Shop ‘Til You’re Trending: Shopping Through Instagram

Dude, I love shopping. And yes, I did just start this blog with “dude” because I want you to know that ALTHOUGH I am a woman and that sure, women are statistically more likely to shop than men, I am also a bro and my last online purchase was a giant bag of cocoa-dusted almonds, not clothes. Although I do periodically check the Swedish Hasbeens website because their clogs are so frickin’ cute. Okay, anyway! Onward to the actual blog post!

Instagram has always had the potential to be great for shopping. Long before they introduced their shopping tags feature, the platform’s photo-based nature already beckoned retailers to show off their stuff. Evidently, Instagram took notice, and features like the shopping tags leave both merchants and customers coming back for more. So exactly how good is Instagram for shopping?

Tags Galore

You’ve already heard of hashtags, now get ready for… well, shopping tags. I just mentioned them. But trust me, they’re amazing! Check this out:

Source: Engadget

By streamlining the process and providing a clean look—and not requiring the old school hunt for a non-clickable link—shopping tags makes Instagram more user-friendly than ever before, for all parties concerned. And while Instagram doesn’t host an actual marketplace (the links through the shopping tags require an actual website to be attached) this ensures merchants still get to enjoy traffic directly to their site, no strings attached.

Consider the Tried and True

Like other social networks, Instagram is constantly reinventing itself, whether it’s a new layout design, graphics, features, or ways to communicate. And while anything shiny and new is always appealing, Instagram’s basic premise—the sharing and discovery of visual media—still holds up even seven years after its launch.

That’s why using hashtags—regular ones, not the new shopping tags—will always be a great way to get your content discovered. You can use them to target your ideal demographic, network with other brands, and peruse them yourself to find inspiration. And now that Instagram just released the ability to follow hashtags, you can keep track of them more easily.

Once more, hashtags are a fabulous tool for both shoppers and merchants alike. That’s maybe Instagram’s finest asset: features that are targeted towards one group, actually work well for all users, and the intersectionality of different industries and interests makes Instagram a nearly-flawless platform.

Shut Up and Show Me the Results

I think I’ve made it pretty clear through my blog posts that Instagram’s my favorite platform, and while I can sing my praises and constantly talk about how even my cat has her own page, I wouldn’t be doing my job well if I didn’t drop some statistics.

Within the first few weeks after shopping tags were introduced, retailer Native Union reported a 2,662% increase in traffic to their website. BigCommerce, who uncovered these stats, also reported that Magnolia Boutique received a 20% increase in sales just from Instagram alone. Now while these stats are impressive, you of course can’t guarantee these results, but it just goes to show you something will happen rather than nothing.

To really prevail on Instagram takes mastering basic social media skillsets and immense willpower. Fortunately, because Instagram has realized businesses are using their platform, features like the shopping tags now exist to make your life easier. All it takes is trial and error, a bit of determination, and a little bit of luck. Oh, and maybe some analytical help from SumAll.