• Instagram’s new shopping feature to boost UK online sales

        • Instagram’s shopping tool, launched in the UK this March, presents a significant opportunity for retailers to capture impulse spend from shoppers who are increasingly adopting a see now, buy now mentality. This is according to data and analytics company, GlobalData.

          GlobalData’s E-retail survey showed that the number of Instagram users is still rising, with 63.9 per cent of 15–24 year old online shoppers using Instagram in 2017 versus 57.6 per cent the previous year. 

          Though the function was only launched a few weeks ago, retailers such as John Lewis, Topshop and Made.com have been quick to leverage it to drive sales of promoted items. Retailers targeting young, social-media-savvy shoppers are looking to seize the opportunity Instagram has presented by immediately adding tags to their organic posts, and ensuring the tool is taken advantage of for all future content. Players who do not react quickly may fall out of favour with impatient shoppers.

          Sofie Willmott, Retail Analyst at GlobalData said, “the proportion of these users that would like a click-through functionality allowing them to browse and shop a retailer’s website is also increasing. Retailers clawing for a share of shopper spend in an increasingly competitive market must rapidly respond by taking full advantage of the tool to satisfy the growing number of consumers that are ready to embrace it.

          “The shopping tool allows for a smooth journey from product discovery through to purchase, but in order to ensure the best chance of high conversion, it is vital that stock is available when the content is published, and for at least a few days after. Older posts must be reviewed frequently, and shopping links should be removed if stock has sold out, to ensure those browsing via Instagram are not disappointed. The introduction of the feature emphasises that products that are not instantly shoppable should not be posted on Instagram.”

          The newly introduced functionality will enable retailers to measure the influence of Instagram on online sales, when previously this has been difficult to track on organic posts, due to the lack of direct links. Additional click-through and sales data will help to steer Instagram content and could help inform retailers’ imagery strategies on the whole, ensuring that high-converting images are used throughout the business to drive product sales.

          Sofie added, “the tool will also help to convert first-time customers, who will no longer need to divert away from the social media platform to access the retailer’s website. Users familiar with Instagram can seamlessly click through and purchase from a brand’s site that they might previously not have thought to visit or may have scrolled past. In essence, the addition of the shopping function breaks down a barrier to purchase for customers and increases the likelihood that they will try a new retailer.”

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