How Instagram Shopping is changing the game for apparel & fashion brands
Imagine being able to shop on your mobile phone even as you are sharing your latest vacation photos with your friends. Instagram’s shopping feature is a dream-come-true for both online shoppers and brands looking for an immersive storefront for people to explore their best products.
Introduced a year ago, Instagram Shopping fits right into the plans of the image-sharing platform to become a digital mall and transactional platform. The greater degree of personalisation as well as being able to shop from an Instagram post has been a point of attraction. According to media reports, 39 per cent of online shoppers in the UK have bought a product using Instagram Shopping, what’s more, these are young shoppers in the age group of 16-24.
In India, quite a few brands are using Instagram Shopping to engage their consumers. These include: Westside, fbb, Avon Beauty, Beardo, and Myntra, among others. While some brands like Westside use it for customer interaction, fbb uses it to track trends.
Prachi Mohapatra, Marketing Head, fbb, said, “On Instagram we always try to be as close to the native sub-culture of the platform as possible. We often check the fashion trends on Instagram and then tap into the opportunity to push the categories. Case in point is our “International Travel Looks Day” campaign, which was heavily inspired by the Airport Looks culture on Instagram.”
We at Adgully decided to explore the impact of Instagram shopping and interacted with a few brands for their insights and strategies.
Elaborating on how a social network like Instagram aids in product discovery, Krithika Sriram, Head of Marketing, Trent Ltd (Westside), said, “With the transformation of social platforms into commerce platforms, we are seeing a shift from the user consuming content to discovering (and now even purchasing products). If there is a story to tell, then a product has the opportunity to find an audience on Instagram and this is especially true for the fashion segment. With its visual nature, Instagram typically has a higher engagement level and integrating relevant content from influencers/ bloggers and fans also helps to boost interest in the product or brand. On Instagram, the audience can access your ‘store’, see your story in the marketing and advertising and discover your products all on one platform.”
This has given rise to the concept of ‘discovery shopping’, which is now a reality on Instagram with users able to make purchases directly from the app. The ‘tap to view products’, which occurs at the bottom left of the image has changed the entire shopping game on Instagram. The moment a target audience loves a product and taps on the tag, a new set of tags against each product appears denoting the name and price of the products. Users can find more about the product by tapping the tags again. This click will take them to a specific product page for each item. And, if they want to make a purchase, they can tap ‘visit the website’ option where the customer can buy the product instantly. It is a very simple and effective way to encourage product discovery and shopping behaviour amongst potential customers.
“Instagram Shopping is a lot like Pinterest,” remarked Swati Jain, Marketing Director, Avon, adding, “It is like reading a magazine and flipping through beautiful products. People love exploring and discovering new products every time they log in and brands are encashing on the same, exhibiting their best categories and products.”
Beauty as a category is bound to gain from this feature because beauty is all about new trends and looks. It is inspirational and people want to know what is new and how to achieve a certain look. Instagram being a new age medium with the millennials being constantly hooked on to the platform, it is an ideal place to be present.
Echoing her views, Krithika Sriram, too, said that brand categories that featured on Instagram Shopping mainly included fashion, beauty or style-related brands. “At Westside, we feature all our fashion brands that are available at Westside stores on Instagram Shopping.”
When asked how much website traffic or conversion brands are seeing from Instagram Shopping, Prachi Mohapatra reiterated that fbb is an Insta-first fashion brand and that the brand crafts its campaign design language with the same lens. She added, “We are extremely conscious of our grid, Insta-story and IGTV strategy and it all leads to traffic on our website. Almost 40 per cent of our traffic is dominated by Instagram and, therefore, every effort is made to increase the footfalls not just on our website, but also to in-store action days.”
Sriram added here, “Westside has seen a positive trend in website traffic and conversion from Instagram shopping. It is early days yet and with a fine-tuning of our Instagram strategy, we hope to see this trend continue.”
Instagram Shopping and consumer experience
It goes without saying that the evolution of Instagram from an online photo-sharing application to a tool for businesses to promote their brands and products has led to a change in the consumer shopping experience. As Sriram pointed out, “Instagram Shopping allows consumers to discover new products through a curated selection of products and a tailored shopping experience based on their interests. This ‘bespoke’ selection leads to a boost in engagement and conversion. Consumers can get an insight into the stories behind a brand and specific products, even as they have an easy pathway to purchase a product they like.”
For Avon’s Swati Jain, Instagram acts like an aggregator with a host of brands listed with their offerings. It is a picturesque ensemble of carefully curated products from the brands ranging from lifestyle products, apparels, accessories and beauty. A person has access to a plethora of brands in one platform which is convenient and easy. From a budget dress to a designer lehenga and shades of lipsticks to jewellery – all in one platform. “You can shop by a look from end-to-end, making it personalised for a consumer,” she added.
Easy, convenient and simple, this feature can work very well for the millennials and consumers who are active on Instagram.
fbb’s Prachi Mohapatra here noted that Instagram has contributed to the rise of experiential retail. Photogenic store displays are optimised to create great Instagram content and often include hashtag suggestions and other tips for broadcasting in-store experiences to social networks. Experiential retail stores are about more than the products they sell.
Today, Instagram is a primary platform to discover fashion not just via brand handles, but also the increasing presence of Fashion Influencers on the platform. Mohapatra said that fbb is taking its Instagram content very seriously and with that intent it has also launched “fbbtv” with an ambition to become India’s most exciting fashion channel on Instagram. “Our endeavour is to be the catalyst for India, where we don’t just make fashion accessible but add value to their wardrobes,” she added.
Trent Ltd’s Krithika Sriram, too, agreed that Instagram has changed the marketing landscape across the globe. She informed that today, the social media site has more than 2 million businesses that actively advertise with them. The figure itself shows how popular the site is with the brands and that the brands have achieved impressive results either in the form of awareness or re-call value. The platform offers a lot of marketing options available such as video engagement, Instagram stories, influencer engagement. These options help the brands to put their best foot forward and create brand and product awareness.
“Backed by heavy algorithms of Instagram, everyone is aware of the search they are making and their followers and followings. This makes it easy for brands to know whom they are targeting and plan their strategy accordingly. This makes discovery of brands can be a lot better, if not easier,” concluded Avon’s Swati Jain.