5 things you need to know about Instagram’s new shopping feature


Who doesn’t love the news that Instagram is introducing a shopping feature?

It’s been greeted with audible delight by pretty much the entire internet this week – and rightly so. It could be a game-changer for thousands of online businesses.

The move, long overdue, hopes to take out the steps typically involved in online shopping which could cause consumers to abandon their purchase.

According to those in high places at our favourite visual social network, this increases the likelihood of purchase and massively enhances the shopping experience.

But it also means brands can stay focused on the essence of Instagram – the imagery. It doesn’t mean Instagram is suddenly going to become copy and product information heavy.

With more than 500 million monthly active users and over 4.2 billion daily likes on the platform, there’s no arguing that Instagram is up there among the kings of social network engagement.

Here’s 5 things you need to know about Instagram’s new shopping feature.

1) Instagram has faced challenges when trying to prove ROI. Conversion rates on mobile are already lower than traditional methods of online shopping such as desktop computers – the rate is just 1.53% on smartphones compared to 4.43% on traditional devices. Combining this low rate with the inability to hyperlink URLs in comments and captions, it has been difficult to get consumers to convert.

2) Twenty US based retail brands are trialling the feature which allows users to tap the corner to view any items on their screen that are featured in the image, up to a maximum of 5 items per photo. The app will then showcase the item, giving product information early in the consideration process without the need to leave Instagram. From there consumers can click through directly to the product on the retailers website.

3) This provides a huge opportunity for retailers, the majority of activity will take place within the Instagram app, and this overcomes some of the hurdles that smaller businesses may not be able to jump over. It allows smaller businesses to remain competitive on the platform.

4) Instagram has also confirmed that product recommendations, saving content within the app, and applying tags to videos are all under consideration – further moving features that would typically be on a retailer’s site on to Instagram’s platform.

5) There’s no word on whether the feature will be exclusive to retailers when it is rolled out worldwide. It could also create opportunities for influencers on the platform – 92% of people trust recommendations from others, even if they don’t know them. If brands were able to harness the power of influencers and the relationships they hold with their communities, this could finally bridge the gap in conversion on mobile, compared to traditional methods of shopping online.

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