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Two Things We Learned from E-commerce Brands on Instagram

Instagram is home to a plethora of e-commerce brands and businesses, all vying for the attention of the platform’s one billion active users. Seeing the increasing demand for e-commerce on the social media platform, Instagram developed some features that make it easier for businesses to sell their products. There’s: 

  • The shop button for business profiles
  • Instagram Checkout
  • Product tags and stickers. 

Instagram also allows brands to specify a conversion objective for their ads, which helps them measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Even large brands have extended their marketing on Instagram. Take Ralph Lauren as an example. The fashion label launched an ad campaign on its 50th anniversary. The goal was to increase brand awareness and drive sales among millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X age groups. The ad campaign ran from September to November 2018, combining videos, collections, and carousel ads in news feed and Stories. By the end of the campaign, Ralph Lauren experienced an 18% increase in online sales, 7.1X return on ad spending, and a 41% increase in product page views.

If a global, 50-year-old brand like Ralph Lauren needs Instagram for marketing, smaller and starting brands need it too, right? Before you go starting an Instagram ad campaign, take a look at two things that e-commerce brands on Instagram have taught us.

Consumers require social proof before buying

Running ad campaigns that showcase product features and benefits is one of the go-to strategies of brands. However, this has been proven to be insufficient in turning followers into customers since most people don’t make purchasing decisions based on ads alone. They usually read the experiences of other consumers first. 

Here are some interesting numbers:

  • 97% of online shoppers believe that reviews influence buyer decisions.
  • 95% of online shoppers read online reviews.
  • 82% of shoppers put value in user-generated reviews.

As you can see, social proof is important to online shoppers, and you should integrate this into your social media marketing. Here are two suggestions:

Share user-generated content 

This type of content is from users who post photos featuring your product. What makes such content effective is that it tells potential buyers that other people are happy with your product. 85% of marketers find that user-generated content is more effective than branded content, and 64% of consumers look for user-generated content first before buying. 

Aside from photos or videos that feature your product, you can also share reviews, feedback, or posts that show how your product works. 

Two Things We Learned from E-commerce Brands on Instagram

Image: @frank_bod posting User Reviews. The Screenshot was taken on August 14, 2019

You can ask your followers to upload the content themselves and use a specific hashtag in the captions. Users will be thrilled to be able to reach out to millions of people; at the same time, brands will gain social proof. 

Not that Starbucks needs more social proof, but the company still seeking posts that feature their coffee. The company will ask permission from the photo owner (a great way to build rapport and engagement) before posting the photo.

Two Things We Learned from E-commerce Brands on Instagram

Image: @Starbucks Instagram Post from Follower. The Screenshot was taken on August 14, 2019

User-generated content is also great for Instagram contests.

Work with influencers

Consumers trust influencers more than traditional advertisements. The numbers support this: 82% of marketers find that influencer marketing brings buying customers because it’s organic and authentic. Influencer marketing is a huge industry that continues to grow. The global value of the Instagram influencer market is estimated to reach $2.38 billion in 2019.

Two Things We Learned from E-commerce Brands on Instagram

Image: @hautehijab Instagram Post. The Screenshot was taken on August 14, 2019

Check out the post above by Melanie Elturk, a famous fashion blogger and Instagram influencer, who was selected by J.Crew to promote their brand. Melanie included a brand tag in her photo. J.Crew also posted the same content on their Instagram profile:

Two Things We Learned from E-commerce Brands on Instagram

Image: J Crew Instagram Post. The Screenshot was taken on August 14, 2019

The team-up enabled J.Crew to reach out to fashion enthusiasts within Melanie’s circle of 251 thousand followers.

More sales stem from positive experiences 

In every phase of the consumer journey, you build, make sure that they get a positive experience. It’s important that they enjoy the buying process since Instagram is mainly a photo-sharing app and not originally a shopping platform. Make consumers more comfortable in making in-app purchases. To make their experiences better and convert visitors to buyers, you need to optimize your Instagram profile for e-commerce. 

Instagram has also made it a point to improve buyers’ experiences by introducing shopping features. Aside from an interesting bio, you can also put in your company’s contact information, and add shoppable tags that consumers can tap to be redirected to your website’s shopping cart.

Two Things We Learned from E-commerce Brands on Instagram

Image: @gapkids's Instagram post. The Screenshot was taken on August 14, 2019

The platform has also given brands the ability to add product stickers to Instagram Stories. Followers can just tap the product stickers to learn more about the product then choose whether to buy it from the company’s website. 

If you have multiple products and product lines, you need to simplify the navigation process. It will be too much hassle for a potential buyer to browse through your content, especially when you have hundreds of products. This is where Stories Highlights come in handy. Lush makes use of this feature effectively as the feature helps categorize products. This makes things easier for customers to look around.

Two Things We Learned from E-commerce Brands on Instagram

Image: @lush categorizing product. The Screenshot was taken on August 14, 2019

What we learned from e-commerce brands

Instagram is now an indispensable marketing platform, whether you have local or global clients. The platform is not limited to new businesses; almost every established brand is on Instagram. 

If there’s anything we can take away from e-commerce brands that are on Instagram, it’s that customer experience is very important in converting a follower into a buyer. Brands should make sure that their Instagram profiles are optimized for shopping. This is easily done by using the platform’s features like Instagram Stories and Stories Highlights, product tags, and putting links in the bio. 

It’s also important to reach out to customers, especially those who are still in the early stages of the buying process. To gain social proof, ask your existing clients to post user-generated photos, or seek those posts yourself. What’s important is for prospective buyers to see that your product works well from another person.

Date: November 6, 2019 / Categories: Tips, / Author: Disturbinsilence


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