Is Instagram the Future of Social Commerce?
Instagram has changed a lot over the years. Businesses have more and more tools at their disposal. At one time, marketers could only tell users to click the link in bio. If they liked what they saw on their feed, then users would navigate to the business’s website. Then, Instagram implemented product tagging and shoppable Stories. This allowed marketers to tag products. Users could then buy that product from the post. That still required a separate landing page which navigated out of Instagram. To eliminate this, Instagram has created a new check-out feature. It allows users to shop right from the app without navigating elsewhere. It makes things easier for both users and businesses alike. Consumers purchase a product straight from the app. Businesses get an immediate sale. There’s no need to worry about someone being unable to navigate a website or abandoning their cart. It makes the customer journey easier. So, what does this new feature mean for your business?
Greater Sales and Ad Revenue
According to Business Insider, 72% of Instagram users have bought a product they have seen on the app. With the new feature in place, those purchases will likely occur much faster. It eliminates the obstacle of navigating outside the app. It makes shopping easier. Ashley Yuki, Instagram’s product exec, says that she believes “most people abandon [shopping] flows.” People like convenience. When something is too difficult, they are liable to give up. That is why website optimization and user experience is so important. Shoppers abandon carts all the time. The primary reason is a frustrating check-out experience. Instagram knows exactly what people want. They understand customer needs and want to provide a seamless experience. That means, making sure the app is both focused on social media as well as the shopping aspect.
With Instagram’s check-out feature, users only need to add their payment information once. The social media app teamed up with PayPal to make this as easy as possible. Shoppers can add their credit cards or PayPal information for quick purchase. Shoppers need only choose the item they want on a shoppable post and check-out through Instagram. Entrepreneur says that there’s already 46% of users who purchase a product they discovered on the app. They think that percentage is bound to rise with the introduction of the feature. We’re inclined to agree with them. The majority of Instagram users are Millennials and Gen-Z. They are the drivers of the on-demand, convenience culture. Ever since Amazon promoted it, every other modern brand must do the same. Especially if they want to reach the younger generations.
More sales mean that businesses are more likely to buy ad space. In-app purchases will draw more businesses. Users will look to Instagram more for products. Unlike on the Amazon marketplace, users can choose what brands they want to follow. Your business can showcase exactly what your product is all about. Using high-quality pictures and video, you convince users to purchase. All without having to navigate to your website unless they want to. Your feed should bring authenticity to your brand and product. You have an entire branded page dedicated toward marketing your product in the most aesthetically pleasing way. Consumers like visual content and interact with it more. With the check-out feature, it means more sales revenue.
Instagram Check-Out Feature
As said, users only need to input their payment information once. The app then saves their information for later use, making it simple to continue shopping. Instagram has essentially become another e-commerce shopping center. Users can buy straight from businesses or from influencers selling products. They can also manage their purchases, whether that means tracking or returning products.
It started with shoppable posts. Businesses and influencers could add shopping tags to their posts. Clicking the image would provide users with price information and even sales. They still had to purchase from the business’s website, but it would take them straight to the product they wanted. Now, there’s no need for any of that. The same information is available, but now users can buy from anyone all within the app. Of course, there are some fees to take into consideration. Instagram takes a small percentage of the purchase for providing this feature. That’s a small price to pay for the metrics and analytics provided for business accounts. According to The Atlantic, both businesses and influencers have access to metrics. When an influencer creates a post for a branded product, the brand also sees how well it did. This is especially helpful for brands because influencers can’t lie about their engagement rates. Influencers aren’t provided with any of the sales.
The shopping tag in the Explore tab can no doubt increase reach and sales for brands. The Explore tab was also given an overhaul. Both IGTV and the shopping tags are accessible in the shortcuts menu. That said, not all brands will be able to access the check-out feature just yet. Instagram is rolling out the feature only to specific companies. Brands and smaller businesses will have to work to increase their followers and engagement. Once the check-out feature reaches everyone, you’ll have an engaged community that is eager to buy from your posts.
Your business must first have shoppable posts enabled on your page. Create a catalog and start tagging your posts. You’ll see an increase in sales. Once Instagram check-out is available for your business, you’ll have a new sales channel.
The Future of Instagram and e-commerce
Instagram has been gearing up to become an e-commerce marketplace since 2017. They started with product tags on posts. Then they added Stories with the same features. The shopping tag in the Explore tab was another marketplace for those who advertise on the app. Instagram check-out was a long time coming. The app is already seen as a combination of social media app and advertising platform, as Vox points out. Instagram has become a catalog where each user can follow and interact with brands and vice versa. Users can access product information far more easily than they ever could before. Where once Instagram was only for promotions, it has become another sales channel, entirely. The app is becoming the leader of social commerce. With influencers able to tag products in their posts, user-generated content is going to be more important than ever in gaining customers.