Instagram Shopping – is it working?…
One year on from the launch of Instagram shopping we review it’s pros and cons.
In case you didn’t realise there is a separate tab for ‘Shopping’ within the ‘Explore’ tab on Instagram. It brings you the products Instagram thinks you like based on your browsing behaviour. Why are Instagram doing this? – well because Global digital sales are expected to account for over 22% of all retail sales by 2023 and Instagram is getting in on that action with their Shopping feature.
It’s Instagram’s first venture into a world dominated by Amazon. Although Amazon has many advantages in this race, one thing in Instagram’s corner is the hours people spend on the app interacting with friends. If they can turn this into an online shopping experience, it’s a goldmine.
To get a better idea of how it’s working in practice we spoke to local business owner Andy Hill of Troggs Surf Shop in Portrush, Northern Ireland. “In terms of social media across Instagram, YouTube & Facebook, Instagram is our most powerful channel for customer interaction. We’ve been trialling sales through IG’s shopping feature for a number of months. When we tag a product we see that customers start browsing our online store through the app, which we never had before through Instagram. When customers come into our shop they do so with a better knowledge of our products and prices. It’s also useful for us to announce when we have a new product in store. Through the app we signpost customers to explore it. We definitely think Instagram Shopping is a nice little feature that’ll develop over time.”
The most useful feature about the shopping experience is how seamless it is. You can go from browsing to bought in a few taps. Crucially for Instagram you stay on the app for the entire process. This is no accident. Instagram spent a lot of effort making this process as slick as possible for buyers.
The hard and cold review
Overall there isn’t a huge amount of choice of product on offer. Plus as there are no customer reviews there can be a hesitancy to make the purchase on a whim within the app, which websites like Amazon go a long way to address. We’re sure these things will change in time.
Another feature we think the app could use is the ability to search for specific products – currently you can only see products being sold by pages you already follow. Instagram Shopping at this moment in time is more friendly for sellers than it is for perspective buyers. It offers sellers a way of maintaining a commercial edge to all their posts on the app and keeps their products front and centre for the casual browser.
To sum up this article, it’s not there yet but it’s a start and with the might of Facebook supporting this endeavour you can bet this won’t be going away anytime soon.