“Oh, my god. I need this. I want this. Now!”. We’ve all been there scrolling through our Instagram feed and madly falling in love with stuff we never thought we needed. Good news: Instagram has paid attention and is now rolling out new shopping features!
As of next week, a select group of iOS users will get a glimpse at Instagram’s bright eCommerce future. While Instagram currently allows brands to promote their products via ads on their platform, the new features will extend the shopping side of their business to regular posts as well. Test users will see a white icon in the lower left corner of certain “shoppable” posts, which when tapped reveals items in the photo that are available for purchase and shows their prices.
With some help from approximately twenty willing retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, BaubleBar, Chubbies, Coach, Hollister, Kate Spade NY, and Levi’s Brand, the test features are supposed to make it easier for users to review, learn about, and purchase items of desire.
“Our community uses Instagram as an aspirational discovery platform and they’re looking to us for inspiration,” says Ryan McIntyre, CMO of JackThreads, whose company is part of the usability testing. “This test is going to change the scope of what we, as retailers, are capable of offering on mobile.”
Interesting twist from an SEO perspective: To actually buy the product, Instagrammers will have to click yet another link that leads to the retailer’s website as opposed to purchasing in-app which could avoid dropping conversion rates along the way. On one hand, that’s great for passionate Instagram users who hate the thought of letting brands commercialize their feed. On the other hand (the business side of things) it puts the success of the shopping feature at risk since the conversion rate on mobile is fragile, to begin with – adding another link to the process seems like quite the jeopardy.
“So far, it hasn’t been easy for businesses to generate sales from Instagram, no matter how large or eager their following,” says seoplus+ co-founder Brock Murray. “What I love most about this feature is that it goes beyond stale product images to showcase your products in a more authentic setting. That’s the way to connect with Instagram’s discerning audience.”
Our bottom line: A defeat for the “sharing pictures with friends” lover, a huge open door for small eCommerce businesses.