know that people are attracted to Instagram for the eye-catching photography and viral moments. This visual appeal is what businesses are counting on. A brand’s ability to create a story that highlights products through Instagram, combined with the use of influencers in these images, can lead to sales that will impact the bottom line.
Retailers need to meet certain criteria before selling on Instagram. Does your business sell physical goods? Is your business located in a country set-up for this marketplace? You will also need to convert your Instagram account into a business profile and have your product catalog associated with a shop on Facebook. Once everything has been setup, reviewed, and approved by Facebook/Instagram – then you are good to go!
In addition to great visuals, the use of shoppable tags has made it easy for Instagram users to see the item description and cost for each product. After you tap on the shopping bag icon in the lower left corner, shoppers are led to the company’s website to complete the purchase.
These Shoppable Tags have been around over a year, but in the last several weeks, Instagram has introduced two exciting developments that have generated buzz in the retail community.
The first addition is the Checkout with Instagram program that is currently in beta testing phase. This in-app shopping feature makes it easier for users to view, shop, and checkout with fewer clicks. When you tap on a product photo from a brand that has opted into this program, you will see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Shoppers can then decide on size and/or color choices by scrolling and tapping.
After you place your order, you’ll get to choose your method of shipping, and then pay with your credit card that can be stored on the Instagram app. Instagram is charging a “selling fee” to merchants each time a sale is made on the platform.
While this is only in test mode, because “Checkout on Instagram” makes shopping a friction-free process for consumers, I am confident that this program will be rolled out to additional retailers in the near future.
Another new development is that Instagram has made it easier for consumers to shop products that are promoted by influencers. Influencers can tag up to five items from one brand in either an image or video post, as well as in stories. This new introduction is in beta testing as well and represents how much sway influencers have on consumers. According to a recent study, “Nearly half of Americans make purchases from influencers, so it’s integral that brands are informed on the best ways to connect with their consumers and are appropriately using all avenues,” said Jay Rampuria, EVP at Toluna.
As Instagram continues to develop new shopping features, we see this marketplace evolving into a fantastic opportunity for retail growth. For eCommerce businesses looking to showcase their product catalog on Instagram, the idea of managing hundreds or even thousands of products across multiple marketplaces can be rather challenging. Having a feed management platform that can assist with order management will ease this burden by automatically pulling orders from Instagram, placing it into eCommerce stores, and sending the tracking number back to Instagram.
About the Author
Brian Roizen is the co-founder and chief architect of Feedonomics, a full-service feed optimization platform that optimizes product data for hundreds of channels. He has been featured on numerous podcasts and webinars, and regularly contributes to Search Engine Land and other industry-leading blogs. Brian graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.