With 800 million monthly users and 500 million active daily users, Instagram is a great virtual platform for changing the way customers discover and interact with brands.

So far, however, businesses have struggled to transform this engagement into purchases.

This is set to change with the launch of the Instagram ‘shoppable posts’ feature in the UK in March, almost a year behind the US launch in 2017. The feature allows brands to tag up to five beauty or fashion products in a single post. Users can then follow a tagged product link to find out more information and make their purchase.

But what does Instagram shopping mean for fashion brands? 

Increased sales
First and foremost, Instagram Shopping allows a more seamless customer journey from inspiration to purchase. It negates the need to switch between apps; within a couple of taps you have bought the product. US brands who have jumped on board report an increase in both traffic and revenues since the introduction of this function.

The kidswear brand spearmintLOVE used Instagram Shopping to promote its Spearmint Baby line and experienced a 25% increase in traffic and an 8% increase in revenue month on month.

Consumer insight
Another valuable bi-product is the analytics. With shoppable posts, participating businesses receive data on how consumers are interacting with their brand, and which elements are most engaging, for example ‘taps to reveal’ and ‘shop now’ click data. This helps brands create more relevant content.

The uptake in the UK since its release in March has been mixed. Research by the retail technology provider Cybertill revealed that the sale feature had “been ignored by more than 80% of retailers in its first week.” Big retailers such as Asos and Zara have not yet produced any shoppable post via Instagram. However, both Next and River Island are using posts to not only showcase several different products, but each item is clickable via the Shopping function, allowing the customer to buy the entire outfit in a handful of clicks.

We are yet to see the effect of Instagram Shopping on traffic and sales within the UK, but as online sales have doubled between 2012 and 2017, we believe that Instagram Shopping is an invaluable addition to a brand’s ecommerce strategy.

Roisin Monaghan