With over a billion active users, and 80% of those users following at least one business, Instagram is a powerful platform for reaching new customers and engaging loyal fans. Instagram has been a little behind the curve when compared with the e-commerce features seen on other platforms, such as Facebook. However, with its ever-evolving features and growing e-commerce capabilities, the gap is fast closing and Instagram shopping is an unmissable marketing opportunity.
Instagram is the go-to place for users to keep up-to-date with the latest trends. It is, however, important to consider attention span and the fact that some users aren't necessarily on the platform to shop. The shorter marketers and businesses can make the Instagram shopping journey from product sighting to finally purchase, the better. Many of the new features Instagram is beta testing will help users get the looks and products they desire more quickly and easily. Most of these new Instagram shopping features are only available for a select number of creators and businesses, but they do give a sneak peek at what may be possible for a wider range of businesses in the future.
Shop Looks From Creators and In-App Checkout
In early 2019, Instagram announced some big changes to the way it facilitates e-commerce. One of these new Instagram shopping features is the ability to shop looks from creators and rivals the Shop the Look feature on Pinterest. With this new feature, a limited number of test creators can tag the looks they are wearing in their Instagram posts, linking back to the products. Creators can be anyone from musicians, to designers, to influencers tagging their favourite brands, so businesses themselves don't always have to promote their own products to benefit.
From the tags, there is also the option of in-app checkout. Also released on a limited basis to select US businesses, in-app checkout allows Instagram users to purchase items directly within the app and save their purchasing info for future transactions.
Just as powerful as the instant gratification of buying products on the spot is the exciting anticipation of awaiting soon-to-be-released items. Enter: product launches. Instagram is now helping brands build hype and raise awareness of new products with its Instagram shopping product launch tools. Select businesses, such as Adidas, MAC, and Levi's, are now able to promote product launches with stickers for Instagram Stories and product launch tags on posts in the main feed. From these stickers and tags, users can set reminders that will notify them via push notifications the day the product is released.
Augmented reality, or AR, is more than just adding funny animal ears to your selfies on Snapchat, it is now being used as a powerful tool to enhance user shopping experiences. AR is among the features Instagram is offering in its new push to see more growth in e-commerce. Users can now try on cosmetics such as blushes and lipsticks, and accessories like sunglasses, all in-app using AR. An additional benefit to this feature is shareability. Users will be able to take selfies with their virtual items and share the photos in their feeds and stories, with links back to the products, making AR is an exciting new Instagram shopping opportunity for businesses.
IGTV, Instagram's answer to YouTube and Facebook Watch, had a slow start as creators struggled to make content to cater to the platform's vertical format. Regular content creators were used to creating horizontal or square videos that could be recycled across platforms, but IGTV's vertical requirement often calls for completely fresh content. For some time, it appeared that the platform wouldn't take off, but now with video previews showing in the main Instagram feed, it is beginning to gain some traction, making it an under-tapped avenue for reaching new customers. There are no options for purchasing ads as of now, however, creators and businesses with accounts that already allow for product tagging can take advantage of that feature in IGTV, tagging their products on their IGTV content.
Ready to start leveraging Instagram for increased brand awareness and e-commerce possibilities? Contact Digital Stand today to find out more about how we can help.