[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Instagram Expanding Shopping Creds With Product Drop Trials

Instagram Now Testing Product Launch Reminders For Brands

Instagram’s big 2019 play on commerce and shopping appears to be gathering momentum as the platform releases its latest test feature for product launches.

As per its Checkout trial, which launched earlier this year, Instagram is working with a test pool of partners allowing brands to set up reminder notifications about merch drops.

This latest feature is part of Instagram’s closed checkout beta, which includes the likes of Adidas, Chinatown Market, Highsnobiety, Revolve, and Huda Beauty.

DAN ALTMANN, PRESIDENT, @chinatownmarket

‘Drops are a key part of streetwear, and we’re excited to evolve the industry together with Instagram.

We were excited to jump on checkout, and the response has been incredible with our first drop selling out in seconds. Now, the ability to set reminders will allow our fans to be notified and make the process even more seamless than it already is.’

The new reminder works similarly, in principle, to the existing Countdown Stickers marketers can already set for general launches in Stories, but with richer functionality.

Insta’s new product launch sticker in Stories, and product launch tag in feed, lets users:

  1. Set reminders for the launch date
  2. Preview product details
  3. Buy as soon as a product is available without leaving Instagram

One would assume that if successful, the trial will form part of Instagram’s new commercial suite of tools currently under-development.

Instagram’s Huge Commerce Opportunity

Instagram’s new product launch trial is the latest installment in Instagram’s commerce shift which began in 2016 with the launch of Shoppable Posts un the US. Through 2019 Instagram has looked to build upon this foundation with more substantive offerings.

Checkout on Instagram launched in beta earlier this year, offering more of an end-to-end commerce solution. Meaning that Grammers can shop till they drop without ever leaving Instagram.

No click to website. No app download. Transactions can take place start to finish in app.

With checkout, users can store their payment information with Instagram to make purchases more quickly. In return, Instagram is charging retailers a selling fee.

Sandwiched between the launch of checkout and the recent product launch reminders was the ability to shop from creators (i.e. influencers).

Providing influencers and brands with a seamless commercial offering will no doubt be a game changer for all involved.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, January 2019:

‘In Instagram, one of the areas I'm most excited about this year is commerce and shopping.

There's a lot of natural activity happening here. And this year, I expect us to deliver some qualitatively new experiences around that.’

True to Zuckerberg's word, 2019 has been a huge year of innovation for Instagram and 2020 will no doubt see even more as the platfrom booms.

As an aside, given Facebook’s gathering antitrust legal-storm, having a business model outside of ad revenue might not be a bad idea also.

Social’s Shifting Commercial Intent   

Instagram’s moves with shoppable posts (available now to all) and its checkout suite (in beta) offer a tantalising insight into the future direction of the platform.

Moreover, probably social media more broadly.

One of the main drawbacks of social media is the historically weak commercial intent users have, say relative to search marketing.

Users have generally flocked to social media for two reasons:

  1. Boredom
  2. Connection

However, with more commercial features increasingly available, especially in Instagram, users frequently go there to shop or browse.

Much as they might with Facebook Marketplace.

Layla Amjadi, product manager Instagram Shopping, Verge podcast, November 2018:

“On one end of the spectrum, we have what we call “serendipitous shopping”… in that moment, you didn’t have the intent to shop, but you were inspired to do so, and that’s the serendipitous case, that’s where we are today with shopping and feed.

You open up Instagram for a whole host of reasons, and then you’re inspired to explore more based off of the brands you’re following in your Feed.”

Given the strong “network effect” social platforms enjoy, expanding social functionality should translate into higher intent audiences, further translating into better performing marketing solutions.

Or, that’s what Instagram is hoping for, at least.

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