Aussie firms can now sell products via Instagram

‘Shopping’ feature enables consumers to buy direct from brands within their feeds, opening up the social media network to purchase and conversion

Facebook and Instagram's Naomi Shepherd
Facebook and Instagram's Naomi Shepherd

Australian businesses have reportedly become the first across Asia-Pacific to gain the ability to sell via Instagram, thanks to the rollout of ‘Shopping’ across the country.

Essentially, the Shopping feature enables local brands to connect directly with consumers, by tagging products for purchase directly within their posts and feeds. As part of the Australian launch, Instagram worked with three beta partners: Country Road, Myer and small business and retailer, PepperMayo.

Shopping on Instagram was first expanded to businesses in the US last year and is now a feature being offered to seven other markets in addition to Australia, including Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

“We’re thrilled to be the first international market outside of Europe and the Americas to enable Shopping for our local community, providing businesses and retailers of all sizes with the tools to connect with customers in a fresh, immersive way,” said Facebook and Instagram group industry director, Naomi Shepherd.

“From today, those with a business profile can begin using this innovative feature by tagging products within their Instagram posts or through the shop button, enhancing the overall customer experience by taking users from inspiration right through to purchase.”

In November 2016, Instagram began testing a new ‘shoppable post’ feature that enabled some businesses to showcase product photos tagged with captions such as pricing, descriptions, and links to purchase the product directly. Already, Instagram claims about half of daily active people on the platform in the US are following an active shopping business.

'Shopping' feature
'Shopping' feature

Country Road marketing manager of channels, Paul Conti, said customers have fully embraced mobile platforms, and Instagram, in particular, has become an important part of its wider marketing strategy. He cited proven success in driving reach, engagement and purchase.

“The introduction of Instagram Shopping empowers our community by removing friction from their shopping journey. People naturally want to learn more about and shop the products they see and love on Instagram, and Shopping means that’s now only a tap away,”  he said.

Conti said the rollout of ‘Shopping’ isn’t just an online play, but more of a way for consumers to be involved in a “fully connected retail environment,” making it easier for them to shop the way they’d like both in store and online.

“We’ll be watching closely to see how our Australian customers react to Instagram Shopping, but we’re expecting big things,” he said.

According to Instagram, Australian businesses will now be able to offer a more seamless shopping experience to their community, allowing people to discover new products from businesses they follow. Already, 80 per cent of people on Instagram follow a business, with more than 200 million people visiting a business profile daily, the company noted.

Like Country Road, Myer national manager of social media and digital partnerships, Anna Delaney, said Instagram Shopping is an important platform for its customers, making it a “vital communication tool” to showcase the best of what the retail chain has to offer.

“We’ve experimented with different content and advertising formats on Instagram and have seen some excellent results in terms of brand and ad recall, engagement and return on ad spend,” she said. 

Delaney said the launch of Instagram Shopping means the company can drive action with a single piece of Instagram content in a way that is user friendly for both businesses and shoppers.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing how our customers respond to Instagram Shopping, and gaining learnings from their interactions with our content.”

Instagram teamed up with Australian-founded e-commerce platform, BigCommerce, to make shopping on Instagram available to merchants. According to the company, BigCommerce merchants  can now create shopping posts, enabling 800 million Instagram shoppers to purchase without leaving the Instagram experience.

BigCommerce merchants in supported geographies will gain access to new organic features and be able to tag products in Instagram posts, making contextual information such as pricing and product descriptions accessible with a single tap.

When ready to make a purchase, product tags quickly direct shoppers to the associated product page on the merchants’ BigCommerce store, streamlining the checkout experience, the company noted.

In the US, partner merchants have seen a 50 per cent increase in Instagram referral traffic since enabling shopping in October, and Australian retailers expect to see similar success. BigCommerce group product manager, Jordan Sim, said up until this point social media platforms have predominantly been used by brands to generate awareness with current and prospective customers.

“Though many platforms have tried to deliver additional value by adding shopping features, most social commerce initiatives have been lacking. With the arrival of shopping on Instagram, brands now have a powerful feature to bring product discovery and sales conversion even closer together," he said.

While 500 million people use Instagram daily, the company lacked the ability to engage shoppers more deeply beyond a ‘like’ or passive interaction, Sim acknowledged.

“Shopping on Instagram helps push consumers beyond the like by offering a seamless way to discover new products within the app experience and buy those products with ease," he added.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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