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How to make the most of Instagram shopping

Every day, over 500 million Instagram users access the platform via their beloved devices to share life’s everyday moments, and be inspired by others around them. While the platform was first treated as an online destination to socialise with friends, it has grown rapidly to include a wide range of users and content, including brands, experiences and products.  Today, Instagram is now a source to engage and discover new products from businesses of interest.  And with the latest development – Shopping on Instagram – now a reality, the journey from browsing to buying is possible for shoppers without ever having to leave the app. 

Combined with the exponential growth of mobile shopping, Aussie retailers increasingly have greater opportunities to engage with new customers, as well as significantly leverage their social content to drive more sales online.

It’s a huge moment for Aussie retailers to capitalise upon. Those that don’t take advantage of Shoppable posts run the risk of losing out on potential sales, and being overtaken by competitors that have integrated before them. And with Amazon firming up its position in the market every day, these are opportunities that online retailers can’t afford to miss out on.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about shoppable posts (where on Earth have you been?), or you’ve been too distracted to think through its full potential, it’s time to end the inaction and take the plunge. Here are a few tips on how to kick start your Shopping on Instagram journey, and make the most of the platform to grow your online business. 

  1. Confirm that your ecommerce platform offers and Instagram integration

First things first,  you’ll need to check that  the platform that hosts your online store offers seamless integration to your store’s Instagram channel. Once that’s been confirmed, determine whether it also supports the shopping on Instagram feature – this can likely be found through your platform’s back-end system. In a few simple clicks, platforms such as BigCommerce make it easy for merchants to get started with social selling on Instagram. 

  1. Connect your catalogue to your Instagram business profile 

Instagram uses your Facebook Shop catalogue to find and tag products within shoppable posts. With 80 per cent of Instagram users logging in to follow a business account and, 60 per cent indicating that they use the platform to discover new products – it’s crucially important to link your catalogue to the products displayed on your Instagram feed, so customers browsing can make connections and engage with your store in an instant.  Currently, Instagram allows a merchant to tag up to five products per post and up to 20 products in a multi-image slideshow. With one swift tap in a single post, shoppers will then be able to view product details and directly “Shop Now” from your store. Integrating shoppable posts to your business profile becomes an effortless way to market your products, helping your business to capture new conversions, drive customer loyalty and make more sales online, and providing consumers with the seamless social commerce browsing experience that they desire.  

  1. Showcase your products in your posts 

Earlier this year, Kirsty Withers, founder of Incy Interiors saw an immediate pick up of online sales from shoppable posts after taking part in a two-week trial, demonstrating how the social platform can drive a more engaged shopping experience. To maintain an engaged community, ensure your shoppable content maps out the story you want to tell your customers, showing them what it is your business stands for. You’ll find shoppers who live and breathe the same values as your business will naturally gravitate to your products.

  1. Personalise the shopping experience

Shoppable posts cannot stand alone. To capture real, lasting customers, consider keeping your audience up to date with new product releases, sharing behind the scenes and sneak peek footage of what your business is currently up to. By being authentic and transparent, you elevate the customer experience with your brand. Cultivating this relationship shows that you care and understand your customer.

  1. Analyse your results 

Not only is it beneficial for your ecommerce platform to support the Shopping on Instagram integration, but business owners should also consider investing in analytical tools to track customers’ interests and business performance with Shopping on Instagram. Some platforms will have these baked in already, or you might want to consider looking elsewhere. Within the first 5 months of the launch of Shopping on Instagram, BigCommerce merchants using the feature saw a 50% increase in Instagram referral traffic to their website. We’ve finally reached a point where store referral traffic and sales conversions can actually be driven by and attributed to social. You can now track every detail from impressions, reach, likes and comments, and saves related to the post. Following the click-through data, businesses can also view how many times product details have been tapped as well as the number of times the link to purchase was accessed by customers. This data is important in understanding the popularity of products and where you should continue to invest. 

For online retailers still hesitant to invest time and money in social media platforms, like Instagram, consider seeing them as more than just community builders and engagement drivers. Given Shopping on Instagram now provides the opportunity for businesses to monetise and directly attribute sales to social content, it should be approached with the same intent as online stores, or a customer EDM. 

Gone are the days where businesses have to point people back to their ‘link in bio’. Integrating Shopping on Instagram to your social strategy is a simple and optimal solution for businesses to access and engage with new and bigger audiences, help drive sales and ultimately fuel growth. 

Jordan Sim, BigCommerce Group Product Manager.

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Jordan Sim

Jordan Sim

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