An Introduction to Instagram Shopping: How Important Is It?

Instagram shopping is the new way in e-commerce to showcase your virtual store. It not only provides a storefront for businesses, but appeals to customers and keeps them updated through Instagram posts and stories. Instagram shopping was introduced in 2018 as an integration of Instagram assisting major e-commerce platforms in adding value for their customers.

With emerging trends in the global shopping industry, over 2.2 billion people worldwide shop goods online, and 62% of all buyers shop at least once a month. On Instagram, there are over 1 billion monthly active users (MAU), and 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily. The daily average time spent in the app amounts to 28 minutes per day (as of July 2020). Every day 500 million people actively watch stories and one third of the most-viewed stories are from businesses where users shop on average once per month. Such stats make Instagram shopping appealing to businesses, as the process of posting and checkout is simple and straightforward.

Instagram Shopping
Instagram Shopping

Instagram posts and stories are a major part of Instagram shopping. 72% of Instagram users report making purchase decisions based on something that they saw while browsing the app, so making the posts and stories attractive and appealing to consumers is a must. Instagram provides different shopping methods:

Tags
Under this option, the products are tagged by external e-commerce platforms such as Shopify for example. By clicking the tags on product pictures in posts, the consumer will be directed to the website of the brand for more features of the product.

Checkout
This is the option for direct checkout for brands’ products. It is currently available for U.S. based brands and businesses as well as a few dozen other countries. It is yet to fully roll out to all regions. Basically you can checkout and purchase items without ever leaving the app

Explore
The Explore tab is a simple method for every Instagram user, so they can easily navigate and see the ‘Shop’ area, specific where posts related to shopping products are shown.

Stories
Akin to the product tagging, in the stories usually the user needs to swipe up and the external site will be opened in an overlay in the Instagram app.

Stickers
Product stickers are usually featured products that create a direct route for users to buy the product directly from Instagram stories. After tapping the sticker, the image of the product with its’ description and cost will be shown and the next tap will direct the user to the website.

Instagram has also started a “Support Small Business” sticker to feature and help build small businesses through Instagram. There are a lot of options provided by Instagram but brands need to portray a better shopping experience with appealing product looks and key detailed visuals in posts, to improve engagement and chances for converting shoppers.

Instagram Shopping continues to evolve with more and more features and frequent updates over time. This has transformed brands’ power and options and therefore strengthened them in the marketplace. The impact and usefulness of Instagram Shopping can be summarized in below points:

  1. Brand resonance is directly linked with brand awareness, brand perception and brand image, which can be boosted with a shopping presence on Instagram.
  2. One Instagram report showed that users viewed 78% brands as popular, 77% as relevant, 74% as creative and 72% as community builders regardless of being a new or unknown business. Hence, it shows how positively it impacts brand perception.
  3. Instagram Shopping helps buyers reach trendy and popular products. 83% of people discover new products and services, whereas 81% get inspiration through exploring through categories and products.
  4. Instagram Shopping posts also come with comments, which push engagement and buzz around the product. Comments help users in the buying process as many comments are actually product reviews by people who have purchased the product. 70% of people are able to make their purchase decision through reviews they have read in Instagram comments.
  5. The Instagram Shopping experience through brand content helps build strong intent of purchase in consumers. This is the reason for digital marketing and branding experts to work on visual design perfection and optimizing sales message or call to action.
  6. Last but not the least, Instagram Shopping help brands reach their personalized market by location, demographics and interests.

All in all, Instagram Shopping is just one of the many functions and features that Instagram has introduced to make the app more appealing and cross-functional and therefore reach and capture a larger audience to engage, which is always the goal of such an app or business.

At MANTODOM, we offer Instagram shopping setup and management, please see Social Media Marketing for details.