4 Reasons Your Retail Brand Needs to Be on Instagram Right Now

I predict that this is going to be the year that shopping on Instagram goes gangbusters. In my 2017 digital marketing predictions I wrote:

Shopping on Instagram: Instagram storefronts and affiliate programs take hold. The online fashion industry is many billions of dollars, and visuals rule. Look for massive growth in the area of Instagram shopping.

Instagram is not just a place millennials go to post funny cat pics. There’s real money changing hands, influenced by the platform.

Marketers are taking note, recognizing Instagram as a potential direct response channel — especially with all the new ways shopping is getting easier on the platform.

open shop sign

So are you ready to add shoppable Instagram to your retail marketing mix? Read on to find out:

  • If your target demographic is on Instagram
  • How people are shopping on Instagram today
  • What industries are embracing the social platform — and seeing ROI

Reason No. 1: Your Customer Is (Probably) Shopping on Instagram

Thirty-two percent of all online adults use Instagram. Here’s the demographic breakdown:

To a greater extent than the other social platforms measured in this survey, Instagram use is especially high among younger adults. Roughly six-in-ten online adults ages 18-29 (59%) use Instagram, nearly double the share among 30- to 49-year-olds (33%) and more than seven times the share among those 65 and older (8%). And as was the case in previous Pew Research Center surveys of social media use, female internet users are more likely to use Instagram than men (38% vs. 26%).

instagram stats according to pew

Over a third of Instagram users have purchased a product online from their mobile device, making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users.

Half of Instagram users use social media for product research.

On Instagram, half of users follow brands, making it the social platform where users are most likely to do so.

Global Web Index Instagram Brands Infographic
Click to enlarge.

Plus, Instagram users are most likely to make a purchase influenced by content seen on the platform. A third of Instagram users bought an item of clothing they saw on the social network.

Instagram suggests that fashion brands are most likely to see direct response marketing success due to the segment’s high engagement level. Fashion fans check the Instagram news feed 15 times a day, post three times as much as the average user, and have 200+% more followers than the average user.

“Instagram is now the ‘look book’ for brands people love and the shop window for small businesses on mobile,” said James Quarles, Instagram’s VP of monetization.

Reason No. 2: Instagram Is Testing a Native Shopping Feature

In November 2016, Instagram announced it was testing a new shopping featureon the platform.

This new functionality allows Instagram to capture the entire consumer journey, from search to purchase — well, almost; the purchase still happens on the business’ website.

… 20 US-based retail brands including Kate Spade, JackThreads, and Warby Parker will share posts that have more depth, making it easier for Instagrammers to review, learn about, and consider the items that interest them. Each post will have a tap to view icon at the bottom left of a photo. When tapped, a tag will appear on various products in the post—showcasing up to five products and their prices. Once a tag is selected a new detailed view of the product will open. This functionality will bring important product information to the consumer earlier in the journey, all without having to leave the Instagram app to search. Then, if the consumer taps the Shop Now link from the product details view, they’ll go directly to that product on the business’ website, making it easier for them to buy the product they want.

Here’s an example of this in action:

Kate Spade from Instagram for Business on Vimeo.

According to Instagram’s VP of monetization, James Quarles, in an interview with TechCrunch, Instagram is not going to take a cut of the proceeds when purchases are made, and instead plans to monetize the feature as an ad type on the Instagram advertising platform.

While native shoppable photos are not yet available to everyone, there are third-party tools that retailers are using right now to allow followers to shop their Instagram feeds.

Take Scoutsee, for example. This app allows anyone to create a storefront linked to their Instagram account to “continue sharing what you love on Instagram and choose what you want to make shoppable.” (Full disclosure, Scoutsee is a client of Bruce Clay, Inc.)

Reason No. 3: Certain Industries Are Made for Instagram

In the middle of the media frenzy of New York Fashion Week, Instagram emerged as a breakout star.

Fashion and beauty brands are using Instagram as part of their strategic marketing efforts today.

Fitness brands are, too.

CMOs in these sectors are prioritizing Instagram this year. In the “2017 MarTech Wish List,” CMO Jen Lavelle of fashion brand Mizzen+Main had this to say:

“Our biggest MarTech-related need or wish for 2017 is to gain a shopable Instagram … It creates an amazing customer experience, and it’s something we hope to be able to offer in the near future. It’s an awesome way to let your customers buy something straight from Instagram without navigating away from the native application. Any time you can cater to your audience and make the mobile-online shopping experience an easy one is a win.”

Reason No. 4: Because You Can’t Afford Not To

The final reason may be obvious: Be where your audience is or slowly fade away.

In his book, “Engage! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate and Measure Success,” Brian Solis reiterates the importance of your brand being on social media today:

New Media is simply a matter of digital Darwinism that affects any and all forms of marketing service. In a world of democratized influence, businesses must endure a perpetual survival of the fittest. Engage or die.

If you can become an Instagram influencer or collaborate with an influencer, imagine the possibilities of your brand’s reach and ROI.

Want to sell to Millennials, Gen X and even some Baby Boomers? Get on Instagram. Got a fashion, beauty or fitness product? You should be there. In fact, any retailer should consider Instagram in 2017.

Instagram is part of the new media revolution, and now more than ever, it’s allowing brands to monetize their efforts. If you don’t, your competition will.

So What Are You Waiting For?

With new features and apps that are making Instagram a more shoppable social platform, and certain multi-billion-dollar industries recognizing its purchasing power, we fully expect massive growth in the area of Instagram adoption and revenue.

Is your retail brand on Instagram? I want to know what challenges you’re facing. Let me know in the comments below.


Let us help you drive and track traffic to your website with integrated search and social media marketing solutions. Our strategies are tailor-made to match your business goals and audience.

Let’s talk about your 2017 ecommerce digital marketing strategy.

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Comments (8)
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8 Replies to “4 Reasons Your Retail Brand Needs to Be on Instagram Right Now”

Amazingly helpful information, thanks so much!

Excellent post! I absolutely agree.

The sales growth I’ve seen my retail clients achieve through Instagram marketing is incredible. The organic reach & niche targeting available with hashtags on Instagram is a social media marketer’s dream!

Thanks for sharing this article. Take care.

Nice post. Yes, instagram is very important way to grow your business. We are talking to our clients to put their business on instagram and facebook. Biggest interactions are there!

Suresh says:

Mobile has changed the way people shop. You browse products while waiting to be seated for dinner, make purchases on your commute into work, and compare prices online when you’re at a store to see what’s the better deal. In fact, more than 84% of smartphone users in the US browse, research or compare products via a web browser or mobile app.* While browsing and discovery is easy on mobile, finding more information about the specific products you see isn’t always as simple. On a platform known for its power of mobile discovery, today we’re excited to announce an easier experience to shop the products you love on Instagram.

With the increase of Social media , it becomes important to be updated Thanks for sharing this helpful article
Well done!

Bruce Clay, It’s been a quite essential thing that we required, it should be Instagram! Instagram is making lots of opportunities to the eCommerce and shopping sites! Great article!

Lorna says:

Great review of Instagram! Everybody can benefit if they have the right approach! Great photos! It is another way to communicate with customers!

Nice post. But not every retail brand can harp on to the Instagram horse to promote their business, as the platform is more suited for fashion-oriented products only. A retailer selling cosmetic jewelry will get instant fame at Insta if he posts fabulous pics of his products, while a retailer selling hardware products will have minimal followers.

Having said that, any brand would do well to mark its presence in Instagram to reach its target audience, however niche the segment be.

The point no.4 of this post sums up my thought too.

Comments are closed

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