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Instagram Shopping: The pros and cons retail marketers need to know

Jun 2, 2021

Summary

  • Instagram lets your retail business engage with browsing millennial shoppers 
  • You can advertise and sell products on the Instagram app
  • There are challenges including the loss of control over the shopper relationship

10_Instagram guide for retailers_LI

Instagram is one of the most powerful platforms for your retail business to engage with online shoppers. It has a huge reach and an active user base. Many retailers are rushing to increase engagement on Instagram to drive brand awareness.

But there are challenges to being over-reliant on the channel. In this post, I’ll present the pros and cons you should be aware of when marketing on Instagram.

Instagram guide for retailers featured image

The benefits of using Instagram

1. Reach
The social media channel owned by Facebook boasts more than 1 billion users. Of these over 500 million use Instagram Stories daily. And 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily.

These staggering numbers underline the importance of Instagram for your business in driving awareness. Another significant statistic is that 71 percent of Instagram users are under 35. These are the millennials and Gen Z’s who you're struggling to connect with using analog marketing channels.

2. Engaging content
With Instagram, you can create a unique personality for your business. It’s the ideal channel to communicate your brand story and build emotional connections with shoppers.

Instagram claims 70 percent of users say they discover new products using the channel. And 87 percent of users say influencer marketing on Instagram inspires them to buy.

The channel is an image-based medium. For 93 percent of shoppers, high-quality images and videos are a key driver of purchasing decisions. Encouraging consumers to consider products they weren’t searching for. You should feature products in the Instagram style. Use photos and videos shoppers can relate to, not a list of products shot on a white background.

3. Shopper convenience
You can connect your webshop with the Instagram platform. With the Checkout feature, you can simplify the shopper journey. From product inspiration, shopping to purchasing. The shopper can explore your products in the app and buy with ease.

BoConcept Instagram guide for retailers

The drawbacks for retailers using Instagram

1. Loss of control over data
Instagram commerce is convenient for shoppers. But for you, it means a significant loss of control over the relationship with your shoppers. When a shopper checks out on Instagram their information is being recorded by that platform, and not by you. 

The shopper can enter their email address, but it is not required to place an order. The shopper will receive notifications about delivery details from Instagram instead of you. Even things like returns, refunds, and data management are also done by Instagram. 

This makes it harder for you to know more about your shoppers and to offer them more personalized experiences both online and offline. It’s also difficult to use SEO on the Instagram platform.

2. Fees
Instagram charges a selling fee of 5 percent for every transaction made through Instagram Checkout. If you run a small business you may be willing to bear this cost to access the audience. But if you’re a larger retailer with more expensive products the extra costs could be significant.

3. Limited product choice
Instagram Checkout displays a quick viewing of the product catalog connected to your Facebook catalog. If you have a wide range of products, your shoppers would benefit more from visiting your website to browse your full catalog and shop there.

Instagram guide for retailers shopping post image

Should your retail business market on Instagram?

Right now the benefits for your retail business using Instagram do outweigh the costs. Instagram Checkout is both an ideal digital marketing tool and ecommerce shopping platform. It’s a powerful channel for browsing shoppers to discover new products. And shoppers can buy your products within the app with a few clicks. 

But, you shouldn’t become too reliant on Instagram to engage with shoppers. You should consider an omnichannel marketing strategy to combine all your brand touchpoints. This will ensure a more seamless brand experience for shoppers across social media, your webshop, and physical stores.

You should not forget that your ecommerce store is the primary digital channel for engaging with shoppers. This is the channel you control so you should continue to optimize the user experience to increase your direct sales. That way you will keep more control over the relationship with your shoppers. Own your brand storytelling and build shopper loyalty. Benefiting your brand in the long term.

Matt Whitby

Matt Whitby