The Rise of Social Commerce - How Instagram is Leading the Way


Instagram continues to leverage its reputation and is experiencing great success with over 3 billion users, of which 500 million people use the app daily. Since Instagram added social commerce features to the app in 2019, the total social commerce (in-app sales on social media) market grew to 51.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 and it’s projected to reach 145.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2028

 That’s a fantastic opportunity for businesses with social media platforms. But recent changes to the social commerce interface have triggered rumours that Instagram was pulling back from social commerce. 

In fact, they’ve simply shuffled around certain functions. They’ve learned that people don’t go to Instagram to shop - they just enjoy friction-free shopping while they're there. All in all, Instagram social commerce is here to stay.

Click on each corresponding link to jump ahead: 

  1. Introducing Social Commerce on Instagram 
  2. Social Commerce Functionality on Instagram 
  3. The Benefits of Social Commerce on Instagram 
  4. Why is Instagram Such a Successful Platform for Sales?

If you are looking to begin your journey with social commerce on Instagram, contact us! We are more than happy to help.



1. Introducing Social Commerce on Instagram


Experience the true benefits of social commerce on Instagram.


The main benefit of social commerce on Instagram is that it is easy for users to find out everything they want to know about a product and then purchase that product. There are no roadblocks in the customer journey. People seamlessly move from product discovery to purchase without jumping to external payment platforms or the brand’s website. 

Social selling began when marketers used social media to develop relationships as part of the sales process. But social commerce differs from social selling in that every stage of the e-commerce customer journey gets executed exclusively on the social media app. Customers come for the social feed but stay for the shopping because they never have to leave the platform to make a purchase. 

Social commerce functionality removes the annoyance of stopping mid-purchase to create an account or jump to an external website. Simply put, the easier you make the purchasing process, the more you sell. 

Social commerce happens mainly on mobile phones, not computers, which makes it highly accessible. Also, more people are using a mobile VPN to encrypt their financial transactions, which is yet another benefit of mobile app purchasing. We’ve reached a significant milestone here because, for the first time since e-commerce became mainstream, businesses don’t need a website to sell their products online.

Instagram appears to be consolidating everything they’ve learned about social commerce to further improve. It's too good an opportunity to miss! But Instagram social commerce is not available worldwide, and other social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are catching up. Diversifying your social commerce efforts across multiple platforms is a good idea.


2. Social Commerce Functionality on Instagram


Social commerce on Instagram is extremely user-friendly.


Instagram’s social commerce functionality is built on a few key features that enhance the shopping experience and enable businesses to sell products directly on the platform. Here are the main features: 

  • Product Tags: Product tags allow businesses to tag their products in posts, stories, and reels. Users can click on these tags to view additional information, such as product descriptions, pricing, and a direct link to the product page. Product tags make it easy for users to discover and purchase products they're interested in without leaving the Instagram app.
  • Shoppable Posts: Shoppable posts are regular Instagram feed posts that feature product tags. Businesses can create visually appealing posts showcasing their products and tag them with product details. When users see a post with tagged products, they can tap on the tags to view more information and make a purchase. Shoppable posts seamlessly blend content and commerce, turning Instagram into a virtual storefront.
  • Shoppable Stories: Shoppable stories function similarly to shoppable posts but within the Instagram Stories format. Businesses can add product stickers or swipe-up links to their stories, allowing users to access product information and make purchases directly from the story. Shoppable stories are highly engaging and time-limited, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging immediate action.
  • Shopping Explore Tab: The Shopping Explore tab on Instagram is dedicated to showcasing personalized product recommendations to users. It features a curated collection of products and brands based on user preferences, past engagements, and browsing history. By leveraging algorithms, Instagram presents users with relevant product suggestions, enhancing the product discovery experience.
  • Instagram Checkout: Instagram Checkout is a feature that allows users to complete their purchases directly within the Instagram app. When users find a product they want to buy, they can proceed to checkout without leaving the platform. Instagram securely stores user payment information, making future purchases even more convenient. This streamlined checkout process reduces friction and increases conversion rates.
  • Shopping on IGTV: IGTV is Instagram's long-form video platform. With the shopping on IGTV feature, businesses can tag products in their IGTV videos. When users watch an IGTV video and see a product they're interested in, they can tap on the product tags to access additional information and make a purchase. Shopping on IGTV integrates commerce seamlessly into video content, creating a more immersive shopping experience.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Instagram's social commerce leverages the power of influencers. Influencers with large followings and engaged audiences can partner with brands to promote their products through sponsored posts or stories. These influencers can tag the products they're promoting, making it easier for their followers to discover and purchase those products. Influencer collaborations drive product awareness, credibility, and can significantly boost sales.

These key features of Instagram's social commerce ecosystem work together to provide a seamless and engaging shopping experience for users. They enable businesses to showcase their products, facilitate product discovery, and simplify the buying process, ultimately driving sales and enhancing brand-consumer interactions.


3. The Benefits of Social Commerce on Instagram


Social commerce is changing the online shopping experience!


Social commerce comes very close to mimicking the experience of a brick-and-mortar shop. What we mean by this is that customers can get direct assistance via the app, an experience similar to asking store assistants for help. That’s one factor that turns customer engagement into sales on Instagram.

There are many other benefits of social commerce on Instagram, such as: 

  • Seamless Shopping Experience: Social commerce on Instagram offers a streamlined shopping experience. Businesses can create a visually appealing and interactive storefront by showcasing their products through photos, videos, and carousel posts. Users can explore product catalogues, read descriptions, and make purchases without leaving the app. This convenience encourages impulse buying and enhances the overall shopping experience.
  • Expanded Reach: Instagram is a highly popular social media platform with over a billion active users. By leveraging social commerce, businesses can tap into this vast user base and reach a wider audience. This increased exposure can lead to more brand visibility, customer engagement, and ultimately, more sales.
  • Enhanced Product Discovery: Instagram's social nature facilitates product discovery. Users can discover new products through various means, such as influencers, friends, and explore pages. Additionally, Instagram's algorithm analyzes user preferences and behaviour to display personalized recommendations, making it easier for businesses to showcase their offerings to interested customers.
  • Shoppable Features: Instagram provides several shoppable features that enable businesses to tag products in their posts, stories, and reels. These tags allow users to click on the products and view additional information, such as pricing and descriptions. By providing a direct link to the product page, businesses can seamlessly guide users toward making a purchase, reducing friction in the buying process.
  • User-Generated Content: Instagram's social commerce encourages user-generated content (UGC), where customers share their experiences and reviews. UGC is highly influential in building trust and credibility for products and brands. When users see positive UGC related to a product they're interested in, they are more likely to make a purchase. Social commerce on Instagram facilitates the sharing and discovery of UGC, further boosting sales and brand loyalty.
  • Insights and Analytics: Instagram provides businesses with valuable insights and analytics related to their social commerce efforts. These insights include data on impressions, engagement, click-through rates, and conversions. By analyzing these metrics, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and purchasing patterns, allowing them to optimize their marketing strategies and drive better results.
  • Targeted Advertising: With social commerce on Instagram, businesses can leverage the platform's advanced targeting capabilities to reach their desired audience more effectively. Instagram's ad platform provides options for demographic targeting, interest-based targeting, and retargeting based on user interactions. This level of precision ensures that businesses can display their products to users who are more likely to be interested and make a purchase.

Overall, social commerce on Instagram offers businesses an opportunity to leverage the platform's immense user base, visual appeal, and social nature to drive sales, increase brand awareness, and enhance the shopping experience for their customers.


4. Why is Instagram Such a Successful Platform for Sales?


Work with the experts at Relevantly and experience revenue from social media.


Instagram has always been a trendsetter and has been quick to leverage its high-end aesthetics, visual nature, powerful influencer marketing contingent, and reputation for glamorized content to cement itself as a leader in the social commerce landscape. More recently, it has revolutionized the concept of social commerce by seamlessly integrating e-commerce functionality with social engagement.

But, apart from its large following, you may be wondering why Instagram is such a successful platform for sales. One of the main reasons why is that Instagram is good at selling a feeling. Furthermore, Instagram also offers: 

  • Visual Appeal: Instagram is primarily a visual platform, focusing on photos and videos. This visual nature makes it ideal for showcasing products in an engaging and aesthetically pleasing manner. Businesses can leverage high-quality imagery and creative visuals to capture the attention of users and showcase their products in the best light, leading to increased interest and sales.
  • Influencer Marketing: Instagram has a thriving influencer community that has a significant impact on consumer behaviour. Influencers are individuals with large followings who can sway the purchasing decisions of their followers. Brands often collaborate with influencers to promote their products through sponsored posts and stories, leveraging their influence and credibility. This influencer marketing strategy on Instagram drives product awareness, generates trust, and leads to increased sales.
  • Shoppable Features: Instagram has introduced various shoppable features like product tags, shoppable posts, and shoppable stories, allowing businesses to seamlessly integrate e-commerce functionalities into their Instagram presence. These features enable users to discover products, view product details, and make purchases directly within the app. The convenience and ease of use provided by these shoppable features reduce barriers to purchase and encourage impulse buying.
  • Personalized Recommendations: Instagram's algorithm analyzes user behaviour, preferences, and engagement patterns to deliver personalized content to users. This includes targeted product recommendations based on user's interests and past interactions. By tailoring the content users see on their feeds and explore pages, Instagram increases the likelihood of users discovering products that align with their preferences, thereby boosting sales for businesses.

Overall, Instagram provides businesses with the tools and opportunities to showcase their products, engage with their target audience, and drive conversions, leading to increased sales and revenue.

If you are looking to take full advantage of Instagram's extensive user base and social commerce landscape, contact us today.