We’ve had some big news in Instagram country in the past couple of weeks. First, Instagram announced it’s allowing U.S. businesses using the e-commerce platform BigCommerce to create Instagram shoppable posts. Also, Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce company, opened its Instagram integration to thousands of its merchants.
Did you hear that sound? Pretty sure it was the sound of thousands of Etsy merchants across the land cheering.
This is big news. The updates don’t just streamline shopping on Instagram by removing purchasing steps—which should increase sales for small and large brands pushing e-commerce on the channel—it makes shopping more seamless even on organic posts.
What are shoppable tags?
Instagram shoppable tags allow users to tap products in photos and purchase within the app. For example, if you go to @jcrew and tap an image, tags will appear on sweaters, shoes, pants and accessories with purchase information: product name and price.
These tags were first tested last year with brands like Warby Parker, Macy’s and Kate Spade, but with the new integrations, thousands of brands now have the means to include shoppable tags.
Currently, Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in photo captions, so many influencers get around this by tagging their items with brand profiles or adding links to their profiles. The profile links lead to their blogs where you can “shop their Instagram” or to sites like LIKEtoKNOW.it.
This process hasn’t exactly been smooth or intuitive for consumers in the past.
Simple shoppable tags are a shortcut towards purchasing and increase the odds for users to buy products. For this reason, Instagram is moving towards a future with more shoppable tags.
For marketers, the tags are valuable because they create a visible path to purchase. Previously, marketers were unable to tell if an Instagram post influenced a shopping decision because users would view a post and then go find the shoes on Zappos. Now, users will click on the shoes in the post and purchase through the app.
Are Instagram shoppable posts appropriate for my brand?
Advertisers are flocking to Instagram, with the number of active advertisers doubling from one to two million in the last six months, and users are growing at an immense rate. To put it mildly, if your audience is already on the platform, Instagram is the place to be right now.
If your brand tells visual stories and showcases products in posts, Instagram and shoppable tags might be a good fit for you because they will enable you to communicate product information easily and quickly.
Consider this, if your brand would appear in a catalog (you know, those books we used to flip through and order from?), then yes, why wouldn’t you be on Instagram with shoppable tags? Shoppable tags are our digital version of a catalog.
While this method of tagging is only available through the specific e-commerce platforms, we presume the trend will only grow from here. For now, décor, apparel and beauty brands use Instagram shoppable posts most frequently, but it’s only a matter of time before food brands, individual influencers, and Etsy merchants across the land join in.
Our prediction: It’ll roll out to high-profile Instagram accounts (maybe a Kardashian or two) and then to the masses. In the end, shoppable tags are just another method of making your social content matter.