Shoppable Instagram: Now & Later

In November 2016, Instagram announced that they would be integrating shoppable feeds into their platform. This decision was motivated by the increasing number of online shoppers who want to learn more about products before changing windows or tabs to make the purchase. Not only is this decision smart as part of the user experience, but the addition of a shoppable feed could also lead to more direct conversions from Instagram rather than Instagram just acting as an assisted conversion.

Since the November announcement, Instagram is testing the experience with 20 retail brands. One of the selected brands is Kate Spade, a leader in the preppy fashion and lifestyle community; making their brand a great choice for Instagram to test the shoppable feed. As can be seen when looking at Kate Spade’s Instagram posts, a tag with the text “Tap to View Products” appears in the lower left hand corner. If you tap to view the products, boxes with arrows pointing to the products featured in the post. The boxes include the name of the item and its cost. If the item is at a price point that works within your budget, you can click on the box to find out more information, including a product description and accessories for the product if applicable. If the price and product description meet your needs and expectations, users can then click to add the product into their cart and proceed to check out, all within the app.

Kate Spade Shoppable Instagram Feed     Kate Spade Clicked Instagram Shoppable Pin

 

Kate Spade Shoppable Instagram Clicked      Purchasing from Kate Spade's shoppable instagram feed

 

Sadly, despite the announcement occurring three months ago, no information has been shared on when other businesses will be able to use this shopping function. However, when shoppable feeds become available to more businesses, ecommerce sites that use Instagram should look to become shoppable as well to maintain a competitive edge and ideally boost sales. In the meantime, retailers have other options to create a feed that users can buy from.

Link in Bio

Adding a link in an Instagram bio is the classic way to direct users to pages they can purchase from. However, many brands tend to link to their home site rather than to where a user could specifically find the products. In order to make the specific shopping process easier, brand can create “As Seen on Instagram” or replicate Instagram pages on their main site. By including this link in your bio instead of just a link to your homepage, you’re able to show users exactly what product they’re looking to buy and what webpage they can locate it on.

Link in Caption

Putting a link in the comment section of an Instagram post is a tactic that some brands use, but it is often ineffective because of the lack of clickability of the URL in the comment. By including a link in the comment, you’re expecting users to be determined enough to learn more about your product that they will memorize or copy the URL and then open another window outside of the Instagram app to find the product. While this tactic may work in some situations, if you decide to include the link in the comment section, it’s imperative that you include a clickable link in your bio, even if it is just to your homepage. No matter where you choose to include a link, you should make sure to implement a tracking URL to be able to measure where your site is receiving traffic.

Emails with Product Details

The brand Michael Kors took a unique approach to conquering the shoppable Instagram dilemma. Michael Kors created #InstaKors, which allowed users to sign up for their service that would send emails to subscribers about the products in the Instagram photo they just liked. However, Michael Kors chose to move from the email subscription model to linking to a replicate Instagram in the bio. While this choice is available and may be a good fit for your users, it is worth noting that one of main proponents for this type of shoppable Instagram chose to move in a different direction.

Paid Tool

Paid tools that function similarly to how Instagram’s shoppable feeds work are also available but can come with a considerable price tag. Like2buy is a tool popularly used by fashion brands. With Like2buy, users click a Like2buy link specific to your brand and click through to a replicated page of your Instagram feed. From there, users can click on the post they were interested in and see the items that were included in the post. Below the photo from Instagram will be individual images with their information that users can click through to buy. However, Like2buy may not be the best option for retailers with a small marketing budget because Like2buy can cost several hundred dollars per month. Other, lesser-known tools are available for as little as $16/month such as Linkin.bio. Depending on your situation and marketing needs, you will need to decide which tool best fits your brand.

Instagram Link for LIke2buy used by habiliment   Habiliment creating a shoppable instagram with Like2buy   Habiliment's post in its shoppable format through the Like2buy link

While we still have to wait for access to Instagram’s shoppable feeds, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with how brands such as Kate Spade are using the tool. In the meantime, retailers should make sure to implement some version of Instagram shopping that best fits their brand and their users while they wait for Instagram’s shoppable launch.