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80% of Top500 slow to adopt new Instagram shopping feature – hats off to M&S, ScrewFix, New Look and Miss Selfridge for being first

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A new feature aimed at helping retailers to drive traffic to their e-commerce platforms, has been ignored by more than 80% of retailers in its first week, new research by retail technology firm, Cybertill, has revealed.

Instagram rolled out its Shopping feature to business accounts in the United Kingdom, as well as Germany France, Italy Brazil, Canada, Spain and Australia last week, yet just 8% of UK brands have made use of the photo tags which drives followers to buy the Instagrammed-goods online.

The feature now allows users to tap tags and see prices, then link through to the retailer’s website, with the help of a brand new “Shop Now” button. Previously, users would have been directed to a ’Link in bio’ – disrupting the user journey.

Yet, despite the roll-out becoming available to those signed up as Instagram business account users and with product catalogues on March 20th, data compiled by Cybertill shows little uptake in this progressive new addition to the image-led social media platform.

According to the study, only 8% of UK brands have made use of Instagram Shopping including New Look, Screwfix, Miss Selfridge and River Island. None of the top 5 retailers in the UK including ASOS, ASDA, Tesco, Argos, Next have yet enabled the feature.

Of the retailers that don’t have the Instagram Shopping feature enabled, 7% encourage the consumer to go in-store, 19% encourage consumers to click the link in the retailer’s Instagram bio, 19% encourage the consumer to search for product code on the website, the rest don’t actively promote ‘buy’ calls to action from Instagram.

M&S and Topshop were two of the first retailers to enable the feature out of the top 50.

Ian Tomlinson, CEO of Cybertill says: “Retailers shouldn’t be precious about selling channels. Smart retailers move quickly to offer consumers what they want, when they want it. Experiential retailing is essential to winning over hearts and minds of consumers. Instagram is about as experiential as e-commerce can get. Instagram has always been a very good platform for selling, without the tools to do so effectively. That’s all changed now and retailers need to get with the program, or else be left behind.”

This is backed up by research by Tryzens, who’s CEO Andy Burton says: “Our research suggests that 85 per cent of millennials reach for their smartphones first when making purchases via the internet, and with 500 million people using Instagram each day, the market potential for retailers to capitalise on this move is huge. By working with Instagram, retailers will be able to reach the largest possible audience, who can purchase an item in a matter of seconds due to advancements in simplified payments on websites from the likes of Apple Pay, Android Pay, and PayPal.”

However, warns Burton, when looking to the future, retailers should consider the potential strain on their marketing stack a large volume of Instagram visits/purchases can have.

“As more celebrities and influencers start featuring products, a curated Instagram feed is set to become an essential ‘converting’ marketing channel,” he says. “In the fast-paced world of social media, where a posts’ lifespan can only be a few hours long, being agile enough to monetise on the value of a post is key. There are a number of specialist content 3rd parties that allow online retailers to elevate Instagram posts by making them part of their live site imminently, thus further taking advantage of the buyable post feature.”

This week Shopify has extended its support to encompass the new Instagram feature, allowing merchants to sell directly to consumers through product tagging. This allows shoppers to discover and purchase products all within the app itself, shortening the path to purchase.

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