Established brands, retailers and direct-to-consumer startups have long since discovered the benefits of marketing their products through social platforms, but Instagram’s potential to woo young consumers has skyrocketed with the advent of new shopping features.
A new study from data analytics firm GlobalData revealed that 38.7 percent of Gen Z online shoppers in the U.K. between the ages of 16 and 24 have purchased products through Instagram Shopping. Millennials ages 24 to 35 follow closely behind, with 34.3 percent also saying they’ve bought something on the popular social site.
The photo- and video-sharing app allows brands and retailers to tag products in their posts, redirecting consumers to the websites where they can complete the checkout process. Instagram rolled out the Shopping feature in its feeds during spring of 2018, quickly expanding the capabilities to Instagram Stories.
This spring, the platform enabled consumers to check out in-app using a credit card or PayPal, without being redirected to a retailer’s site in what it’s calling Instagram Checkout. A smattering of high-profile brands like Kylie Cosmetics, Michael Kors and Adidas were a part of the original roll-out, and Instagram has since added influencer posts to the roster of shoppable content.
The capability to shop within the app itself firmly establishes the social sharing platform as a key player in the e-commerce marketplace, rather than just a referral tool.
This week, Instagram teased potential new shopping features: “order” and “product” stickers appeared in the app’s Stories feature, according to a screenshot tweeted by social media consultant Matt Navarra.
Navarra has spotted and commented on yet-unreleased features before, and it does not appear that this one is fully baked and available for use just yet. Ostensibly, the stickers will allow brands and retailers to sell even more effectively through Instagram Stories.
Aside from adding and augmenting in-app shopping tools, the Facebook-owned platform is attacking the issue of marketability from all angles.
Instagram is running an experimental test pilot in Canada which will explore what happens when “likes”—the internet’s most valuable social currency—are hidden from public view. Only the poster would be able to see the popularity of their post, helping users discover new, unexplored content instead of being bombarded with what’s most popular.