COMMENT: How to make the most of shopping on Instagram

Since the launch of Instagram Shopping last year, over 130m accounts have tapped to reveal product tags every month and over 200m people visit its shopping channel. Gord Ray, Instagram's brand development lead, provides tips on how retailers can make the most of it for their business.

Instagram shopping: How to make the most it Gord Ray opinion
Instagram Shopping is an opportunity for retailers to showcase their business that's too good to miss, writes Gord Ray.

It’s no secret that social media has revolutionised the way people discover, browse and shop. Instagram gives brands a gateway to whole new audiences, as well as deepening engagement with existing customers and community. It also has the power to connect the dots between brands and shoppers which makes it a valuable platform in any marketing strategy.

Shopping on Instagram gives you a virtual shopfront, and with a potential audience of over one billion people globally looking to discover new brands and products, the opportunity to showcase your business is too good to miss.

But with so many formats and tools available on the platform, brands often ask us how best they can speak to their shoppers. Our advice? Be brave. Challenge yourself to think creatively. Work across our suite of products. There’s no one size fits all.

Instagram shopping: How to make the most it Gord Ray opinion
Gord Ray

Since we launched Instagram Shopping last year, we now have over 130 million accounts tapping to reveal product tags every month and over 200 million people visit the shopping channel in Explore every day.

Tags are a simple but really effective way to drive sales – Asos does this brilliantly and uses tags to direct shoppers immediately to the products they love, whether through Stories or Feed. They are a great example of a brand that seamlessly blends together consumer experience with great creative.

We’re continuously investing in our shopping offering in order to make it as easy for retailers to use as possible. Earlier this year in the US, we introduced native checkout giving shoppers the chance to buy the products they love without leaving the app.

We’re taking the time to get this right before we roll it out more widely but we understand the value it can unlock for retailers and are excited to see it grow.

Alongside the shopping tools, we encourage brands to use other products to build a sense of community.

Stories continues to be a rich area for brands to engage. 500 million people use Stories every day and it’s the perfect place to showcase behind-the-scenes content. Making-of videos are a good example of this. Anything that lifts the lid on your retail business works well – invite fans into the stock room, the design studio or the lab. They want to see where the magic really happens.

Within Stories, we’ve curated a bank of useful stickers that can build engagement with your community. The countdown sticker, for example, can be a simple but effective way to drive excitement about new products or store openings.

Primark recently used the Sticker to countdown to the opening of its Birmingham store – the retailer’s biggest store worldwide. At the other end of the scale, smaller clothing brands like Tala use stickers regularly to announce re-stockings.

Instagram Shopping is a valuable platform in any marketing strategy”

Poll or Quiz stickers are another fun way brands can capitalise on the popularity of Stories. They can be used to crowdsource ideas about how you can improve new products or to educate shoppers.

Fashion brands have been doing this for a while. Missguided recently curated a quiz via the sticker to test super fans on their brand knowledge and educate them in the process, and we’re excited to see how other categories use it to improve and evolve product ideas.

For all our tools, Instagram is ultimately a place for community. Let people know that they can contact you through Instagram by responding to comments, replying to direct messages and encouraging people to message you from Instagram Stories and feed captions. Jewellery brand Chupi uses DMs on a daily basis to curate its storytelling and create a personal brand affinity among its shoppers.

We are excited to see what happens next with Instagram Shopping and we are only just getting started.

Gord Ray is the Brand Development Lead at Instagram

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