The e-commerce landscape is taking on an entirely new look this year. Many social media platforms have tried to implement shopping tactics to simplify purchase processes and increase referral sales, however, this has proven to be more challenging than expected. So when Instagram recently announced that it will be testing 'shoppable' posts, it caused quite a stir. Could this latest technology crack the code to on-platform sales?
In a blog post, Instagram said that it's partnered with twenty retailers to try out the new 'shoppable' posts content strategy over the coming months. In essence, these types of posts provide consumers with fully itemized descriptions of products, and enable them to make purchases through the platform - no longer do people need to leave the app or be redirected to the retailer's site, the entire purchase process is housed within Instagram. The process makes it incredibly simple for consumers to make informed purchases quickly.
The uptick of this announcement is that shopping through Instagram will be a seamless and convenient experience that's cost effective for retailers. How is that possible, you ask? Instagram isn't taking a cut of the profits, but instead will offer brands the opportunity to pay to show their buyable posts to non-followers. It's a perfect way to encourage advertising dollars from retailers, while generating sales the platform. This is a win-win for businesses, retailers, and social media entities alike.
Now that we understand what shoppable posts are, let's see what the customer experience is like. As we know, customer experience is critical to long-term success, and if this experience is pleasing, easy, and engaging, we'd bet Instagram has a winner on their hands.
To start, a user scrolls through her Instagram visual feed like normal. The primary difference is that shoppable posts include a "tap to view products" icon within a post's image. If the post is interesting, the user clicks the icon to see more.
From there, any tagged product within the post will show the brand name, product name, and cost in a text bubble.
If the user wants even more information, she clicks on the product bubble, where a full item description, link to the retailer's site, and "Shop Now" option appears. If the user wants to buy the item, she can simply click the "Shop Now" text, and be directed to checkout. It's that easy!
Images courtesy of Search Engine Journal
So what does this mean for small businesses?
This is a huge advantage for small businesses that participate in e-commerce. By merely having an Instagram account, you can make your products buyable. And while the option to advertise your shoppable posts is available, as a small business, it isn't a necessary expense. Rather, focus on delivering high quality, valuable content to your existing audience to stimulate purchases. If your social presence is captivating, your followers will make likely purchases on a continual basis. Lifetime value is much more significant than a fleeting one-time purchase, so invest in the people who want your products and services.
Additionally, the ease of purchase will breed more impulse buys, and greater revenue for your business. If e-commerce is part of your business strategy, shoppable posts should be on your radar once Instagram rolls them out to the public.
If you're still on the fence about having social media accounts, it's time to hop off - your customers are literally waiting for you. More and more, people are going to social media to vet prospective brands and businesses before they make purchases. Set up your accounts, establish a social media strategy, and watch your revenue and followers flow in.