In 2019, 60% of Instagram users claimed to use the platform to seek and discover new products (Hootesuite). They recently rolled out one of the largest releases in its history. The new Instagram Checkout is now able to support direct sales through the app. Though in beta and very limited in scope, this function is currently only available in the United States. 20 of the largest brands were selected to partner with Instagram Checkout during this beta stage, including Adidas, H&M, and Warby Parker.
“The vision is to ultimately have checkout be available to any of the business on Instagram,” says Layla Amjadi, product manager at Instagram. “The whole goal here is to finally fulfill one of the biggest asks we’ve heard since the inception of Instagram Shopping.”
More and more brands are embracing platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Checkout as the future of retail. Though there are only 20 brands testing this tool today, there are 25 Million businesses registered on Instagram. As they fix these kinks out, they will eventually roll out internationally and with it more partner brands. Instagram plans to add a sales fee to offset the feature’s cost.
“As Instagram is becoming a key player in product discovery, offering native checkout makes the mobile buying experience seamless,” Laura Musa, Director of Digital Marketing at Adlucent
Prior to 2019, we would create such extensive calls to action to get shoppers to abandon Instagram to buy online. There has been such an evolution for Instagram as a brand tool, remember in 2013 there weren’t even business profiles? We used to only be able to add a store link an Instagram bio to get customers to convert. Then, it evolved to integrating product links into posts. But what if Instagram users don’t want to leave Instagram but still buy cool stuff?
Thus spawned Instagram Checkout. Now, users click products similar to before, but now they are directed to a checkout screen similar to most ecommerce sites. On this screen, customers can pick select various options for colors and sizes for their items before finalizing orders with the following fields: email, shipping address, and payment method. Without ever leaving the platform, creating a seamless customer experience.
“One of the most important components of staying relevant in retail is adapting to new tech,” said Al Lalani, Chief Strategist of Annex Cloud. “Instagram Checkout is one of those trends where the earliest adopters have the highest opportunity for success. This places more emphasis on visual commerce moving forward in 2019.”
This year, There are more than 1 Billion monthly active users on Instagram, about 13% of the planet. That is 1 Billion people who are now potential customers for your business, making visual commerce that much more pivotal. Now, by launching a unique hashtag, you’re able to leverage better conversion rates as customers purchase through the app.
With one less step compared to Instagram’s old product tagging, users are that much more likely to convert to customers. Using your hashtag will also allow you to better track your loyalty points as well if you were to integrate that into your program.
Did you know that 95% of Instagram users are also on YouTube? Followed by 91% that use Facebook and 60% who use Snapchat (Hootesuite). Though these seem like random stats, think of it this way. Most social media users that follow a brand on Facebook also follow that same brand on Instagram. And because it often takes multiple brand impressions before purchasing, optimizing your omni-channel strategy is key. 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across all channels, making your branding more likely to resonate with customers if advertised across all channels.
As of right now, Instagram plans on competing with the eComm giants like Amazon and Google Shop. In fact, they even plan on offering a loyalty program though as of right now, details of that program are unknown. Because Instagram is building an infrastructure similar to Amazon, retailers are already weary about how much control they may have during the sales process. Because there is no loyalty integration at this stage, retailers are unable to automate rewards points when customers buy on Instagram.
Moving forward, this has great potential for the future of loyalty if an integration can be made to automate the process. As mentioned before, this is where loyalty hashtags are huge. By rewarding points for using your branded tag, you’re able to automate your rewards for those Instagram users and possibly recruit more members for your program!
“Instagram is a lightning fast awareness builder, but the final sale still relies on a handoff to the brand site where the user data can be collected, analyzed and retargeted,” stated Michael Froggatt, director of intelligence at Gartner Research. “A fully integrated find-to-buy Instagram would sacrifice the handoff, and resulting data, for speed, which for most established brands, is too big of a risk to take without ironclad data sharing agreements.”
There’s no denying it, Instagram is about to see major income streams after implementing this new technology. We expect it to make a major impact on the future of ecommerce and look forward to seeing how it’s implemented worldwide. Though still in beta testing, more brands will be added to this program in the coming months. The key to finding success through this tool is adopting the technology as soon as it becomes available. And as Instagram figures out more of the kinks in this new sales channel, there should be more integrations with ecommerce and loyalty platforms.
Do you have questions about how to optimize your brand messaging across all of your sales channels? Have you integrated visual commerce and branded hashtags to better convert through Instagram? Talk to Annex Cloud today about how to hone your Instagram sales strategy!