Instagram is quickly proving itself as a rich retail market for savvy ecommerce businesses. New functionality including the recently launched ‘checkout’ and ‘tap-to-reveal’ features mean that the social platform’s more than 1 billion users now have a direct pathway from product discovery to purchase.
That’s making it easier than ever for ecommerce retailers to sell their products directly through a shoppable Instagram platform — but there’s more to it than simply posting tagged photos of your products and expecting the big bucks to start rolling in.
All good content marketers know that the key to building your online brand profile is to put authentic, shareable stories behind your sales pitches.
Tell your leads a story that resonates and they won’t just become a customer — they’ll also become an advocate for your brand.
Get that right and you can sit back and watch your social engagement — and ultimately your revenue — grow as your newly acquired brand advocates do your marketing for you.
Instagram Shoppable Stories is a powerful channel that you can use to link your Instagram stories directly to your product and to sell to your social following without them needing to leave Instagram.
Your millennial customers are happy, and so is your bank account.
So what’s an Instagram Story?
Let’s rewind a little and explain the Instagram story fad. Instagram Stories are essentially image and/or video slideshows that Instagram users — including ecommerce brands — can use to tell mini-stories. You can add text, drawings, emoticons, filters and even AR (augmented reality) stickers to create highly shareable multimedia content.
While Instagram Stories only last for 24 hours, the big news for ecommerce retailers is that they are discoverable. That means it’s not just your existing followers who will see them. They are open to any and all of the more than 200 million daily Instagram Stories users.
How does that relate to sales?
It doesn’t — until now! Brands have traditionally used Instagram Stories to build social followings, engagement and brand awareness. Now, Instagram Shoppable Stories are giving ecommerce retailers the opportunity to directly increase sales too.
First, you’ll need to set up shopping on Instagram — think of that as your digital shopfront that lives on Instagram.
With that done, Shoppable Stories now lets you add one product sticker to each of your Instagram Stories. Users simply tap the shopping bag icon that’s displayed in your Shoppable Story and are sent to the product listing in your Instagram storefront.
How can I use Instagram as a sales channel?
The real magic came in March 2019 when Instagram put an in-app checkout feature into beta testing. Previously, if users wanted to purchase your product that they’d seen on Instagram, they would be redirected to your website or to a third-party retailer — which meant more chances for potential customers to fall out of your pipeline.
Now, Instagram users can purchase your product without leaving the platform. That means no need to navigate to an external website, and no need to enter another set of payment details.
This seamless customer experience essentially transforms Instagram from just another digital marketing tool into a genuine sales channel you can use to directly increase your revenue.
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