Gartner predicts that by 2018, over 50% of customers will be using mobile for all their online activities and this includes a growth in Mobile First shoppers. Instagram, the photo sharing platform with 800 million monthly active users, 80% of whom follow a business, offers brands and retailers a key opportunity for m-commerce.
According to Instagram, 60% of users discover products and services via the platform and at least 30% of them have bought a product they initially discovered through the network.
So, what content should you be publishing on Instagram? If you follow the 80/20 rule, 80% of your content should be concentrated on engaging and educating your audience and only 20% should be promoting product. However, Instagrammers do actually enjoy seeing images of products: research from L2 found that 65% of the most popular brand posts feature products. Product posts even beat images and videos from an influencer or celebrity on Instagram.
With Mobile First shoppers being 2.35 times more likely to shop for themselves on Instagram, how do you make your feed shoppable?
Instagram Shopping – Tap to View tags
Instagram launched shoppable tags as a pilot scheme with 20 brands in 2016, and rolled it out in March 2017 to thousands more US brands and retailers who use the Shopify and Big Commerce platforms. Tap to shop in 4 taps: tags in the post link directly to an in-app product info page and a ‘shop now’ button takes you to the product page on your e-commerce site. You can tag up to five products with their prices in a single post and also review analytic information. Nordstrom’s Instagram profile is a good example of how it works. So how much does it cost? At the moment nothing, shoppable tags are currently free for brands/retailers.
US users can link up their Instagram feed with a Facebook shop. Facebook owns Instagram and the shopping tab lets you add a shop section to your Facebook page, which is currently free of charge i.e. no commission, but Facebook could change the rules. With over 2 billion users your customers are definitely on Facebook, but the danger is that you are building your shopping platform on somebody else’s real estate.
Third Party Apps:
Until Instagram’s tap to shop features become more widely available there are a number of third party apps which fill the gap, however most are premium and reportedly expensive.
Turn your Instagram photos into shoppable posts – each one becomes a shoppable link via a curated feed on the Snapppt platform. This app allows you to embed your shoppable Instagram gallery into any website and features sales conversion analytics. Snapppt has a plug and play app that already works with Shopify and WordPress websites. It is planning to launch a ‘1-click store extension’ compatible with all the big CMS platforms including Magento, Shopify, SquareSpace, Wix and WordPress eCommerce.
Like2Buy – (Curalate)
One of the first m-commerce solutions to bridge the gap between Instagram and e-commerce websites, enabling shopping direct from the image platform. Like2Buy allows you to create a link in your Instagram profile bio to a curated gallery of tappable photos linking to product pages. With Curalate you can also track the user generated social buzz around your brand on Instagram, embed your feed on other channels, schedule posts, discover influencers and review your post analytics.
Cost: Premium $$$
Likeshop (Dash Hudson)
A similar solution to Like2Buy particularly the ability to schedule posts and curate user generated content on your feed. You can tap to shop in as little as 2 taps to your product page, Revolve’s Instagram page is a great example.
Cost: Premium $$$
Does what Likeshop and Like2Buy do. Go to All Saint’s Instagram feed to see it in action.
Cost: Premium $$
Have2have.it has a clickable link in your profile bio to a curated gallery of shoppable images much like Likeshop, Tapshop and Like2Buy. However, it is a lot more affordable than the competition, with prices ranging from $0 to $300 per month depending on the click through rate. They also offer a month’s trial for free.
Cost: Premium $ (reportedly a lot more affordable than its competitors)
Until Instagram rolls out its shoppable tags internationally*, third party apps are something to consider. However, they can be prohibitively expensive for small business owners, so until then Snapppt and Have2have.it might be a lower cost choice. Alternatively, if you have a Instagram business account with 10,000 followers you can add a ‘swipe up’ link to your Instagram Story leading to a relevant product page on your website.
INSTAGRAM UPDATE 21/03/18
*Yesterday Instagram extended its shoppable tags to the UK, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The functionality is available to accounts with a business profile and must be connected to a facebook catalogue, there is no minimum number of followers.
About the author
Blog post by Christine Babington Smith, an expert in marketing strategy and marketing communications. She is the founder of Torehill, a marketing strategy agency which works with promising tech startups. Torehill’s team includes CIM & MBA trained marketers with between 10–20 years’ experience. Our backgrounds cover London’s premier advertising agencies, PLCs and high-profile start-ups. By focusing on understanding the market, customer pain points and competitive environment our consultants help start-ups succeed. Our consultancy services encompass marketing strategy, branding, marketing communications, campaign planning, website development, digital marketing, PR, SEO and content.
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