How Instagram changed the way we shop today - Social Media Explorer
How Instagram changed the way we shop today
How Instagram changed the way we shop today

What started as a visual storytelling platform, Instagram now is a massive e-commerce channel that can definitely help you boost sales. And has changed the way we approach e-commerce today. But, let’s go beyond Instagram launching this new shopping feature.

  1. What is Instagram shopping?
  2. What kind of impact will this have on traditional e-commerce?
  3. How to use instagram shoppable posts?
  4. How to measure instagram shopping success?

What is Instagram Shopping?

Social commerce is one of the biggest social media trends of 2019. Instagram is no longer just for posting visually engaging photos and videos. It’s way more than that! From Instagram Stories to IGTV and Instagram shoppable posts, having success on Instagram in 2018 is a full time job.

So, what is Instagram Shopping and how does it work?

The easiest definition of Instagram Shopping is that brands can easily tag products in their Instagram posts and reach over 500 million users. A feature that Instagram launched in November 2016, today, more than 90 million accounts on Instagram tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month. So, if you’re selling physical products and you have a solid community on Instagram, you clearly don’t want to miss out on this opportunity!

What’s cool about Instagram Shopping is that users can quickly check relevant information about a product, like descriptions and price. Additionally, shoppable posts redirect users to corresponding product pages on your website. Only two more steps until the purchase was made: cart and checkout. It’s safe to say that Instagram Shopping is a very effective sales channel, even for things like hosting events at a coworking space!

You can create Instagram shoppable posts in your feed and Instagram Stories. And what’s cool about this is that you don’t have to compromise your profile’s aesthetics. Brands can post the same photos, videos and instagram stories without becoming too “salesy”.

Fashion brands like Sanlorenzo Bikinis and Hook & Albert use Instagram Shopping in about one out of two feed posts. And when it comes to Instagram Stories, Sanlorenzo bikinis use swipe-up links to send users on their website.

What kind of impact will this have on traditional e-commerce?

We live in a fast moving world. And e-commerce has also changed a lot lately: from print media and online catalogs to selling products directly on social media.
But this new way of using social media has a big impact on consumerism. More and more companies use technology to offer the same day shipping and easier purchasing processes. All these efforts in a bid to sell more.

Social commerce is actually the next step in online retail. If you think about it, people go on social media (Instagram or Pinterest mostly) to search for inspiration. So it makes total sense for these photo driven social media platforms to move towards social commerce.

As a brand, you’re going to be sharing shoppable posts and stories to your community that you already know is interested in your brand and products. And this can cut advertising costs while increasing revenue.

In 2018, Facebook and Instagram are the two main players when it comes to social commerce. Also, the way shoppers decide what to buy has definitely changed. And I think it has to do with the growing popularity of social media influencers. From small to big celebrities, they influence what we buy today. Just think about all the fuss that’s going on when Meghan Markle (now Duces of Sussex) wears a new dress. It goes out of stock within hours. Same goes with social media influencers.

According to a Popsugar study, it seems like 94% of millennial women say that influencers are important in helping them make beauty and personal care purchasing decisions.

How to use Instagram shoppable posts?

We’ve already established that you don’t have to sacrifice your Instagram aesthetic to sell on this platform. There are so many ways you can sell on Instagram and have this platform be the “catalog” or “lookbook” for your products.

Tip #1: Create a beautifully aesthetic lookbook

Instagram has this feature that’s called carousel and allows you to add up to 20 photos in the same post. Additionally, you can add up to 20 products. I honestly think this is a huge opportunity to create a lookbook on instagram and showcase your latest photoshoot.

Tip #2: Use good hashtags

Believe it or not, having success on Instagram in 2019 has a lot to do with a solid hashtag strategy.
Instagram Hashtags allow brands to gain exposure to niche groups and other specific areas of interest. I would say that today, hashtags are probably more important to Instagram marketing than Twitter marketing, where they first appeared on 2007.

While you would want to turn your followers into customers, by using shoppable posts, you still want to do acquisition and bring in new followers to meet your brand. And this is possible when using good product descriptions and hashtags.

Tip #3: Make use of user generated content

What a better way to advertise your products than when users do it for you. And why not take advantage of this? I’d recommend using user generated content in your social media strategy as a perfect opportunity to insert some shoppable posts.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, try not to become too salesy when it comes to going all in with shoppable posts. Don’t become too “salesy”. Go for the same strategy as before but easily insert a shoppable link here and there. Users won’t feel that you are constantly trying to sell them something. Remember, they follow you on instagram for a reason. And that reason is probably that you have a beautifully aesthetic profile, or you tell a story.

How to measure instagram shopping success?

One of the most important steps of an Instagram marketing strategy is measuring the success of your campaigns and posts. Sure, for every brand and business, success is measured differently. While a new brand will want more awareness and social media presence, for others, sales are the main focus. So, it’s very important to check Instagram analytics to see how well your posts performed. This is mainly useful when you test different types of posts and see which performed better than others.

Simply tap View Insights and you’ll be able to see all business insights for that particular post.


The way we shop today, the traditional retail and ecommerce world has changed a lot since the 1960s when shopping malls were all the fuss. Today, with the rise of social media and a new generation of millennials who are born digital, shopping habits also changed. And my impression is that we’re going to talk more and more these upcoming years about social commerce and the death of retail as we know it.


Written by: Adelina Noge – content marketing strategist @Flipsnack.
Caffeine fiend, proud Netflixian and music festival denizen.


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