6/29/2018 - #culture-web #ecommerce #marketing


Over the last ten years, social media has impacted the way companies choose to expand its eCommerce. Today’s upward trend is social commerce: when users search for advice on goods and services from other users before making purchases online.

Therefore, more and more companies turn their selling strategy towards commercially exploitable social networks. Consequently, these platforms have to adapt to this changing demand and that is what Instagram did. It is difficult to miss this place filled with perfect images, where everything seems beautiful and idyllic. Nevertheless, unavoidable partnerships and sponsored publications convert the dream cloud into a business.



“9 surfers out of 10 say they are being influenced by advice they read on the Internet”*

First of all, let’s go back to when digitization was not ruling our lives and purchasing goods and services from home was not an option. Shopping was then a shared experience between people. Today, with social media we rediscover this social aspect where people interact before purchasing, even if it is no longer a physical interaction.

Instagram, known as the “king of social interaction”, attracts loyal and easily influenced consumers. 800 million committed users regularly visit the platform, convinced that they are going to get inspired by their favourite brands or influencers. More and more firms realize the potential growth of mobile commerce, or m-commerce, involving social media. This platform seems to be a fertile ground for a commercial strategy using the great persuasive power of images.

Instagram seized this opportunity and, in March 2018, finally launched the awaited button that transforms an “I would love to have this product” into an “I can have it with one click”. Yes, I am referring to the click-to-buy button from the new shoppable posts on Instagram. The platform is willing to improve and upgrade user online shopping experience. However, it is not a fresh new idea from Instagram’s headquarters. Other social media already tried stepping into eCommerce in the past few years. In 2015, Pinterest started the trend followed by Google, Twitter and Facebook, without necessarily being a success. Despite other social networks’ failures, Instagram has remained confident and strongly believes in its shopping function’s success. In 2016, they had already announced the desire to turn Instagram into a m-commerce platform. After several months of testing with American brands, this project met the world in March 2018 with the launch of the shopping feature in 8 different countries. From now on, instead of tagging our friends and family, we are able to tag products with the price in place of the users’ name.

“This means I will be able to sell products via my personal Instagram account?”

For the moment, this feature is only available for brands and business accounts which have a Facebook page with a catalogue of the products sold. Thus only accounts with commercial purposes can benefit from this click-to-buy option, and this with a few steps. Users who click on the famous “shop now” button will first see an informative page about the product and other similar products suggested. Then, with another click they will land on the official brand website, directly on the product they have chosen. That will allow firms to expand their business and generate supplementary sales.

If you thought Instagram would stop there you were wrong. Within a few months, they announced a follow-up in the form of an integrated payment system which allows users to purchase directly from the platform. Buying products without leaving the app? For the moment it only involves cinema seats or hair appointments, but the development of this feature could turn Instagram into a fearsome eCommerce platform. Instagram norms are changing progressively and, other than its entertainment function, it is becoming a way to grow a business.

“A promising e-commerce actor?”

The experience of other social media with eCommerce clearly shows that users are not easy to convince. The challenge is to find the perfect balance between the raw, C to C Instagram and this new opportunity that the platform offers to merchants. As a matter of fact, if this opportunity is not well-handled it could have the opposite effect, and not only harm companies’ image but also that of Instagram. Brands cannot simply convert all posts into commercial offers and expect a consequent growth of sales. Turning the visual content network into a catalogue would be a big mistake. In order to keep a loyal community professionals need to find the “happy middle” and not overwhelm users.

With such fast progress we wonder whether Instagram is going to take over eCommerce and replace leaders such as Asos or Amazon. In the coming years, online business could certainly be transformed by this growing competition, but it is still too fresh to view it as a disruption of today’s online shopping practices. Mobile commerce being in constant growth, more and more users will switch to the smaller screen when purchasing online. Moreover, such a buying option which redirects to the official website saves consumers’ time, and who would not want to speed up the purchasing process?

Users are still far from being ready to change their online purchasing habits and turn their backs on their favourite online stores. Nevertheless, with permanent and ongoing progress in the digital world, trends tend to change very fast and so do users’ tastes and opinions.

So, as a user, what are your thoughts on Instagram’s new face?

Author: Milena Vilaseca Malé 

*source: http://www.culturecrossmedia.com/social-commerce-est-ce-lavenir-du-e-commerce-2/

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