Instagram is stepping up its shopping functionality. The company, which began testing shopping on its app with 20 brands in November, said Tuesday it’s now ready to expand the program to thousands of brands in the apparel, jewelry and beauty spaces.
Jim Squires, Instagram‘s director of product marketing, said more retailers want to sell on the platform.
“People are in this discovery mind-set [on Instagram] and they want to go further,” he said. “So what we’ve done is remove that friction and just allow you to, when you’re interested, to quickly go and explore further. We decided to start with apparel, jewelry and beauty because from a consumer perspective there’s a lot of interest in those categories.”
The program’s expansion also came with updates that make it easier for marketers to tag shoppable products in their posts and also gauge just how well those posts are doing.
“What we’ve seen and observed is that people are very interested in engaging with these posts that have products tagged inside of them,” Squires said. “We’re seeing very nice results with how people are engaging with the experience.”
The company reported that of those users who tapped on a product to learn more about something that’s been tagged, 19 percent then go on to click “shop now.” Tagged product posts also generally helped drive traffic to a company’s web site, Instagram also found.
“Instagram’s shopping capabilities perfectly align with Macy’s strategy of creating a frictionless shopping experience for our customers,” said Macy’s director of social media Tessa Kavanaugh in a statement. “By allowing users the opportunity to purchase featured items they want via a seamless transition from the social platform to our e-commerce site, Instagram is helping us create better engagement with consumers. We’re encouraged by the results we saw during the holiday and gifting time frame this past year, particularly the double-digit increase in sessions on our e-commerce site directed from the platform.”
Ryan Dell, chief marketing officer at MVMT, also reported success with the shopping test. Dell said the company saw more than 30 percent click-through to shop the product on the MVMT site with the experience making it easier to find product along with learning key details such as cost and how to purchase.
Instagram currently counts 600 million active users monthly with about 80 percent of those people following a business on the app. Adding the shopping capability and now expanding it, gives marketers a much less clunky way of attempting to sell product to users and provides a more seamless alternative to the commonly used “see link in bio” directive many have been using. It will also arm marketers with more information on what people are tapping on and how often, which could assist them in creating content.
“Mobile has changed how we shop,” Squires said. “It’s changed how we think about shopping and currently on mobile it’s a very transactional process.”
The company thinks that critical middle step of window shopping is what’s missing currently and the shopping app seeks to fill that gap.
“That browsing and exploration is what we’re working on and what we’ve started to introduce,” Squires said.
The expansion announced at Shoptalk will occur over the coming weeks to U.S.-based businesses. An international rollout is in the plans over the coming months, but a specific timeline on that launch has not yet been set, Squires said.