Instagram is launching its Shopping functionality in the UK, enabling businesses to tag products in their organic posts which users can them shop from seamlessly. The feature was first trialled in the US at the tail-end of 2016, and has since been rolled out to hundreds of brands in the American market.
The UK version will be trialled with three beta test partners, Marks & Spencer, luxury swimwear brand Heidi Klein and footwear brand Mahabis, which all were given special access to the Shopping functionality to experiment with creating posts.
Shopping posts on Instagram enable consumers to tap on tagged organic posts to buy a specific product directly from the brand's website, without having to search for it.
According to Instagram, the feature has been a huge success for brands in the US, with Lulus, an online clothing retailer, reporting over 1,200 orders and 100,000 websites visit attributable to Shopping to date.
"Instagram Shopping accomplishes one of the most critical tasks in a mobile shopping experience: making it easier to buy," said Shari Lott, founder & CEO of spearmintLOVE, which uses Instagram Shopping to promote its Spearmint Baby line. "With one click, our audience can learn more about our products and go directly to our site. When we launched Instagram Shopping, we experienced a 25 per cent increase in traffic and an eight per cent increase in revenue attributable to Instagram Shopping."
"People come to Instagram every day to discover and buy products from their favourite businesses," said Jim Squires, head of business at Instagram. "We want that to be a seamless experience. Whether it's a local artisan, florist or clothing store, shopping directly on Instagram has never been easier."
The feature is also rolling out to brands and retailers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, as Instagram aims to boost its ad revenues through its substantial international audience. With more than 80 per cent of users living outside the US, the expansion of Shopping offers a huge potential for increased ad spending on the platform.
"Instagram Shopping offers us the opportunity to realise the huge potential of our 760,000 followers," said Erin Roy, head of media and digital marketing at Marks & Spencer. "Instagram has always been a great platform through which to showcase our products and engage with customers. Shoppable posts take this to a whole new level. They are simple to create, easy for our customers to use and enhance the Instagram experience."