TECHNOLOGY

Everything You Need to Know About Instagram’s New Shopping Feature

Capture the Instagram audience by adding a shopping feature to your business account.

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BY Kaleigh Moore - 05 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Instagram Shopping is still in the early stages, but it presents an interesting opportunity for retailers: The ability to tag products within posts on the platform. Right now, it's still restricted to US-based merchants selling physical goods in select product categories that align with Facebook's Privacy Policy, but as of this week, more retailers will have access to this selling tool.

Here's how it works: Sellers with online stores set up through e-commerce platforms like BigCommerce will now be able to leverage Instagram Shopping by connecting the Instagram app with Facebook Product Catalog, which allows brands to tags products within their Instagram posts.

This announcement is good news, as the numbers are already illustrating the selling power of this social platform. With more than 800 million monthly active users and data showing that 60 percent of Instagram users discover new products there, the opportunities are endless. What's more: Additional research shows that 72 percent of Instagram users have made a fashion, style, or beauty-related purchase after seeing it on Instagram.

And brands like Natori--a well-known women's fashion company--have already seen a positive impact from Instagram Shopping. Thanks to this feature, Natori has seen a 1,416 percent increase in traffic week-over-week, and revenue is already up 100 percent, according to study data from the brand's selling platform.

So what are some of the best practices for Instagram Shopping? Here are my four best tips for making these efforts successful.

  • Make your posts feel genuine. Instead of overly Photoshopped images that look and feel like ads, strive for authenticity that connects with the target audience.
  • Be cohesive. Create a general aesthetic within your Instagram images so that your audience comes to know the general look of your brand.
  • Post consistently. Having a regular schedule for posting on Instagram helps ensure you're consistently building a presence on this platform. Whether it's 3x per week or 10, keep your posting schedule regular.
  • Tell a story. Rather than posting mere product images, try to integrate a story element that connects your audience with the brand.

As you think about testing out Instagram Shopping within your own strategy, carefully consider your audience and your products. Ask yourself: Is my target market using this platform? Do images of my products translate well in a social setting like this one?

For retailers within the beauty, health, and fashion industries, a selling via a tool like Instagram makes sense, but for industries like technology and electronics, for example, it can be a bit more difficult. At the end of the day, testing is the only real way to know for sure if it will work for your business.