Most people, myself included, check and re-check prices online before making a purchase. The usual suspects come to mind. Check Amazon for everything first and if it is a specialized item try and find a website that pertains to that. An example may be B&H Photo in New York for photography gear or Newegg for computer accessories.
Just last week I was swiping through Instagram and noticed that more and more postings contain “view shop” or tagged goods directly on the photo. What did this mean? I could see a photo of a necktie or shirt, click on it and instantly be transported to that companies website to make a purchase. Talk about instant gratification. However, I realized that something else was going on. Not only could In buy that exact item, but the transaction was going through Instagram as a vehicle for a point of sale purchase. Insta was handling the transaction and offering a 20% discount and free shipping for trying their e-commerce platform.
Now, is Instagram and e-commerce platform? I though I was just perusing merchandise beautifully photographed or short videos on Reels of homemade or professional fashion shows. New cars are also fun to look at and learn about new designs and features. I could click on any one of these things and make a purchase. Even the car for about $97,000 was listed as a buy item on Instagram shopping. It truly was remarkable.
According to research from this year, over 130 million people are tapping on Instagram Shopping. The most popular categories are: beauty, health, fitness, travel, fashion, lifestyle, business and animals. Is there anything left? That is a broad product market. For 2022 it is predicted that beauty, fashion and lifestyle will be the cornerstones of Instagram Shopping.
At SUITCAFE, my own menswear fashion brand, I just recently set up Instagram Shopping via Facebook. Yes, you need Facebook since the shopping catalog is set up on Facebook and integrated across platforms. Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 Billion dollars in 2012 when they had only 13 employees. The business world thought Zucks was crazy to spend that kind of cash. Low and behold Instagram is worth a cool $102 Billion today. That is more than Nike, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Netflix, and General Motors. I guess Mark Zuckerberg saw something many of us did not.
The service from Instagram and Facebook also works with video. Not just recorded video to showcase products, but with live video too. What to show when going on Facebook live with a catalog of goods? Facebook has set up an amazing interface where the speaker on camera can choose when to pull up and new item that they want to showcase. A small square photo emerges with the price inside of the live video. It is clickable and the watchers can immediately buy the product. This is “instant” shopping and eliminates a key step when shopping on Amazon, the search. How many hours does one spend searching on Amazon for the correct item or the right seller? With Instagram Shopping the experience is more seamless and always on the phone. A few taps and you’re done, item on the way.
Remember when I say sometime soon there will be reports of Instagram shopping cutting into Amazon shopping. I wrote an article here a while back about the Periscope app and how it will change many things. It was the first live streaming app accessible to anyone. Twitter absorbed its technology and Twitter Live is what Periscope used to be. I was an original Periscoper streaming live from my phone in NYC. Now most social apps have a live stream component. Look at the biggest, Tik Tok. Its massive streaming audience live and recorded has taken over and given Instagram and Facebook a good bit of competition.
Amazon is certainly the king in market share and infrastructure when it comes to online shopping. It will take time for Instagram and Facebook to catch up. As the title of my new podcast, “It’s All been Done Before” states, it only takes someone to come along and do what you do better or different to take a chunk of customers away. Stay sharp people, you can do the same. Do something better than the competition and it could be a great success.