It’s Finally Here: Get Ready for Shoppable Instagram

Fri Jun 16 2017
Terilyn Walker

Brace yourself! Instagram will soon give brands the ability to sell products directly within the app.

The day many of us have been waiting for has finally arrived. Brands will soon be able to easily upload, tag, and track the sales of their products straight from Instagram with a new feature called Shoppable Instagram. These clickable tags will take consumers to an internal landing page with additional descriptions and purchasing options—all without ever leaving the app.  

For social media and influencer marketing managers, this revolutionary feature will finally provide the opportunity to directly attribute social media’s impact on sales. 

We all know that Instagram is a place for consumers to discover and interact with brands they love. As one of the largest brand-to-consumer channels, the app is a great place for marketers to promote their products due to the shareable and highly visual content. In fact, 85% of U.S. Internet users interact with brands on Instagram and 53% of these users claim they made a purchase after viewing branded content on social media.

Until now, the inability to directly track sales generated by Instagram has long been a pain point associated with social media marketing. With the launch of this feature, Instagram will not just be a place for discovery—consumer's ability to buy straight from their Instagram feed means that social media will now be an avenue for ecommerce and sales.

Thus, Instagram has the potential to be a one-stop shop for the discovery, research, purchase and even the post-purchase review process that consumers go through.  

Instagram gave early access to the shoppable instagram feature to 20 select brands late last year, including Kate Spade, Macy’s, and J. Crew. However, by late Q2, the feature will be rolled out to most beauty, apparel, and jewelry brands in the United States.

While most brands already do a great job of inspiring consumers through content, the ability to drive conversions and take consumers seamlessly through the buying process has not always been easy for marketers. This new Instagram feature has the potential to become a game changer in the way that people shop, and the way that social media is used as a sales channel.

Instagram VP of Monetization, James Quarles states the intent of the shop button “is not to reduce the steps in shopping, but reduce the friction between them”.

Now, instead of simply wondering, or using third party apps to learn where they can buy the amazing shoes on a brand’s feed, consumers can buy directly while scrolling. Even if a purchase is not immediate, users will eventually have the ability to save product tagged posts to buy later.


How Will Shoppable Instagram Work?

  1. Brands are able to upload a catalog of their products with descriptions to Instagram

  2. Like tagging someone in your post, brands are able to tag products from their catalog

  3. When users click on the product tag they are taken to a catalog with the highlighted products while staying on Instagram and not being taken to a slow brand website.

  4. Once users are in the catalog, they can click the product of their choice and be taken to the external brand store

Shoppable Instagram is still in beta testing, so little is known about the specifics of the feature.  However, here are a few details that we know:

  • Partnered with Instagram’s “saved posts feature” brands will soon be able to see how many users “saved” shoppable Instagram posts
  • Influencers running personal Instagram accounts (as opposed to business accounts) won’t be able to use the product tagging f eature on their profiles
  • As of now it’s only available for single picture posts - No videos or slideshows
    • Brands are limited to 5 product tags per post

What This Feature Means for Marketers

Not only will brands with Shopify or BigCommerce stores be able to link their products as easily as tagging a person, brands can now see how many users clicked on specific products, how many people saved tagged products, as well as what content drives the highest click-thru-rate to their mobile store. This additional insight into consumer’s buying process gives marketers the information needed to make educated decisions on what products to promote and what content to create.

While neither Instagram nor the brands who were able to test this feature intend to share specific metrics from their posts, CMO of Kate Spade, Mary Beech claims

“Our partnership with Instagram has been very successful. Traditionally, our customer had turned to Instagram for inspiration, and we’re seeing that she’s reacting positively to the new shopping experience, which allows her to seamlessly tap and shop the product – going from inspiration to information to purchase in just a few steps – we’re excited to see where the feature continues to take us.”

We have no doubt that this new feature has the ability to completely change the way brands market and how consumers buy.  Shoppable Instagram gives consumers a seamless process when discovering, researching, and eventually buying products as well as brands the insight and metrics they need to create relevant content.


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