Instagram's Latest E-Commerce Features

Written by: 
Molly Niemczyk
05/11/21

A few weeks back, Instagram users noticed a few major changes in the latest update. The button used to add a new post, once situated in the bottom center of the screen, has been pushed to the top left corner. In its place is a “Reels” button, undoubtedly the company’s response to the increasingly-popular social media app, TikTok. Likewise, the heart-shaped notifications icon has moved to the upper right corner, and in its old spot? A shopping bag. If you’re an e-commerce store, this is big news. Instagram is pushing its in-app shopping like never before, and it’s important that online stores take full advantage of this update.

What It Looks Like

When users open the Shop page, they’ll see a large “Shop Directory” section, inviting them to discover shops suggested for them based on their interests and the people they follow. Click on this, and they’ll have easy and immediate access to some of their favorite creators’ merchandise. Scroll further down, and users will see a curated feed of suggested products, stores, and user posts that include products to purchase. Instagram users can track orders, add to a wishlist, search brand collections, and read through editors’ picks.

How It Works

The Shop page is enabled through Facebook Pay, allowing customers to save their card information within the app for quick and easy purchases in the future. Sellers can connect their store to their business profile, so that customers don’t have to exit the app to make a purchase. This convenience comes at a small cost to business-owners; there is a selling fee for purchases made within the app.

Take Advantage of Instagram Shopping

If you’re an e-commerce site with a social media presence, you should absolutely consider selling on Instagram, especially if you have a large following on the app. To get started, make sure that you have a business profile. Then, sign up for Instagram Shopping in your settings. Once that’s set up, you’re ready to advertise your shop on the platform!

Other Features to Consider

Instagram’s in-app shopping is certainly a major focus of the new update, but it’s not the only big change. As we mentioned in the beginning, Instagram’s new Reels feature is a clear response to TikTok, and just like the competing app, it allows users to record short videos and then apply a myriad of filters and effects. Though not an official measurement of reach by any means, you’ll find plenty of anecdotal accounts from Instagram users who swear that they’re reaching far more people with Reels than with Stories and regular posts. Whether this is true remains to be seen, but in any case, Reels offer an additional way to reach your followers; it’s worth using them to further extend your reach and bring people to your store. They’re easy to make, and unlike Stories, they don’t disappear after 24 hours.

Many influential Instagram users also claim that the weight of likes and comments in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm has dropped dramatically; saves and shares are much more likely to get your post on the Explore page. Again, while this is largely anecdotal, it’s still a good idea to make content that people want to share, if only to reach more potential customers. Consider hosting a contest where people must share your post and tag a friend to participate!

Final Tips and Tricks

Although Instagram is putting its shopping features front and center, making it easier than ever for customers to make a purchase, you can make it even more accessible. When you post product images and videos, add product tags so that followers can find the relevant merchandise with one tap of their screen. Don’t limit yourself to regular posts, either; Instagram Stories are a great way to advertise new releases, sales, and limited-edition merchandise. Finally, don’t forget relevant hashtags! Hashtags continue to be one of the easiest ways for people to find posts that they’re interested in, so never leave them off a post.

--

As e-commerce becomes an increasingly vital part of any successful business, it’s important that your online store is effectively using social media channels to advertise and sell products and services.  If you need help with your paid social ad spending, or other paid social endeavors, reach out to Relevance Advisors today for a consultation. Our team of experts is always delighted to help stores like yours grow.

Ready to get started?

if you are interested to learn more about our company or services, we would love to hear from you.
facebook-squaretwitterenvelopelinkedininstagrammenu