With the lifespan of 24 hours, Instagram Stories aren’t the most obvious feature for most businesses.
As a form of ephemeral content, brands have to post content more regularly and, for small businesses, it’s simply difficult to invest time and money into content that disappears in one day.
But for ecommerce brands, it’s still a critical one. Why? Let’s find it out!
Why use Instagram Stories for eCommerce
Back in 2016, when Instagram copied Snapchat’s story feature, no one could have predicted this ephemeral content would become more popular than the regular feed.
With the growing popularity of Instagram Stories, the platform rolls out features to make communication between customers and businesses more interactive.
As a result, there are four main reasons to use Instagram Stories for ecommerce:
- Reach out to your engaged customers: Instagram Stories grow 15x faster than main feeds and over 500 million people use Stories daily. In other words, this interactive content keeps users engaged, so it’s easier for brands to cut through the noise and interact with their target audiences.
- Encourage impulse buying: Instagram Stories vanish within 24 hours, so this content creates a sense of urgency that helps to encourage online selling as users take actions faster. In fact, it’s also worth taking some time to understand the relationship between social media and sleep, since most impulse buying, especially on social media, happens on a Monday night between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Make Instagram shopping easier: With the introduction of features like clickable links and product stickers, ecommerce brands have an opportunity to improve customer experience as their followers can buy products in-app. This also makes Instagram shopping easier and leads to more sales.
- Keep up with current trends: As you can see, Instagram Stories are taking the world by storm. If you use ephemeral content for business promotion, it helps to show that your brand is flexible and creative. Thus, it leads to more online visibility and sales.
Instagram Stories allow brands to create an ecommerce funnel and there’s a variety of business-specific features to create purchase intent.
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4 Great Instagram Stories Features for eCommerce Brands
Over the last few years, ecommerce marketing has transformed significantly. Now brands can use ephemeral content to turn engaged followers into customers. Moreover, there’s a variety of business-friendly features that help ecommerce brands achieve wonderful results:
1. Product stickers
To convert followers into customers on Instagram, it’s important to improve customer experience. Thus, you need to provide followers with product information so that they can make the purchase decision faster. The solution? Product stickers!
Just like shoppable posts, product stickers allow brands to choose products from your catalog and tag it in your story. Viewers can tap on it and learn more about the featured product (its description and prices) without leaving the app.
Here’s how it works in action:
2. Clickable links
The popularity of Instagram gives ecommerce brands more and more options to turn followers into customers and achieve business goals. With the introduction of clickable Story links, now you have an opportunity to convert your followers into website visitors and therefore drive organic traffic with ease.
However, you need to be verified or have 10k followers on your business profile to add clickable links. Obviously, it can take time and effort to get this opportunity, but it’s worth giving a try as your visitors would be able to tap on the link and get redirected to the right website page.
Check out how Lululemon did it:
3. Countdown sticker
The countdown sticker is a great feature for ecommerce businesses as it helps to promote time-sensitive offers and events. This feature allows interested viewers to sign up for a reminder (up to 1 year later) and get a notification.
It’s a great way to keep your audience notified on your offers and therefore make sure your customers won’t miss it. Case in point:
4. Poll & quiz stickers
Poll and quiz stickers are two interactive features that help ecommerce brands communicate with their potential customers and collect customer feedback with ease. At first blush, it seems that posting these stickers isn’t the best idea for ecommerce brands that want to boost sales.
But it’s proven that quizzes help to increase sales. When done right, not only can you spark interest in your products, but you can also provide participants with the information on your products that serves as a product recommendation.
Here’s an example of using the quiz sticker:
Now that you realize the power of Instagram Stories for ecommerce, let’s draw inspiration from the best brands.
8 Best Brands Use Instagram Stories for eCommerce the Right Way
#1. GAP: Showcase Your Products
When it comes to Instagram shopping, users don’t have a possibility to see or touch products in reality, so it’s important to showcase your collections from all sides so that customers can make the purchase decision.
If you use Instagram Stories for ecommerce, you still need to showcase your products and GAP knows how to do it the right way. In honor of the ‘Stand United’ campaign launch, the company has created a series of Instagram Stories posts to raise awareness of the inequality problem and showcase its products.
The company also uses other ways to showcase its products and some of them include:
- Upload product photos
- Share posts from the feed to stories
- Feature fan-made content
To help the best Stories live permanently on the profile, GAP uses Instagram Story Highlights to group and save product information in one place, right below the bio section. It helps visitors and followers discover relevant content with ease:
#2. Cluse: Announce a New Product Launch
No matter how good your product is, you need to launch more and more options from time to time. The more products you have, the more you can sell as it helps to retain your existing customers and attract new ones.
If you work on a new product launch, learn from Cluse and cause a buzz around your products to build anticipation with short-lived Stories. Not only did Cluse use Instagram Stories to announce a product launch, but the company also used the countdown sticker so that potential customers could find out more about your new products in time:
Debuting a new product can be daunting, so it’s important to start your promotion on time. Thus, you may need to use Instagram automation tools to determine the right timing and schedule the promotion.
#3. H&M: Show Your Products in Action
To ease the worried mind of potential customers and encourage them to buy from you, show your products in action. Since Instagram Stories are limited to 15 seconds, it’s a good idea to create several videos and post them. Not only can it tell your viewers more about the featured products, but it can also boost user engagement.
According to one research, vertical videos are extremely popular among users as 94% of people hold their phones vertically and one in five Instagram Stories from brands generate a direct message from a potential customer.
For example, H&M knows that people buy solutions not problems, so the company often uses this strategy and creates short videos that tell viewers how to use the products:
To show your products in action, you can create explainer or tutorial videos, upload real-life photos of your product, or invite your loyal customers to share their customer feedback with your followers through reviews or testimonials.
#4. BaliBody: Share Time-Limited Offers and Discounts
For ecommerce marketers, it’s no surprise that offers and discounts drive sales. Moreover, 40% of people follow brands on social media to get access to exclusive deals and offers and 92% of customers always look for deals when shopping online.
To make the most out of the FOMO effect, share time-limited offers and discounts via Instagram Stories. Being limited to 24 hours, this content type encourages viewers to take action faster.
Let’s take BaliBody, for example. Not only does the company share its limited offers via Stories to cause a buzz around it, but BaliBody also attracts international customers as it shows how much consumers can save in various markets:
To spread the word about your sale campaign, invest in Instagram promotion so that you can reach more potential customers. The more people see your offer, the more you can sell. What is more, interested users can help you gain visibility as they are more likely to recommend your product to their friends and family.
#5. Lulus: Leverage Influencer Marketing
Today, common people can share their views and values with the following and attract an army of like-minded people. The number of Instagram influencers is growing and people trust their recommendations as much as their friends and families. For ecommerce brands, this means an opportunity to enter an already-established community and spread the word about their products. Simply put, working with influencers has become one of the most effective ecommerce marketing strategies for many brands.
Lulus knows the power of influencer marketing, so it’s no wonder that the company invites influencers to become brand ambassadors. To avoid clogging the main feed up with content, Lulus shares influencer endorsements via Instagram Stories, just like in the example below:
When doing product reviews in stories, not only do they provide potential customers with social proof, but they also help Lulus boost ecommerce sales as influencers often add a clickable link to featured products.
As you can see, influencer marketing helps to reach a wider audience, increase brand loyalty and trust, and even boost sales. However, it can be daunting for brands to develop your influencer marketing strategy and find relevant influencers.
To make the process easier, you can rely on influencer marketing agencies who can find relevant opinion leaders who meet your brand identity well and help you establish a connection with them.
#6. Clek: Feature Customer Testimonials
To increase sales, you need to prove to potential customers that your product is worth giving a try. Since modern consumers have a great variety of options, they always choose brands that have a good reputation among customers. In fact, 82% of people read online reviews during the discovery phase.
Since Instagrammers use the platform for product discovery, it’s a good idea to feature customer feedback. For example, Clek always monitors customer feedback and repurposes reviews into Instagram Stories. With Highlight albums, not only does the company avoid spamming its followers, but it also makes this content permanent.
Check out how it looks like:
But if your brand isn’t popular, it can be difficult to encourage your customers to leave their reviews on your website or social media. Thus, it’s important to be proactive and reach out to customers to invite them to share their thoughts in exchange for incentives like gift cards, discounts, or brand freebies.
For example, you can use an email account finder to connect with your customers via email. If you have a live chat on your website, ask customer support representatives to invite customers to fill out short customer satisfaction surveys where they can share their feedback.
#7. Levi’s: Understand Your Customers’ Better
No matter how good your product is, this means nothing unless you have potential customers who want to buy from you. Acquiring new customers matters, but retaining customers is even more important as you understand their thoughts on your product.
Once people have used your product, you can interact with them to learn more about customer experience and therefore improve your product. Not only does it help to improve customer satisfaction, but it also boosts sales.
There are many strategies on how to understand your customers better and Levi’s has tested most of them. Here’s how Levi’s uses Instagram Stories to announce its Q&A session and give interested viewers a chance to set up a reminder with the countdown sticker:
Q&A sessions help to understand what bothers your audience and provide customers with prompt responses. But not all companies can afford to run Q&A sessions.
Luckily, you can still find customer communication strategies that work best for your company and help you understand your audience better. For example, you can include polls, quiz or question stickers to see your customer preferences, collect customer feedback, and test customer engagement.
#8. Hapa Kristin: Run Paid Ad Campaigns
Instagram Stories are popular among users, so people create many stories daily. Since Instagram prioritizes content from friends and family, it can be difficult for brands to cut through the noise and ensure their followers see their Stories. However, you can always rely on paid ad campaigns. Moreover, 96% of marketers plan to keep on using Instagram Stories ads, so this means Stories ads are effective.
The best thing about Instagram Stories ads is that you can choose the right objectives and make the most out of features that help you achieve your business goals. Let’s take Hapa Kristin, for example. When the company decided to reach a wider audience, it created an Instagram Stories ad campaign with unique brand GIFs and promoted its sale.
As a result, the campaign reached 17% more people and got 50% more landing page views, 33% lower cost per landing page view, 1.3X increase in click-through rate in comparison with the campaign without GIF stickers.
Obviously, it’s still important to create stunning Instagram ads to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of potential customers. With the right graphic design tools, you can choose from the variety of templates, customize them, and make ads that meet your brand identity and style.
With the growing popularity of Instagram Stories, this ephemeral content offers a variety of options for eCommerce brands. Whether you want to understand your audience better or increase in-app sales on Instagram, there are many Instagram Stories features that help your business achieve the right goals. In short, it’s high time to bring your eCommerce business to the next level with Instagram Stories, so don’t miss this opportunity.
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Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist behind MC2 Bid4Papers who also works as a freelance SMM manager. With over 7 years of digital marketing experience, Hugh often writes about Instagram marketing, email marketing, and business growth.