While Boomers and Gen X-ers are still important shoppers to the independent gourmet housewares segment, Millennials are quickly becoming the prime target for the channel.
Sarah Nicholas, owner of Virginia-based Ladles and Linens (the brand has three stores in Roanoke, Lexington and Richmond), said that she started using Instagram to reach a younger demographic of potential customers.
“Instagram is so important for your brand. We love it for many reasons, but especially because it is story-centric. Not only does it reach a lot of people, but it tells about who we are,” she said.
However, Instagram stories, which was previously not shoppable, has a higher engagement rate and captures more viewers than just the social media site’s feed itself. Now, consumers can shop directly from the stories that engage them so highly.
“No question, people love stories and especially in a mom-and-pop shop like Ladles and Linens, getting our message out in a personal way is important,” explained Nicholas.
In addition, Nicholas noted that consumers being able to buy products directly from her store by shopping the link placed in the bio section of her brand’s page has contributed to a percentage of sales she would not have seen if she didn’t use the capability — sales that have made a difference to her bottom line.
While Instagram has been good for retailers, even better has been the launch of the ability to add tags to purchase items in the site’s stories — the most engaging feature on the social media platform.
“We are strategizing right now at how to better utilize Instagram for selling products, ideas and really trying to figure out how to engage customers. We think it will get more people in our shops, increase sales and, in turn, expand our brand overall,” she said, explaining that with more than one billion active users, Instagram expands her reach beyond the state of Virginia.
Thinking about dabbling in the Instagram stories shoppable feature? Here is some information on how you can get started and some best practices to ensure you are getting the most return from your shoppable stories.
Make It Easy
Consumers who are looking at your brand are already coming for inspiration. Don’t change up the model just because they are able to purchase now. Keep the posts inspiring, light and visually stunning but do utilize tags that allow users to see more details from products featured in posts, and even click to a business’s website if they are ready to buy.
Build Your Catalog
One of the most important things that business owners will need to do is build a catalog based on the products they are looking to sell. According to the social media site, once the catalog is built, tagging products that are available for purchase is equivalent to tagging someone in a post.
To get started, retailers looking to create shoppable stories must have the account approved for shopping through Instagram. After an account is approved, retailers can tag up to five products per single-image post or 20 products per multi-image post.
However, to create shoppable posts, retailers must first create a business profile on Facebook. Through this profile, by using the social media site’s business manager, retailers can begin to build a product catalog through through Shopify or BigCommerce platforms or directly on the business’s page on Facebook.
The social media site gives businesses several different insights. This, it noted, will allow business owners to track purchase trends; how many people are interested in a product and have tapped for more information; and how relevant the content is to the user. Instagram noted that these insights are designed to create more opportunities for users to discover new products and brands on the site.