Clothing retailers stand to benefit from a new tool developed by Instagram that makes it easier to shop on the platform by translating social media views to sales.
The social media platform has launched Instagram Shopping, which lets retailers tag items featured in their Instagram posts, allowing consumers to click on the link for a product that directs them to the specific page on a retailer’s website.
Data and analytics firm GlobalData says retailers must begin to recognise the potential of social media beyond a marketing tool and as an additional sales platform that is especially effective at driving impulse purchases.
“Retailers targeting young consumers need to seize the opportunity created by the new shopping habits of this demographic as they increasingly use Instagram Shopping as a platform to make purchases,” says Emily Salter. “Using the tool, retailers can promote specific products to a huge number of followers – for example, H&M and ASOS have 30m and 9.3m respectively – and engaged shoppers, in particular boosting impulse purchases.”
For smaller retailers without the resources or ability to use personalisation or develop an effective and attractive app, Instagram Shopping offers a way to boost mobile sales with less investment. Additionally, Instagram presents retailers with a means to react quickly to trends by highlighting popular and talked-about pieces as they emerge, and engage with consumers to build brand loyalty – especially important in the highly competitive young fashion market.
Salter adds: “However, stock availability is vital to ensure the effective use of Instagram Shopping, as the products featured and tagged on Instagram Shopping have heightened visibility compared to the rest of the retailer’s products. Retailers should be prepared for greater popularity of featured items and use forecasts based on previous reactions to avoid stock selling out too quickly. For instance, Marks & Spencer often highlights products on Instagram Shopping that rapidly sell out, leading to numerous comments from frustrated shoppers, creating a more negative perception of the shopping experience.”