Emily Strachan

4 Ways Instagram's Shopping Feature Can Be Used To Convert Followers

In a world where the consumer expects a more seamless shopping experience than ever before, shopping directly via social media is naturally the next step from shopping through a retailer’s website or mobile app.

While social media has long been viewed as an invaluable brand awareness and engagement tool, conversion is a recurrent issue; how to successfully turn likes and retweets into measurable sales? Instagram may now have brought UK retailers a solution to this problem with shoppable posts, which take customers from post to purchase in just two taps.

While Instagram previously did not allow links to be placed in pictures or captions, a recent update now allows products to be “tagged” in posts. Tapping a tag brings up key product information such as brand names and prices, and a further tap takes users straight through to the associated product page on a retailer’s website, where they can make a direct purchase.

Considering that UK retailers have an average Instagram reach of 2.25 million, Instagram shopping creates tremendous growth opportunities for businesses that can take full advantage of this new trend.

Our Social Media Strategist, Gianni Casagrande, has highlighted 4 key steps to utilising this new tool to grow sales!

1) Optimise mobile site speed

Once users arrive on site via shoppable posts, it’s critically important for brands to ensure that their site loads quickly to maximise conversion rates. One in two consumers now expect a mobile site to load in less than two seconds, and conversions can drop by up to 20% for every additional second.

To increase site speed there are a number of quick-win tactics that can be employed, such as optimising resource-heavy product images, structuring the HTML to load visible “above the fold” content first, and reducing server response times to under 200ms.

2) Checkout is crucial for conversions

Considering Instagram shopping takes users directly to the product purchase page, it is also imperative to ensure that the checkout process is fully optimised to limit basket abandonment!

While many best-practice principles for traditional desktop checkout design will also apply to mobile – for example prioritising speed, simplicity, and security – mobile checkout design also brings extra design considerations such as making sure buttons and text fields fit within the confines of a mobile screen and allow for easy scrolling.

3) Never “overload” customers

Instagram allows retailers to tag up to five products in posts with a single photo, and up to 20 tags for multi-image posts. While it may be tempting to include as many products as possible in each post, this can have an adverse effect on sales by making posts look unattractively cluttered.

Be warned – messy posts will fracture browsers’ attention and cause them to scroll away, perhaps in search of a competitor’s feed!

4) Image is everything

Online shopping has always been a visual medium. In the absence of being able to physically interact with products, customers rely upon strong product imagery when deciding whether to make a purchase – as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

Therefore, businesses should ensure all product images posted to Instagram are at least 72 dpi, and approximately 1,000 x 1,000px. Products should be shown from multiple angles where possible, as well as “in use” to show in context.

A new era for online shopping

Overall, Instagram shopping is a tremendously exciting development in the rapidly-growing world of mobile commerce. While the feature is still in its infancy, early adopters have thrived, reporting significant growth in traffic.

As the ongoing high street “crisis” – House of Fraser being just the latest casualty of this – increases competition in the online retail arena, untapped avenues such as Instagram shopping could make or break businesses looking to survive in a saturated marketplace.

The question now is not whether businesses should be embracing Instagram and social commerce, but whether they can really afford not to?

If you’re ready to step up your Social Media activity, then contact a member of our team by phone on 01642 988416.

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