Instagram courts holiday shoppers with 3 fresh features
- Instagram added three shopping features to help users complete a purchase directly through the image-sharing app, according to a company announcement. The Facebook-owned app first added a shopping collection section that lets users save items to buy later, similar to pinning them on Pinterest.
- Instagram added shoppable videos that let viewers tap on a shopping icon in the bottom left corner of the screen to see featured products and learn details. Layla Amjadi, product manager at Instagram, said the feature is important for product demonstrations, such as cosmetics for different skin tones, Adweek reported.
- The platform also added a shop tab on business pages that lets consumers see all the products for sale in a shopping post. App users can tap on a "shop" button on a brand's business profile to see the name and price of items, in addition to the original Instagram posts that display the products.
Instagram has gradually beefed up its platform with e-commerce features to help users discover new items and help marketers close the loop between posting images and videos of their products and making a direct sale. The app, though, doesn't yet have features to support digital wallets or to save shipping information. Instagram in September expanded shopping features across Stories, which strings together multiple images in a single post, after first testing the service in June. Brands and retailers can use the shopping features to let followers buy items directly from the page without needing to download a separate app or be redirected to an external site.
Instagram's new shopping features position the app even more directly against other platforms like Pinterest and Wish that also offer shoppable posts. The popular social media company has reportedly begun developing a standalone shopping app, sources told The Verge in September. Since then, Instagram has continued to introduce more features focused on commerce and boosting brands' direct sales, likely to compel both brands and mobile consumers to stay on the social platform. More than 25 million businesses have profile pages on Instagram, and about 90 million people tap on product tags on Instagram shopping posts every month, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in the company's Q3 2018 conference call with investors.
The continued updates come as Gen Z demonstrate their preference of interacting with brands on social media, more so than older generations. This cohort reportedly uses Instagram more than Snapchat, signaling how marketers can craft campaigns specifically to reach these young consumers and build brand loyalty through social media. Instagram users tend to be younger and more receptive to visually appealing content, making the platform a solid opportunity to promote clothing, accessories and other products.
Some brands are testing Instagram's new features ahead of the holidays, including Macy's and Outdoor Voices. Macy's this month created personalized gift guides through Instagram carousels as part of its holiday campaign. Instagram followers can answer questions about interests and price range and Instant Gift Guide Carousels let consumers swipe and follow lines of ribbons to find a gift from Macy's. Beginning Nov. 28, each carousel post will focus on a different friend or family member and show a recommended collection of gifts.