500 million. That’s how many people use Instagram daily. That’s a huge consumer base that shouldn’t be ignored.
Users spend, on average, 28 minutes on the platform. That’s how much time you have to convert them into paying customers.
So what are people doing in these 28 minutes?
Typically, people on Instagram are engrossed in documenting and peacocking every aspect of their lives — and watching others do the same. And this is the potential that ecommerce brands are capitalizing on. The challenge lies in making the most of this opportunity and facilitating processes so that Instagrammers are eager to make a purchase.
Nearly 80% of users visit at least one business profile every day. And that’s understandable too. There are already 25 million business profiles on Instagram. An estimated 75.3% of U.S. businesses will be on the platform by the end of the year.
Plenty of small brands were built for Instagram, or rather, it was Instagram that helped build them in the first place. As a digital marketer, you want to benefit from everything this platform has much to offer. Retail activity through this channel will only increase. It’s expected to generate 6.8 billion U.S. dollars in Q4 this year alone.
The critical question is whether you’re a part of this statistic.
Retailers are keenly aware of the shift away from brick-and-mortar stores, especially with the current COVID-19 crisis. They have witnessed marketing and promotional roles transitioning onto Instagram (as well as other social media channels); 70% of shoppers now turn to Instagram for product discovery.
Ecommerce brands need to make the most of this opportunity
There are several ways you can utilize this platform to boost engagement and pump up sales. Successful brands are already tapping into every angle, including creating amazing stories, posting content regularly, promoting user-generated content, and coming up with interactive branded hashtag campaigns.
But partnering with the right Instagram influencers has significantly enhanced their efforts. According to the 2019 Influencer Marketing Global Survey by Rakuten Marketing, 99% of consumers discover new products because of their influencers. And 87% say that influencers have inspired them to make a purchase.
But wait. There’s more.
Brands can maximize revenue by incorporating sales campaigns into their social media marketing strategies. Instagram Shopping (also known as Insta Shopping) is helping to do just that.
Instagram Shopping is the holy grail of social media marketing
The truth of the matter is that Instagram is the de-facto platform for visual storytelling. It remains one of the best places to market your brand online, reach a broader target audience, gain a loyal following, and build a growing community of engaged fans around your brand.
But Insta Shopping is helping online brands master the final step of the sales funnel. It allows brands to showcase their products on posts and Stories.
Moreover, as a digital storefront, people can explore and discover a variety of products. Tapping on a product tag on a post or a product sticker in a story directs consumers to the product description page where they can find additional information, such as the price and product description.
Instagram released this feature to improve the relationship between retailers and their customers. But it’s also the ideal way to enhance the collaboration of more businesses with this platform.
How can your brand benefit from Instagram Shopping?
Here are ways that Instagram Shopping can benefit your brand:
1. Improved Marketing Strategies
By installing a CTA button to Instagram posts, businesses make it easier for shoppers to buy products. Whether it’s a Buy, Order, Reserve, or Shop option, it’s the ideal way to prompt consumers towards a sale.
Clicking on the button allows visitors to see additional products without leaving the Instagram app. With fewer distractions and facilitated shopping processes, there are fewer chances of cart abandonment. Moreover, shoppers can make decisions faster.
Notice how MVMT, a watch brand, uses the Shop button to direct users to their profile where they can see all of their products.
2. Improves the Buyer’s Journey
Customers have high expectations; they demand effortless shopping experiences and instant replies to their queries. Instagram Shop makes it simpler and faster for people to buy online. A few clicks and customers find themselves on the checkout page. A shorter buying journey with easy checkouts attracts more leads and translates to higher conversion rates.
For instance, a follower notices a product that an Instagram influencer uses and wants to find more information about it. Before Instagram Shopping, they would have to leave a comment, expressing interest in the product, and then wait for the influencer to reply.
But now, all they need to do is tap on the image and check if it’s been tagged. By double-tapping on the Runway Rose Gold-Tone Smartwatch, the tagged item in the below example, a viewer is directed straight to the product page @michealkors and then to Instagram checkout without leaving the app.
3. Increases Opportunities for Product Discoveries
Instagram is built on the concept of storytelling and showcasing. Scrolling and scanning are part of the trade. Clickable links direct interested people to pages where they can find more details about the product.
But being able to shop in the Explorer tab is a whole new experience. In fact, more than half of Instagrammers use it each month. Because it offers personalized content, you’ll come across more posts from brands you follow and those you may like. It lets users:
- Browse products
- Discover new trends
- Get personalized recommendations
- Preview exclusive launches
- Makes the entire browsing and shopping experience more fun
4. Improves Customer Experience
People can browse, discover, and purchase without leaving the app. Moreover, they can find all the relevant information to determine whether or not to make a purchase.
Shopping on Instagram is simple, convenient, and secure – the core ingredients for a happy buying experience. This not only encourages consumers through the marketing funnel, but it also boosts your brand’s online image and consumer loyalty.
5. Increases Consumer Engagement
Brands can now connect better with online shoppers through shoppable posts and videos, offering an immersive shopping experience. Instagram Shop allows brands to create captivating, realistic shoppable posts that attract and engage customers.
For instance, videos enhance consumer engagement. 85% of the users are more likely to buy your products after watching a video. But access to information in real-time, such as price and relevant products, helps people make buying decisions more quickly.
6. Boosts Sales and Revenue
The criteria of marketing strategies is to grow sales and revenue. Converting regular Instagram posts into shoppable ones helps change a user’s intention to purchase into an action. And since there is a greater focus on advertising, influencer marketing, and visual marketing, consumers are often tempted to purchase because shopping is so simple and straightforward.
According to bigcommerce.com, Natori saw a whopping 1,416% increase in traffic.
And since shoppable posts are more engaging, more people will land on your business profile, helping to increase sales. But more importantly, integrating Instagram Shopping with influencer marketing can have a more significant impact on sales.
By now, you probably clearly understand that there is an obvious risk of not owning a shoppable Instagram platform. Your customers cannot buy an item they like or link back to your site. You’re missing out on a valuable way to close leads.
Tips on how to use Instagram Shopping effectively and sell more products
All you need is a minimum of 9 products to create a shopping tab and feature it on your Instagram profile.
Here are a few tips to help you get the right results.
1. Post Stunning Photos
The key is to showcase your products realistically. Give your users a good look at the item and let them imagine themselves using it. Ensure photos are taken in well-lit areas so that all details are clearly visible.
However, it’s crucial that you don’t go overboard. Spread Instagram Shopping posts across your feed and stories to create suspense and intrigue, thereby increasing engagement.
2. Use a Tag or Sticker
Tags are actionable icons attached to image and video posts, while stickers are added to images and videos in Stories. There’s a limit to the number of products that you can tag in every post. You can use up to 5 shopping tags for every post. If you want to highlight several products, you can use carousel posts, tagging up to twenty items per carousel.
On the other hand, you can use only one shopping sticker per Story. But “Swipe-up” and “Learn More” links are other ways to sell products on Stories.
3. Promote User-Generated Content
Encourage followers to share pictures of your products on their accounts, possibly through contests or giveaways. Then repost them on your business profile. It’s the perfect way to leverage unique content. Moreover, it’s a great way to grow engagement and reach.
4. Don’t Forget Hashtags
Hashtags help your posts gain more exposure. The right ones can boost your product’s discoverability, making them more ‘searchable’ and ‘followable.’
By optimizing hashtags, your products can appear in the Shopping Explore tab, where you have the opportunity to display them to people with higher purchasing intent.
5. Collaborate with Influencers
Reach out to micro-influencers. They often have a higher engagement rate and are cheaper than high-profile celebrities. More importantly, they portray a more realistic and genuine image of products being used in real life.
6. Get Help from Creativity Apps
Instagram Shopping lets you express your artistic side and get noticed. Create something so different that consumers are lured to your brand. Apps like Boomerang, Hyperlapse, and Layout can help enhance your photos and videos. You’ll be surprised to learn that 25% of videos shared on Stories use Boomerang.
7. Monitor the Right Metrics
Every successful entrepreneur knows the importance of measuring the success of their social media marketing campaigns. All you need to do is identify the metrics that are relevant to your business. With the help of social media tools, you can effortlessly monitor and analyze engagement with online communities, the effectiveness of current strategies, ROI, and much more.
But with Instagram shopping posts and stories, in particular, you should watch how your audience reacted to each post or video. Did engagement improve or decrease? More importantly, what type of content gets the best results – video or user-generated images?
8. Implement Upselling Tactics
‘Sell the look’ are ideal ways to upsell to your customers. Instead of focusing on only one product, you can convince viewers to buy a range of products that go well together. Not only is this a smart business strategy, but it’s also a great way to increase conversions.
9. Instagram Checkout
Instagram Shopping is on the brink of becoming an e-commerce platform. The new checkout feature is proof of this.
While the closed beta was initially available for big brands like Nike, Burberry, and Zara, it has now gone mainstream and is accessible to all users in the United States. Instagram Checkout helps boost engagement and sales, so make sure your profile has this essential option.
What more can brands expect from Instagram in 2021?
The platform continues to evolve. No one can truly say what Instagram will offer in the future. But two aspects are sure to make a grand entrance.
AR Filters with Tagged Products
The “try on” feature is one of the latest and most successful ways for retailers to get customers to continue shopping. It’s effectively improving engagement and conversions.
Currently, Instagram is beta testing an AR shopping feature. Only a few brands, such as Warby Parker, MAC Cosmetics, Ray-Ban, and NARS Cosmetics, have access to it.
Affiliate Marketing Models
Instagram’s Shopping for Creators is a feature that allows influencers and content creators to add product tags from their brand partners to their Instagram posts and stories.
However, at the moment, there isn’t an affiliate model in place for influencers driving sales on behalf of brands. This option could emerge soon enough.
Instagram Success Requires Strategy and Specialization
Over the years, Instagram has transformed from a photo-sharing app to a platform where online businesses can market their products. But now, it’s offering another essential feature allowing brands to sell directly to Instagram users.
In fact, brand owners realize how Instagram is one of the best places to do business, especially those that target an audience under 35. This is where 130 million users are shopping each month.
It’s time to incorporate Instagram Shopping into your current Insta campaign and channel your expertise towards enhancing the shopping experience. With the right strategies, you can connect with more potential customers and leverage your brand.
Are you ready to make a bigger mark on your target audience and take your brand to greater heights?
Author: Evie Harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences in marketing and expressing herself through her blogs.
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