5 Reasons Your eCommerce Brand Should Consider Shoppable Instagram Posts
by Ron Dod
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Instagram has become the new frontier for retailers to unlock new consumer shopping desires and to discover new shopping trends. Retailers need to create a clear shoppable Instagram strategy to reap the benefits. This strategy needs to go beyond a simple “link in bio” call to action. In this article, you are going to learn how and why you should consider using shoppable Instagram posts to supercharge your business.
Shoppable Instagram posts use tags to encourage sales.
Your brand should consider shoppable Instagram posts because they are simple to set up. Within your business profile, you can add the tags to the image that you want to sponsor. The tags act as product descriptions for the items that you want to sell. They break down your product for the mobile interface in order for consumers to understand it better. It’s not enough to tell people to just buy a product—retailers need to provide context around items they want to sell. Take a look at a well-executed example from Macy’s about how to use tags:
To promote the Go Red For Women campaign, Macy’s created a stunning red image that was enabled with tags that you can see in the format of white circles. When you click on these white circles, they expand into the tags.
As you can see from this example above, the tags have been expanded to showcase the name of the product and the price. The tags are clickable links back to the main site for purchase.
Once a customer clicks on the tag, the Shop Now interface within Instagram opens for the product to be purchased. The Macy’s example highlights that tags act as the key for your eCommerce brand to increase sales on Instagram.
You have probably heard that you can sell through Instagram but wondered how to adapt your brand to it. Now you know that using shoppable tags is the first step to unlock sales on the app. The tags need to be simple and clear-cut by explaining the name of the product and the price.
Don’t forget, people are using Instagram on their mobile devices. They don’t have time to read super detailed descriptions like they would if they were on a desktop. This is why these Macy’s tags always cite the brand name first, then the product, so that customers know who manufactures the product. By keeping things simple, you increase chances of your potential customers making a quick decision to buy or not.
Shoppable tags are the first step to selling on Instagram without being overly pushy or aggressive. Retailers like Macy’s understand that they need to be used in a concise way with a stunning image to capture the attention of time-starved Instagram users.
Shoppable posts increase the storytelling cachet of your eCommerce brand.
If your eCommerce brand is visually appealing, shoppable posts are ideal to boost sales for your retail business. These types of brands include food, beauty, arts and crafts, and furniture, among others.
You need to invest in creating eye-catching Instagram posts that showcase products within a context by creating a natural story that makes sense. Consumers are savvy about advertising and marketing, now, even more so than retailers. One way you can reach them is by creating a narrative within your Instagram post.
Here are the steps that you need to follow to create a story for your Instagram shoppable posts:
Collect the products that you want to sell (always choose the most visually appealing products).
Brainstorm new ideas for your story or narrative. You can stay within themes for holiday shopping, such as Easter or Christmas, or you can take advantage of pop culture movements, as long as they align with your eCommerce Brand and if you create the narrative in an authentic way.
Create an Instagram image that shows off the products in a natural way within a narrative or theme that is connected to your brand. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, showcase clothes on human models so that consumers can see how the clothes drape around real bodies, as this ties into the latest trend in apparel, of authenticity.
By weaving storytelling into your Instagram strategy, you will be able to engage consumers in a way that is natural and responsive without coming across like you are advertising to them in a stark way.
Instagram has become a search engine for consumer interests and communities.
75% of Instagram users take an action after seeing an advertising post on Instagram, according to statistics from Hootsuite. With such high engagement, Instagram has become like a search engine for consumer interests and passions. Retailers can also use this as a way to connect with consumers who want to purchase their products and services. It’s not just about reaching as many people as possible—Instagram opens retailers to a stadium of consumers who like to shop.
If you look at Instagram as a search engine for your consumers’ interests, you can curate products that will sell better on Instagram compared to your eCommerce site.
One of the best examples of retailers who have unlocked Instagram’s power as a search engine is Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH).This independent beauty brand has a cult following with makeup enthusiasts by focusing on one category (eyebrows) and growing their business from there. Their explosive growth was built on Instagram and connections with influencers. Take a look below at the current ABH Instagram homepage:
As you can see, their feed is focused solely on makeup products, and they also feature images of customers and influencers applying their products. The feed has become a destination where makeup enthusiasts can search or look at the latest looks from ABH to get makeup ideas from the customers that they are featuring.
ABH has taken advantage of using Instagram as a search engine for consumer interests and has cultivated a community around these interests. This can be an excellent springboard for retailers to create something similar around their category.
You can use shoppable Instagram posts to create a sense of community inspiration and ideas. To do this in the vein of ABH, you need to follow the rules below:
Have a laser-focused niche or market that inspires loyalty: Makeup and beauty have become supercharged on Instagram because followers and consumers are extremely passionate about the niche, and they are always innovating new trends. You can use shoppable posts to inspire loyalty by featuring products that people are obsessed with. Markets that lend themselves well to creating a world or community of passionate Instagram consumers include restaurants, food brands, alcohol brands, clothing, and footwear. If your eCommerce brand is focused on a vibrant market, start peppering your Instagram feed with shoppable posts that inspire people to try new ideas and encourage people to turn on post notifications.
Include influencers: Digital influencers have changed how consumers shop with brands. Beauty retailers like Anastasia Beverly Hills recognized early on the power of using an influencer instead of expensive print advertising to reach customers who are ready to buy. As a retailer, integrate your influencer strategy with your shoppable Instagram posts for results that will give you ROI on your marketing budget. Look for authentic voices in the influencer community who can seamlessly melt into shoppable posts in a way that is fresh and unique.
Encourage reviews and comments via shoppable posts: One of the best ways that beauty eCommerce brands such as ABH have created a community is by engaging with fans, followers, and lurkers. Each comment, review, and complaint is treated the same. You could try to do this through shoppable posts that ask a question, for example. This will encourage comments from consumers. The more comments and reviews your eCommerce brand receives on Instagram, the more you increase the chance of people opting to purchase products from your company.
Instagram shoppable posts decrease barriers to purchase compared to standalone eCommerce sites.
We all know the challenges that retailers and eCommerce brands face when it comes to getting a customer to make a purchase. It is estimated that around $4 trillion of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts, according to statistics cited by Marketing Carts. With abandonment rates being sky high, it is important for retailers to come up with novel ways to retain customers. It’s easier to retain an eCommerce customer than to acquire a new one.
This is where an Instagram shoppable post comes into the picture. Shoppable posts can help decrease barriers to buying a product. Customers are overwhelmed by many things on eCommerce websites, such as shipping prices and product overload on websites. Shoppable Instagram posts can take this load off by not overwhelming the customer with too much choice or selection. Take a look below at Dick’s Sporting Goods and how they use shoppable posts to minimize customer barriers to purchasing:
As you can see from this example, the model is showing potential customers how to use the product, and the product is completely visible from the front for the Instagram user. This shoppable post is successful in convincing customers to purchase for the following reasons:
The post is relaxed, soft, yet product-focused: The tag is placed strategically in a way that doesn’t block the story of the post. This will encourage customers to purchase because it doesn’t use the hard sell approach that scares customers away.
The post shows customers what the product is used for: Dick’s Sporting Goods takes promoting footwear to the next level with this post. Instead of just showing a picture of the shoe, the brand shows the sneaker on the model and being laced up. This signals to purchasing customers that this is a sneaker for exercise, and it can be used whenever the customer wants. By showing the customers what the product is for, Dick’s Sporting Goods is educating consumers in an aspirational way to increase revenue.
What this example highlights is that customers don’t want the hard sell anymore. Shoppable posts can boost sales because they don’t threaten or interrupt a consumer on Instagram. Instead, they inspire and educate consumers, which are positive reactions. The more a consumer feels safe and relaxed with a brand, the more likely he or she will purchase products from that company.
Shoppable posts give consumers a direct line to your brand.
These posts create a direct transaction between your eCommerce brand and consumers. Gone are the days where retailers seemed like they could never be reached or were too high up for customers to reach. By using Instagram shoppable posts, you can get to know your customers better. You can learn what they love, what they hate, what they are obsessed with, and what makes them continue scrolling.
Retailers need to create a connection with consumers that benefits them. We all know that we need to increase eCommerce sales and revenue. Your brand can do this and connect with customers by using shoppable posts to see what products consumers like and are willing to buy.
In the hyper-competitive world of eCommerce, no retailer can afford to turn away from directly connecting with consumers and followers. Become creative with your shoppable posts and see how you can reach out to your consumer base and drive up sales of core products. You can focus on best-selling products and create a conversation around them to touch your consumers.
Instagram – the Marketing Jewel for eCommerce Brands
Instagram shoppable posts are jewels that polish your retail crown to ensure that your eCommerce company will be successful. By understanding these 5 critical reasons why you should use shoppable posts, it’s clear that there are many ways to use them to benefit your brand. Whether your eCommerce empire sells lipsticks or fishing rods, shoppable posts allow you to tell your brand’s story to the people who will want to know more: your customers.
Which of the 5 reasons matters the most to your eCommerce company?
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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