A helpful guide to the Instagram Shopping App
At Adsmurai we specialize in helping you automate and scale ads for social media. Today we’ll be looking at recent and upcoming developments on Instagram and the huge opportunity it brings your business. Later, we’ll also talk about something Instagram is developing to further revolutionise E-commerce. Let's kick off with a game changing new feature, Instagram Shopping!
What is Instagram Shopping?
Instagram Shopping is an app that Instagram has in development (in the beta stage at the time of writing) that will enhance both user experience and make life so much easier for businesses advertising on social media. It’s likely to be known as IG Shopping.
As Vishal Shah (Head of Product at @Instagram) says, users are constantly discovering new products and actively want to convert. So it makes sense that Instagram has taken the first step in allowing shoppable posts, and is now going further.
Isn’t it the same as ‘shoppable posts’?
No. The new app complements another of the features of the main app, ‘shoppable posts’. There are similarities, but IG Shopping is superior, both in terms of convenience to customers and benefit to businesses. IG Shopping does not come without drawbacks though, and we’ll discuss them towards the end.
All in-one-social media buying process
The new shopping app allows businesses to advertise products on a post (just like shoppable), the difference is that the former allows consumers to purchase there and then, creating an all-in-one social media buying process.
Instead of taking users to a landing page on the company website, the buying process is shortened by the number of clicks it would take to complete a purchase and the length of time for your landing page to load. Instead, the picture that enticed users to click almost becomes its own landing page. We’ve mentioned it in a previous article Instagram Shopping: The New Showcase but things are now heading into the next phase.
The app is still in the beta phase and so hasn’t been rolled out to everyone. This might explain a few whispers you’ve heard in your community about a revolutionary new feature and why you don’t have it. You would be forgiven for thinking why can my competitors use IG Shopping but I can’t? Simply because Instagram needs to iron out the bugs and judge its utility.
Why it’s imperative you use IG Shopping
If and when this app gets released to the wider world, you simply must take advantage of it. Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, and they’re constantly being exposed to new content. I’m sure it's similar for you, check your feed, get distracted by interesting ads or move to Explore to see related posts to entertain yourself for a few more seconds.
So, consumers on Instagram. They see your product, they ‘Like’ it, they move onto the next. How often does a user go to the effort of leaving Instagram, go to your site, enter their details and checkout?
Sure, it happens, but think about the buying process. Any marketer worth their salt knows that the shorter and easier the buying journey is, the more likely a purchase will be made.
Asking a consumer to leave Instagram, visit your landing page and complete the process is too long-winded. Especially nowadays when purchases, feedback and customer support are expected to be both personal and instantaneous. It’s equivalent to showing someone an interesting product in your shop, convincing them how great it is, but when they want to buy you say ‘Ok but you have to go over the road to our other shop to make the purchase’.
Would you, as a consumer? Maybe, maybe not, the dress, or whatever product it is, goes back on the shelf and the consumer moves on. In not doing everything you can to shorten the buying process, you’re leaving money on the table.
The Instagram Shopping app will remove a huge barrier to a potential purchase by keeping everything in one place. Payment details will have been entered previously, meaning consumers can simply click to buy. Decreasing the perceived difficulty of the buying process increases the likelihood of users becoming consumers.
The key takeaway for the app
Essentially, with this app, Instagram is putting your product in front of an audience that is ready to shop. This will likely lead to a high conversion rate.
What will the Instagram shopping feature mean for me?
There are four stakeholders when it comes to the Instagram shopping feature:
IG Shopping for my business
For a business using Instagram to raise the profile of the brand and bring your fantastic products to consumers, Instagram Shopping is BRILLIANT. As I said earlier, it makes the buying process shorter, quicker, easier. There are factors to consider if you’re a multinational organisation but we’ll speak about them and what Instagram is doing to help you, at the end.
IG Shopping for consumers
In a nutshell, it’s great. As a consumer, it’s much easier to see things we like and get what we want in a few clicks.
IG Shopping for E-commerce sites
For websites such as Like2Buy and Shopify, Instagram Shopping could (will) be bad news. These sites are currently beneficial to bloggers and social media influencers as it allows them to make money. Once the buying process can all be done ‘in-house’, E-commerce sites will no longer have a purpose as they extend the process instead of facilitating it. It could even spell bad news for E-commerce behemoth Amazon. The IG standalone app will likely take a huge chunk of Amazon third-party seller revenue.
IG Shopping for Instagram
I have to include this as Instagram is a stakeholder in this process, for them, launching the app is great. If it wasn’t, why would they do it? It keeps people on their app longer and enhances user experience.
How will Instagram make money from IG Shopping?
The app will make its money from ads, instead of taking a percentage of the sales you make as is the case with many third-party seller arrangements.
How to connect my E-commerce to IG Shopping?
When the shoppable posts feature went live, users needed to meet a few requirements in order to monetize Instagram posts. I tell you this because it’s likely similar requirements will be necessary in order to use the Instagram Shopping app.
So, let’s find out how to create shoppable posts (feel free to skip ahead if you already know about shoppable).
To enable you to begin selling on Instagram posts and stories, you must meet a few requirements:
The account you’re using must be a ‘business profile’ not a personal one.
You must be the admin.
Have a product catalogue connected to your shop on Facebook.
Send the request and wait a few days for approval.
What you’re selling must be a physical good, it’s not possible to sell services.
Upon approval, you can start tagging products.
Click to upload a new photo and tag up to 5 products.
Get this setup ASAP so that when IG Shopping becomes available, you’ll be ready to take advantage of it!
How to increase sales on Instagram: Feed Composer
Feed composer is a great way of reaching potential customers, bringing them content related to that which they have already expressed interest in. It makes creating and optimizing ads far easier, allowing you to customize your content for different audiences, let’s take a look at how.
On Instagram, selected accounts are able to use shoppable posts but we expect this to soon be outdated. It will instead be replaced by the much quicker app that is in development. IG Shopping is designed to reward the best content. Utilize customizable feeds to ensure your content is compelling enough to entice users and increase your sales on Instagram.
Feed composer allows you to use single images, carousels and Instagram stories. Once you’ve uploaded your product catalogue, you can personalize product images to attract clients and finally create the rules and conditions to target different members of your audience.
This simple but effective process puts you in a perfect position to be ready for the moment the fully functioning app is released to see your sales from Instagram skyrocket!
You can find out more about feed composer and increasing Instagram sales here.
IG Shopping: Potential Pitfalls
There is a caveat to the app, Instagram and Facebook have tried launching standalone apps and E-commerce solutions before. Success has been varied but ultimately limited, Facebook Gifts was shut down after a resounding failure and IGTV hasn’t yet breached the top 25 US app downloads.
Past failure does not predict the future, but it gives us an indication that Facebook hasn’t got this right yet. There is a reluctance to download extra apps and if IG Shopping doesn’t do extraordinarily well within twelve months, I predict that in the future it will resurface as an in-built part of the main Instagram app. But this is purely conjecture, as I said, past failure doesn’t predict future results with 100% accuracy.
But there is good news for Instagram...
Despite being a subsidiary of Facebook, Instagram is quite different from its parent company. The different way users interact with the app means that there is an increased likelihood that IG Shopping could work. Instagram is far more conducive to scrolling, swiping and discovering new content. Facebook in comparison is more about receiving updates, whether that be from friends and family or in the news.
One obstacle any E-commerce solution has to overcome has been around since the first time a user considered making an online purchase. Reliability. How can the buyer be sure they’re getting what they see in the picture? Is the seller going to take my money and run? Are they going to send me a picture of the jumper I thought I was buying? What about a return policy? Amazon has been around long enough to offer reliability, can Instagram do the same?
Easily increase conversion rate
There is also an argument that as users can currently purchase while on the app, are they likely to download a separate app just to save a few clicks later? Instagram certainly hopes so, because it means that anyone who has IG Shopping is there to buy, resulting in a far greater conversion rate.
One of the great things about Instagram is window shopping. Whether it’s for products or pictures of cute dogs, the window shopping nature of the app exposes us to tons of new content.
While the shoppable feature is a longer process, it has a much broader scope in terms of audience window shopping. Essentially, there are more people on Instagram than there will be on any IG Shop app, the task for Instagram is to convince enough users that the app is worth downloading.
The simplicity of Instagram is something that the app has long had going for it. An overload of information can turn users off, creating a standalone can help prevent Instagram becoming too cluttered. The app keeps things smooth, straight-forward and makes the purchasing process more comfortable for the consumer.
E-commerce and selling to a global audience
The app is a huge development in online shopping, but remember I mentioned Instagram is going further to revolutionise E-commerce? Well, they’re helping solve a huge problem faced by multinationals when selling on a global scale. If you have different consumers in different countries and continents, how is it possible to speak to them all? With Instagram Shopping Localized.
Instagram Shopping Localized and Multi-Markets
IG Shopping is the next step in making an all-in-one social media buying process. What comes after? Localized Instagram shopping. Many brands have different products and services, at different prices, in varying currencies throughout the world.
This means that whilst for a small, local business, a ‘one size fits all’ approach works fine, for large multinationals however, a multi-market approach is vital. If you’re interested to keep up to date with IG shopping and multi-market information as it develops, drop us your email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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