What Instagram’s Launch of @shop Means for Business

Nowadays, social media and ecommerce go hand in hand, and so it’s no surprise that Instagram recently launched @shop - a curated account featuring the community’s trending brands. All of @shop’s posts are, well, shoppable of course.

Why @shop?

In Instagram’s words, @shop “is a new account created for our community of people who love to shop, brought to you by the team at Instagram.” The community of shoppers is Instagram’s one billion active users, and the account (though curated by staff members) is led by this community’s trends in beauty, fashion, home and more.

@shop provides Instagram’s larger user base the opportunity to learn about emerging brands in a way that seamlessly marries social media discovery to ecommerce. The posts on @shop tell stories of brands and founders in an organic and relatable way, offering an inside look into their businesses.

Some of @shop’s featured brands include:

  • Brightland, a hand-sourced, authentic olive oil brand that’s built on transparency

  • Sage & Salt, a bewitching line of candles, salts, and signature Smokeless Smudge made “with intention and ceremony”

  • WWAKE, dainty jewelry known for using opals sourced in Australia

  • Susan Alexandra, the eponymous bright, fun, NYC-based accessories line

@shop arrived shortly after Instagram introduced Checkout - a feature that allows people to purchase directly through Instagram without ever having to leave the app. 

Checkout saves customers’ billing and shipping information after their first purchase, and sends shipping information right through the platform. It’s a win-win for both Instagram and brands, as it allows users to make an easy transaction that doesn’t interfere with their content consumption.

Instagram’s Checkout is available to a few select (generally well-known) brands and influencers (“creators”) at this time, including:

  • Adidas

  • Aimee Song

  • Isabel Bedoya

  • Kim Kardashian West

  • Kylie Cosmetics

  • Net-a-Porter

  • NYX Cosmetics

  • Prada

  • Refinery 29

  • Uniqlo

  • Vogue

  • Warby Parker

What it Means for Business

So, how can businesses that don’t have the Checkout feature can use @shop to inform their strategies? It all comes down to relationships.

Think about what your audience might want to learn about you and your business - and tell them. Showing your human side as you share your passions can help you build meaningful connections with your customers and foster lasting relationships. Just as @shop shares the stories of emerging brands, you too, can control the story of your business through your own social platforms and your site’s user experience.

Here are some ways you can offer a more personal look at your business in order to help your customers feel more connected to you and what you do:

  • Introduce your team; this allows your customers to get to know the people behind the brand.

  • Let your followers participate in decision-making; give them the chance to vote on a color or pattern for an item in production.

  • Make it easy for them to learn about your products, either through social media captions or a direct link to clearly-written product pages.

  • Think about what you feel are the most important parts of your story, and just tell them.

Tying it Together

Instagram’s launch of @shop demonstrates just how important storytelling and community are to the ecommerce experience - and the fact that the account has accumulated more than 100 thousand followers in just two months shows that people are willing to come along for the ride.

Rachael Doukas