Earlier this year Facebook, the owner of Instagram, announced changes it was making in line with the outbreak of Coronavirus. Facebook’s plan had always been to deploy a new way of shopping – both through Facebook and Instagram shops. But with the onset of COVID-19, they launched several months early to enable shoppers to buy online rather than face to face and bolster business sales. The move was especially welcome by those running small, local businesses as a new avenue for income. Since the launch in May 2020, there have been a number of updates to its in-app shopping features.
New Features for Instagram Shops
- Instagram is expanding access to all businesses with more control over branding and merchandising, with bespoke design.
- New templates and layouts for showcasing groups of and to emphasise individual products.
- As a Shops owner you’ll now have real-time access to previewing your content as you design your collections.
- Measure and analyse your Shops sales and popularity using new data and metrics available in Commerce Manager.
- Selling fees have been waived until the end of 2020 to support small businesses during the pandemic.
- The Facebook ‘Rights Manager’ is being extended to Instagram so you can search for copyrighted or protected images of products to ensure other shops aren’t fraudulently selling your wares.
Checkout on Instagram
Your customers can now buy and checkout directly within the Instagram app. This means more direct sales and less hurdles for shoppers to jump over in order to buy your products. For small businesses this is an exciting feature; simply add a product, encourage orders with a call-to-action in your description and readers can instantly click and buy.
- Easy processes are available to open a Shop using Commerce Manager in the app, or through other providers including Shopify and BigCommerce.
- Checkout through the app using Facebook Pay, a new payment system for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Enter your payment details once and then in-app purchase across the Facebook family and third-parties, such as advertisers, can be bought with a simple click.
- Shopping from creators is also becoming more prominent and allows users of Instagram, including influencers and customers, to tag your products in their posts and stories. To streamline the process of buying users can then click the tagged item and buy your product immediately.
- Easily add “shopping” stickers to your Stories to tag your products.
- Notify people about your upcoming product launches (still in BETA testing phase) with in app and with mobile notifications.
Live Shopping and Ads
- New Ads products are available allowing you to promote your products through customer’s Feeds and through shopping ads in the Explore function (the function that recommends accounts and posts).
- Shopping ads have the option for checkout to be enabled so customers can buy directly from your promotions and marketing campaigns without leaving the app.
- Shoppers are now able to purchase items featured during a Live stream or video in real-time. This opens up the possibility of a new shoppable channel for your business.
It’s also worth mentioning the latest update to IGTV as, although not part of the Instagram Shops package, Instagram has recently updated this feature to enable automatic closed captions. This means you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with your audience including those with hearing difficulties or the high percentage of users who watch IGTV with the sound muted. Subtitles will open up your marketing to a wider audience, as will adding alternative text to your image posts so those using screen readers can connect with you too.Use these tips to get your Instagram Shop up and running. And connect with your customers when face-to-face contact isn’t safe or possible. Click To Tweet
If you have an existing Instagram following or want to increase your customer base, follow the Instagram Shopping setup guide. Once your own Shop is up and running, you can use the many features to connect with your customers when face-to-face contact isn’t safe or possible. Or simply use it as a new platform for marketing your business online.