The new Instagram Shop – designed for you to discover products from brands and small businesses that you love. Aimed to make the shopping experience more seamless… or they say!
We had the opportunity to play around with this new feature last week and we wanted to give you the 411 on:
- The changes that Instagram made
- Why these changes happened
- How to use Instagram Shop for your Brand
- What is there to come for the future of the Instagram Shop?
1. What happened? What did Instagram change?
For the first time in years, Instagram has dramatically changed its home screen layout. Adding their new features – the ‘Shop’ Tab and ‘Reels’ onto its lower navigation bar.
This moves the ‘Search’, ‘Explore’, and ‘Create’ tabs next to the ‘Messages’ tab on the home screen.
‘Reels’ and Instagram ‘Shop’ are not brand new feature though, they were previously introduced and phased in on the explore page. But with the new changes, it makes the 2 features more accessible than ever. Some say this is Instagram’s way of communicating their focus for the platform. The main objective, of course, is to drive advertising dollars through producing another avenue for Instagram Marketing.
We’re going to be focusing on the brand new ‘Shop’ tab in the lower navigation bar.
2. Why the changes though?
For anyone who was accustomed to the old Instagram layout, this new update may come as an annoyance but according to the Business Insider, this change is backed up by data:
90% of users follow a business
80% of people decided to buy products on Instagram
The number of people looking at products on Instagram has risen 60% year-on-year in Australia
Essentially, more people are using Instagram as a platform to discover brand and products. They are also using the platform to decide whether they are going to purchase the product or not.
Instagram recognises this and wants to make it easier for users to discover, decide and now, purchase a product on their platform.
This also comes with the global pandemic, where it forced many businesses to rely purely on social media and digital marketing to their generate sales. Naomi Shepherd, the Group Industry Director at Facebook Australia also adds:
“The events of this year have changed the way we shop, and for many Australians, the traditional shopping experience has evolved to fit safely into the palm of their hand,”
3. How to use Instagram Shop for your Brand?
Our biggest recommendation is to embrace the change. We would recommend any small business that meets the requirements to create an Instagram Shop, to create an Instagram shop!
As of today, this function is only a few weeks old so no one knows where it can lead too. But we always believe it is better to stay in front of the wave.
However, after playing around with creating and setting up an Instagram shop, here is our guide for Instagram Shop Best Practices:
- Tag your products in your Organic Instagram Posts
This Function has been implemented on Instagram for a while now but now more than ever, it’s important for you to tag your products in your posts.
It seems like Instagram Shop is highlighting these posts on the tab.
- Create a Product Collection
Again, it seems as though the Shop tab is highlighting this function while you browse.
They also have created a ‘Shop Collections‘ category for users to browse whole collections. This shows that Instagram is currently, pushing this feature.
4. What is there to come for Instagram Shop?
Instagram has announced that the next stage is going to be in in-app purchases.
Currently, if a user wants to purchase a product, they have found in the tab. It directs them to the brand’s website and a purchase can be made there.
However, in the next few weeks, Instagram will be rolling out the function to purchase the product straight on the Instagram platform, making it even more seamless for the user.
Points of cybersecurity have been brought up, but this is what Instagram has to say:
“It features an extra layer of security with the ability to add a unique PIN or device biometrics, such as Touch or Face ID. We also provide Purchase Protection on eligible products that you buy using checkout.”
From a marketing standpoint, we think that the Instagram Shop Tab will propel Influencer Marketing even further. Brands can use the Influencer and Creator’s recognizability and familiarity.
Imagine this, as a user browses through the shop tab and recognises a Creator they love, the user clicks on the photo in the shop tab, but it’s the brand’s account that posted that photo! The user now looks at the account and see what the brand has to offer.
We also foresee, the opportunity for ads, disguised as organic recommendations as Etsy does on their platform and as Googles does for searches in AdWords!
As mentioned before, as of right now, this function is only a few weeks only, so we don’t know the impact of the Shop tab. We can only wait and see!
For those in Australia, Instagram Australia is holding a world-first exclusive shopping event, titled ‘InstaNight Shopping’ on December 3 where consumers will get a chance to buy exclusive InstaNight only deals via the Instagram Shop tab.
What are your thoughts on Instagram rolling out this new feature? Are you going to implement it for your brand? What about from a marketing perspective, do you see the benefit of the Shop Tab?