Dr. Maggie Jordan
Instagram + Ecommerce: What’s in Store?
Scroll through your phone as soon as you wake-up? Kill time in line at the store by browsing photos on Instagram? Let your food go cold at a Restaurant, so you can rearrange the silverware to get the perfect shot for Instagram? No? Don’t lie to me. We’ve all done it. Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, our lives have become mobile centric. We are always seconds away from answering a question, making a connection, or killing time thanks to our phones and social media.
One of the most popular social media platforms currently in use is Instagram. Launched in 2010, the Instagram is a video and photo sharing platform has caught like wildfire. It’s the perfect vessel to share a curated, high-resolution version of your life or brand. And with the advent of Instagram Stories (short, ephemeral content) Instagram has reported that they currently have one billion monthly users (Constine, J. pg. 1).
As a visual heavy platform it seems to lend itself the best to supporting a e-commerce structure. Even if you don’t consider yourself an avid shopper, you have to give recognition to Instagram for capitalizing on the fact that 78% of people will most likely research a product/services via their mobile device before making a purchase. What better way to kill two birds with one stone then to introduce a curated version of your brand to a potential customer on their phone and provide them a seamless purchase experience by being able to purchase directly via their app?
For verified e-commerce brands, Instagram has allowed them to set-up shoppable posts/stories with direct links to their product catalog. And with the success of this feature, brands reporting increased traffic and conversions as a result, it was not a surprise to me when I read recently that Instagram plans to rollout an standalone ecommerce app. And apparently they are in the early stages of a beta version of this platform.
While I think Instagram and ecommerce are a natural fit, I felt like a standalone app felt redundant and seemed like it would be almost in direct competition with Instagram itself. My fear is that with Facebook’s acquisition and with Instagrams two original founders leaving that this innovation might have a negative impact on Instagram overall.
When I talk to colleagues, friends, and even family members a consistent thread always appears-Facebook has become overwhelming. And I would hate to see that same narrative playout for Instagram. To my classmates, do you think that a standalone app focused solely on shopping is smart move for Instagram overall or unnecessary? What do you think are the pros and cons? Leave a comment below!