Instagram’s aggressive push into the ecommerce segment looks unlikely to reverse anytime soon. This morning, the Facebook subsidiary announced the launch of a new feature that pops up a notification when upcoming products become available. Via new stickers in Stories and tags in the Instagram feed, users can set reminders for a launch date and preview the product’s details ahead of time.
Instagram has the reach to more than justify such shopping ventures. More than a billion people use the network every month, with over 500 million using it every day. And according to some third-party studies, more than a third have used their smartphone to purchase a product online, making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users.
“With more of … shopping moments happening on Instagram, we wanted to make it easier for people to discover and follow upcoming product launches from brands and creators they love,” wrote Instagram in a blog post. “Brands and creators connect with shoppers eager to have those products the instant they’re available. The convergence of these activities make Instagram the place where collaborations and limited releases happen.”
The feature is currently in beta, with a limited number of brands participating. Here’s the full list:
- Anastasia Beverly Hills
- Chinatown Market
- Fresh Prince
- Huda Beauty
- Michael Kors
- Mr. Porter
- Outdoor Voices
- Soul Cycle
- Warby Parker
The product notifier complements Instagram Checkout, which launched earlier this year. With Checkout, users can view products from a brand’s past shopping post, select from various options such as size or color, and proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. The app saves relevant info like names, emails, and shipping addresses, and it helpfully delivers notifications about shipment and delivery.
Instagram more recently debuted Shop the Look from creators, which enables users to tag products in their posts. Both creators and tagged brands receive shared insights within the social network, including detailed analytics about the performance of shopping posts.
Prior to the launch of Checkout, Facebook published a report indicating that 87% of users take action after seeing product information on Instagram and that 83% discover new products or services through it. Furthermore, it suggested a whopping 46% of those people subsequently make a purchase online or off.
In any case, the market opportunity is far larger than that of Instagram’s current bread and butter — display advertising. In 2018, U.S. retail ecommerce sales totaled $513.6 billion, up 14.2% year-over-year. On the other hand, U.S. ad sales were about half that, totaling $207 billion in 2018.
Instagram is evidently making inroads. As of 2018, it reported that 200 million users visited one of the 25 million business profiles on Instagram at least once per day.