Instagram recently unveiled its latest development in the push toward a more e-commerce oriented platform: @shop. But while the social media giant has released groundbreaking shoppable features in the past, @shop doesn’t appear to be anything revolutionary. That’s because it’s simply an Instagram account (run by the IG team). In this article, we’ll break down what this new account is—and what it means for e-commerce brands.
What is @shop?
Instagram’s new @shop account is an internally managed profile that features a curated collection of up-and-coming brands. The account is primarily focused on products from the fashion, home decor, and beauty categories. Featured brands all share a notable commonality: they’ve been very successful at leveraging IG to promote their company. Instagram has selected these brands to demonstrate the massive e-commerce potential of the social platform.
Another important aspect of the collection is that it’s driven by community trends. In Instagram’s own words:
“@shop is a celebration of small businesses and the creators behind them. The content on this account is inspired by our community of shoppers — you. @shop is a real-time reflection of our community’s interests across top shopping categories like fashion, beauty, home decor and more. ” [Source]
Tagged and shoppable
As the name suggests, @shop is all about shopping. Every image on the @shop account includes a shopping tag, which allows users to browse product collections, view the brand’s IG profile, and visit the company’s website. Shopping tags are a critical piece of Instagram’s ongoing effort to integrate with e-commerce. The tags are a move toward the capability for direct, in-app purchases, blurring the line between social media and online shopping.
What does @shop mean for retailers?
@shop represents Instagram’s ever-increasing e-commerce potential. The platform is extremely influential and has already facilitated the explosive growth of countless new brands. This trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down—and will continue to present huge opportunities for retailers.
A familiar place
Part of Instagram’s appeal lies in its familiarity. Like Amazon, Instagram has become a “comfort zone” for internet users. With this familiarity already in place, IG is poised to become a trusted e-commerce hub. And since Instagram is a primary source for product discovery, the increased emphasis on e-commerce creates a more holistic shopping experience (from discovery to purchase).
If trends continue, people will eventually view Instagram as an easy, convenient shopping platform. Purchasing will become more seamless, enabling businesses to reach potential customers where they’re already spending time—and without disrupting them.
Capitalizing on Instagram: How to Get Started
E-commerce brands with a lackluster Instagram strategy are missing out. Failing to keep up with the “Instagram wave” will leave money on the table and allow competitors to gain the upper hand. If you haven’t already, consider the following:
1) Recognize. Small companies in the e-commerce space are achieving huge success on social media. See this, acknowledge it, and ask yourself what your company can be doing get more out of Instagram (regardless of company size).
2) Stay in-the-know. Familiarize yourself with the latest Instagram developments. Use the platform regularly and pay special attention to e-commerce brands and shopping features.
3) Experiment. Digital marketing is a never-ending process of experimentation. Test new features, try new strategies, and analyze the results. Your customers are spending a lot of time on Instagram…it’s up to you to figure out the best way to reach them there.