Instagram, being a social media platform with over a billion users, carries immense potential for e-commerce business. As we clearly know by now, it's not just about the size of subscribers. At least 500 million Instagram users log into the platform on a daily basis, and around 640 million users (around 70% of the total subscriber base) follow at least one business account.
Such a vast ocean of potential customers makes Instagram an excellent playground for social media marketers and entrepreneurs alike. As a proactive social media platform, Instagram has been making consistent efforts to make the platform conducive to business and shopping.
The recently introduced Instagram Shopping feature aims to help brands and businesses to generate sales and leads from the platform.
Available in select markets across North America, in addition to the LATAM, EMEA, and APAC zones, Instagram shopping is providing brands with a virtual storefront where people can explore products via brands' organic posts and stories. They can also discover your products via “Search” and “Explore” features.
And how does it work? Well, you can use tags or product stickers on your posts and stories, and when the users click them, they take them directly to your product description page that contains images of the product along with a detailed description and the cost. The page also includes a direct link to your website where the users can purchase the product. So, in a nutshell, Instagram Shopping channels potential customers to your product page, giving you a great opportunity to convert the leads into sales.
Basically, it makes it a lot easier for brands to highlight the products that are incorporated into their posts and stories. This feature makes Instagram Shopping an extremely attractive avenue for e-commerce brands.
Before Instagram Shopping came into existence, the customer journey on a branded business's Instagram page used to go like this: the customers would follow your page, enjoy the content, and become interested in the products it offered. They would go on to like and comment on the posts, enquiring about the product, and its availability. Ultimately, they would have to visit the product website to try and search for the product they saw on Instagram. It wasn’t guaranteed that every customer who got interested in the product due to the brand's Instagram content would actually put the required effort into finding the product on the website and purchase it. This is an unfavorable situation for both the brand and its prospective clientele.
With the introduction of Instagram Shopping, life has gotten so much easier for both parties. The feature has made moving between two different channels (the social media platform and the seller's website) a seamless process, as a simple click on the Instagram post promoting the product will land the user directly on the page where they can buy it instantly. All the branded page needs to do is tag its products appropriately so that the customers can follow them up easily. Naturally, the conversion rate of prospects into actual customers is much higher with Instagram Shopping.
Now, it's time to answer the obvious question:
Well, there are two types of paths you can explore. You can place your products on your posts or your stories. They require different approaches, as we are going to see in the following content.
> First things first. Instagram Shopping is still in the process of being introduced across the world. As of now, the feature is accessible only in select countries, and checking if your country is one of them is the obvious first step.
> Once you have determined that Instagram Shopping is indeed active in your country, the next step is to connect your Instagram account to your brand's Facebook channel. That's mandatory!
> Once you ensure the cross-connectivity between your Instagram and Facebook channels, you can go about setting up your Instagram business account for your brand. You can convert your personal account into a business account by following a few easy steps.
Access your profile's “Settings” and click on “Account.” Then, select “Switch to Professional Account.” Finally, select “Business” and furnish details regarding the category your business falls into and contact information. Press “Done” and your Instagram business account is good to go. A business profile will give you access to various business features and Instagram Insights, which can be used to gain insights into the engagement rate of your posts and page.
> The next step is to set up an Instagram Sales Channel on your Shopify store so that you can add products to your Insta posts and link them to your Shopify store. Before you do this, you need to set up your Facebook page and list your products on the Facebook product catalog (using Facebook Shop).
> The above step can be done by logging into your Shopify admin page and clicking the “+” button under the “Sales Channels” heading. Select “Instagram” under the “Add Sales Channels” dialog and click “Add Channel.” Finally, log in to your Facebook account page to authenticate the Instagram account in the sales channel. Once this is done, Instagram will review your account and give you approval. Should you run into a hurdle, you can always raise a ticket with the Instagram help center.
> With all the above steps executed, now it's time to take your awesome products to your Instagram followers. You can simply post an image containing your product and tag your products by selecting “Tag Products” button, and click anywhere on your image like you normally do to tag people. Once you click on where you want to place a tag, a search bar will appear, in which you need to type the name of your product exactly as it appears in your store.
Congratulations! You have finally added a post that can enjoy the full benefits of Instagram Shopping. It is to be remembered that there is a limit on the number of products you can tag on an image, so it is useful to have just a limited number of products highlighted per image. If you want to tag more products in a single post, then you can opt for carousel posts (multiple images on a single post).
Instagram allows the brand pages to position their products and tag them on the stories so that the users who are interacting with the stories can directly buy products from their favorite brand stores. Given that 300 million Instagram users interact with stories on a daily basis, selling products via stories is too big an opportunity to miss out on.
Moreover, a recent survey by Instagram found that most users interact with a brand page's stories specifically to keep themselves up-to-date with their favorite brand's activities.
Just like selling through Instagram posts, selling through stories is permitted only in select countries where Instagram Shopping is available. You will need an associated Facebook channel, a Shopify account to which you can add an Instagram sales channel, and an Instagram Business Account.
Once all these are set up, you can create stories containing your products, tag them, and lead your customers to the product page on your website. Driving revenue through your Instagram page is a fun way to operate your business while continuing to build an emotional connection with your prospective audience.
Instagram continues to improve its Shopping feature by adding new features to it at regular intervals. The latest additions to Instagram Shopping include a new “Shopping Explore” tab, a “Shop” tab on your business profile, and the functionality of shopping from the videos.
The Instagram Shopping Insights gives you vital analytics that let you measure the success of your product marketing campaign on the social media platform. The analytics include product views (the total number of times the users tapped the product tags and viewed the product page) and “Product” button clicks (the total number of times people clicked on the purchase button on the product page).
Like every type of Instagram page, a branded product page needs engagement to be highly successful. Creating outstandingly creative, entertaining content associated with your products is a sure-fire way of bringing in engagement. Also, using hashtags in an efficient way can do wonders when it comes to engagement.
There is no one way to find success in marketing your products on Instagram. So, you shouldn't be afraid to mix it up and adopt a trial-and-error method to find what works for your business, specific products, and your target audience. Keep experimenting with your product-based content to keep your audience engaged, interested, and wanting to come back for more. Only if you have an adequate amount of traffic to your posts can you set about converting them into your customers.
The early adopters of Instagram Shopping have been witnessing huge success. As we mentioned earlier, the social media platform is striving to improve this excellent shopping tool even further to incorporate more features and maximize its potential. So, as the manager of an Instagram Business Account, it is imperative for you to constantly keep tabs on the evolution of the app and the new updates that are coming in.
Ask any veteran advertiser, and they will tell you that it is much more expensive to bring a new customer under your brand's umbrella than retaining the existing one. If you also consider the fact that 40% of e-commerce revenue comes from just 8% of its customers, an interesting picture starts to emerge.
So, it is of the utmost importance to devise a strategy to increase your customers' order value and maximize the potential of your business. This is where upselling and cross-selling come into play.
Convincing customers to buy a product from your brand is the hardest part, but once you manage to pull that off, it is much easier to give them a gentle nudge to increase the average order value. It's not very different from a generic consumer entering a supermarket wanting to buy a few specific items but ending up checking out with a shopping cart full of other items. All you need to do is present the other products from your brand—along with the one they are interested in.
Now, let's see what cross-selling is. It's a tactic to increase sales by suggesting related or complementary products to the customers. For example, if you manage to convince your customer to buy a pair of shoes, you can create your content in a way that shows how well the shoes go with a pair of socks and pants, and tag those products as well. If the customer is interested in your shoes, the chances are that they will also be interested in buying accessories that go well with them.
Cross-selling should be devised in such a way that it'll add value to the customer's initial purchase and improve their overall buying experience.
It is proven that the concept of cross-selling has the potential to improve your revenue by 10 – 30%. This can be easily achieved by making small adjustments to the way you create your Instagram content based on your products.
As for upselling, as the name suggests, it is a tactic where you lure the customer into buying a more expensive and fancier product; upgrading the product they were originally interested in; or adding an additional item or items to their order.
For example, if you are in the business of selling bikes and the customer entered your product page with interest in an entry-level model, you could alternatively suggest a better one with suspension, disc brakes, a water bottle holder, all-terrain tires, and so on. Usually, if given a choice, a significant number of customers will be happy to buy a superior and better-equipped product. Another example is offering “must have” bike accessories, like a helmet or riding gloves, at the checkout.
Depending on your product portfolio and sales strategy, you can choose to adopt either cross-selling or upselling tactics, or both of them, in order to maximize your revenue.
Now you know the benefits of Instagram Shopping, and how to sell your products on this platform successfully. So, what are you waiting for? It's time to set up your brand page on Instagram and watch your product sales go up. Of course, advertising your business effectively will play a major role in your success, as well.