Best of all? These shopping tools are available to businesses at no cost.
If it seems too good to be true, it just might be, but first, let’s look at what the tools have to offer.
We know by using Instagram to show the more personal, human side of our brands we can build trust with consumers.
According to a study by Dana Rebecca Designs, 72% of surveyed users said they have made fashion, beauty or style-related purchases after seeing something on Instagram. Furthermore, 25% of those surveyed consider themselves “somewhat to very influenced” by accounts they follow on Instagram.
So, why not then give them a friction-free, seamless way to purchase the thing they see and want right in the moment?
Instagram felt the same way.
That’s why they’re rolling out Shoppable Stories globally this week.
Shoppable Stories are just like regular Instagram stories except they allow brands to add tags or “stickers” that link to specific products on their websites. They can add one sticker per story and even customize the color to match the item featured in their post.
Image via Instagram-press.com
When a user taps a sticker it opens a product details page which provides them with a link to the brand website to actually complete the purchase.
Naturally, businesses will be able to track the number of clicks their tags are getting and how many continued on to purchase through their website. Retailers can also partner with companies like Shopify and BigCommerce to make using Instagram’s shopping stickers easy.
Customize the text color on product stickers to complement your visual creative
Try using product stickers in stories for your product launches or sales announcements
Keep the product as the focal point in videos when using a product sticker
Personalized Shopping Recommendations from Brands You Already Follow
In addition to the topic channels such as “food” and “travel” which are already available in Explore (aka search) in Instagram, there will now be a “shopping” channel which will show users shopping-tagged posts from brands they already follow as well as related businesses they may like based on their interests and past engagement with shopping posts.
Image via Instagram-press.com
By adding a shopping section to Explore, Instagram hopes to make it “easier for users to shop when they’re in the mood” according to Vishal Shah, product management director at Instagram.
For the time being, Instagram has “no comment” on the topic of a standalone shopping app. However, allowing users to purchase directly within Instagram in the future could certainly shorten the buying cycle and get more users to complete purchases.
So, that brings us back to the topic of whether or not brands should take the bait of these wonderful (and free) new shopping tools.
Should You Explore Instagram’s Shopping Tools?
While free tools to encourage users to make purchases may seem like a no-brainer, think back how news outlets responded to Facebook’s surge of referral traffic to publishers a few years ago.
They became so dependent on the Facebook traffic so quickly, they were completely caught off guard when Facebook cut them off as they began to focus things back on content from friends and family.
While the shopping tools on Instagram are definitely a nice bonus, be careful how much you prioritize diving into these new features.
Instagram is still in complete control of how the Explore section functions and tend to be pretty responsive to their users’ feedback.
Businesses should still develop relationships with their followers on Instagram and make it easy for them to buy things they see and like without getting too caught up in the potential Amazon-equivalent Instagram of the future.