Social Commerce: Why Instagram Shopping is Broken
Are you frustrated with the lackluster performance of your Instagram shop despite the platform's massive user base?
If so, you're not alone.
Despite the opportunity to reach customers of all ages and interests, many businesses struggle to achieve satisfactory conversion rates from their Instagram shops.
But fear not! There are strategies you can implement to turn the tide and capitalize on this lucrative platform.
In this article, we'll delve into the root causes of low conversion rates and offer practical advice to help you unlock the full potential of Instagram shopping. Get ready to unleash the full potential of Instagram shopping and social commerce, and skyrocket your sales like never before!
What is Instagram shopping and why are brands using it for social commerce?
Instagram shopping is an exciting new feature that allows businesses to sell products directly to their followers through their Instagram profiles.
With an Instagram shop, you can create a storefront that showcases your products, making it easy for customers to browse and buy without leaving the app. The storefront is accessible through a dedicated "Shop" tab on your Instagram profile. Customers can explore your catalog, view product details, and complete their purchases, all within the Instagram app.
Setting up an Instagram shop has numerous benefits for businesses, including increased brand visibility, improved customer engagement, and higher sales conversions. Here are 4 key benefits of using Instagram shopping for social commerce:
1. Reach a wide demographic of customers
With Instagram shopping, businesses can reach their target audience more effectively. Instagram's vast user base spans across all age groups and demographics, making it easier for businesses to reach their ideal customers and get started with social commerce.
2. Easily get your products discovered
Instagram shopping makes it easy for businesses to showcase their products and highlight their unique features. By creating a seamless shopping experience for customers, businesses can drive more sales and increase their revenue.
3. Tap into the power of photos and videos
Instagram is a highly visual platform, and businesses can leverage this to create an immersive shopping experience for their customers. By using high-quality photos and videos, businesses can showcase their products in action and make them more appealing to potential buyers. With the ability to tag products in posts and stories, you can create shoppable content that encourages customers to make a purchase.
4. Create an engaging shopping experience
Instagram has become a popular destination for people who love to shop, and by using Instagram shopping, businesses can tap into this market. By creating an engaging shopping experience on Instagram, businesses can build brand loyalty and connect with customers who are passionate about their products. Moreover, Instagram's built-in analytics provide valuable insights into your customers' shopping behavior, allowing you to optimize your strategy and tailor your products to their needs.
While businesses are swiftly setting shop on Instagram, a lot of them are unable to fully reap the benefits of Instagram shopping. Many struggle to meet the eligibility criteria, while others find it challenging to create an effective strategy that drives sales. But with the right approach and some expert guidance, you can take advantage of this powerful tool to grow your business and connect with your audience like never before.
Why is Instagram shopping broken and not working for businesses?
Instagram shopping has been touted as the next big thing for businesses looking to sell their products online, but why isn't it working for many of them? Here are some reasons:
1. Harder to meet eligibility criteria
Instagram Shopping has eligibility criteria that businesses need to meet before they can set up their shop on the platform. The process can take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks, making it harder for businesses to get started. To be eligible, a business must have an Instagram business account, be located in a supported market, comply with Instagram's commerce policies, and sell physical goods that comply with Instagram's merchant agreement and commerce policies.
The strict eligibility criteria can be a significant barrier for small businesses and new entrepreneurs who are trying to establish a presence on the platform. Moreover, Instagram's approval process can be time-consuming and frustrating for businesses, which can discourage them from setting up a shop on Instagram.
TLDR; not every brand gets to leverage Instagram shops for social commerce.
2. Inability to see all product info
Another major issue with Instagram Shopping is that users are unable to see all of the product information they need. To gather more information around the product, consumers need to click through to the brand website and find the product page.
This can be a significant disadvantage for businesses as customers may not be fully informed about the product they are interested in while on Instagram, which can lead to a decrease in conversion rates by the time they do decide to reach your website.
3. Not all content formats are shoppable
While Instagram shopping is available on many types of content, such as posts and stories, Reels are still not shoppable. This is problematic because many people watch Reels more than other types of content, and what they see in Reels often influences their purchases.
4. Not able to capture consumer information
One of the major drawbacks of Instagram shopping is the inability to capture consumer information. While the platform allows users to browse and purchase products without leaving the app, the data remains on Instagram itself, and businesses are unable to use it to their advantage.
This lack of consumer data is a significant disadvantage for businesses, as they cannot leverage it to optimize their marketing strategies and improve their sales. Businesses are unable to retarget their customers with personalized ads based on data like their browsing and purchase history. Furthermore, it creates a disconnect between their Instagram shop and their website, making it harder for businesses to understand and meet their customers' needs.
5. Inability to personalize
Another limitation of Instagram shopping is its inability to personalize the shopping experience for each user.
When someone clicks on an item in your Instagram shop, they either buy it or leave. There is no way to encourage them to explore other products based on their interests or preferences. Without the ability to personalize the shopping experience, businesses lose out on potential sales and cannot build long-term customer relationships.
6. No carry forward context
When it comes to Instagram shopping, one major issue is the lack of carry-forward context.
What does this mean? Well, let's say you're scrolling through your Instagram feed and come across a beautiful table setting featuring a stunning tablecloth. You click on the "Shop" button and are taken to the product page for that tablecloth. However, instead of seeing the same image of the table setting, you're greeted with a plain, uninspiring product shot. This disconnect can make it difficult for customers to fully connect with the product and may lead to increased drop-offs.
The lack of carry forward context also means that Instagram shops are not tailored to meet the intent and interest of the customer. Once a customer clicks on a product, they are given the option to either purchase or leave the shop. There is no personalized experience or encouragement to explore related products, which could potentially lead to more sales.
Also read: Social commerce revenue is underreported by 245% (study)
Why are edge storefronts better than Instagram shops
Now that you know what is broken about Instagram shops for social commerce, let’s take a look at why we think Edge Storefronts are the future:
1. They are for everyone
Edge storefronts don’t have to rely on eligibility criteria set by social media platforms like Instagram. With a solution like SimplicityDX, they can be set up for every brand in a matter of minutes by simply integrating with your online store CMS and connecting the social commerce platforms you intend to sell on.
Here are some recommended reads:
- Complete guide to understanding edge storefronts and why they’re the future of eCommerce
- How to set up edge storefronts for health and wellness brands
- How to set up edge storefronts for beauty and cosmetics brands
- How to set up edge storefronts for fashion and apparel brands
2. They are more detailed and relevant that a PDP
Edge storefronts are similar to online stores. So instead of having to limit the amount of information you display for each product on the Instagram shop, you get to detail out as many things as you prefer.
From the product description, variants available, pricing, similar products, products that can go well with the one they have shown interest in, an edge storefront brings the entire eCommerce website experience to Instagram.
3. They can turn any format shoppable
Edge storefronts tie social media to commerce, extending your content onto a branded site that online shoppers can make purchases from. This means you can increase relevance by converting any Instagram content format - post, carousel, video, reel, into a shoppable post.
SimplicityDX pulls the content onto the page to create contextual landing for online shoppers. This also helps reassure buyers in moments of doubt like ‘is this the same product I saw on social media?’
4. They capture multiple intent and interests
Shoppable Instagram posts can only lead to specific product pages. Imagine a post showing the model wearing a jeans and a t-shirt, with only the jeans linked to. Now what if the consumer was actually looking at the belt worn that we even forgot mentioning when promoting this piece of content?
An edge storefront uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify the key elements of an Instagram post. This lets you display all the elements - jeans, tshirt and the belt, on the page they land on, instantly being able to capture multiple intent and interests.
5. They enable personalization at scale
Traditional personalization typically includes displaying product recommendations based on what they’re looking for on a product page. But not being able to capture interest and intent as a buyer moves from Instagram to the brand site, can often lead to a lack of personalization or an incorrect one.
With an edge storefront, you get to personalize customer experiences at scale. The ability to identify and display all the products shown in an Instagram post as they click through to know more, helps them explore more of what they like in a continual way.
6. They offer branded website shopping experience
Our studies have shown that despite wanting to explore new brands on social media platforms like Instagram, consumers still want to make purchases from brand websites. There are about 67% of online shoppers who choose to wait on making a purchase just to be able to do so from the brand’s site. Some of the leading reasons being the recent security threats and frauds on social media that put their transactional data at risk.
Edge storefronts bring the branded site to Instagram instead. They replicate the experience of an online store, including a branded URL that reassures buyers of their safety.
The future of Instagram Shops: Shopping on the Edge
Instagram is continually growing across different demographics and so is its capabilities to help users search and find products of their interest.
From being able to search using keywords to navigating the platform with the help of hashtags, Instagram shopping is here to stay. But brands will need to evolve their strategies to enable ease of shopping from the point of brand discovery to conversion (completing the purchase) - all while letting the consumer stay on the platform.
That’s why we have built Edge Storefronts for eCommerce businesses.
Our goal is to reverse the way social commerce works and tap into consumer shopping behavior.
Instead of taking consumers from Instagram to brand sites to complete purchases, with storefronts we enable brands to take the shopping experience to them and then seamlessly extend that journey to the brand site. Helping customers discover and buy more of what they love!
Want to know how Edge Storefronts work with Instagram social commerce?