As consumer behavior continues to evolve in response to social distancing, several brands stand out on Instagram as they create content that inspires, provide useful and relevant information to their followers, and deliver experiences that spark action.
Consumer behavior is going through a massive transformation. Given the state of the globe and economy, these changes will most likely extend over the long term. We can expect an increase in demand for online shopping and home delivery, as well as higher expectations for customer service, delivery speed, communication, and virtual experiences, not to mention tech integrations to facilitate the purchase process. For eCommerce brands – smaller businesses, in particular – the Instagram platform could be a good option to meet these needs.
Instagramers may head to the platform to connect, catch up, and share, but a study by Ipsos shows that over 80% also use the platform to discover, research, and make purchase decisions. Businesses that are primed to succeed are those that think about their audience’s needs first and integrate brand and product content when it adds value. They create content for the phases of the social shopper journey, which may include answering FAQs and providing product information. They also showcase their personality, share their story, provide entertainment, and create on and offline experiences that resonate with their audiences. Several brands, big and small, have already accepted the challenge, and are continuously adapting their strategies to stay relevant and top of mind for their communities.
Seven brands with engaging Instagram shopper experiences:
Ask your customers
Warby Parker has been asking their followers to submit their questions via Instagram Stories. They then publish the answers in Stories in a fun and relatable way. It helps the brand better understand their audience’s needs while adding value. This content may be seen by potential or current customers, but also by new visitors who could be looking for a fresh pair of frames.
The Goodfood brand has always been open and honest. And, during these trying times, they continue to be even more thankful, helpful, and reassuring to their community. This builds trust and credibility for their current and future customers. When local businesses were scheduled to reopen, they posted their safety protocols in a very human way: telling a story, thanking frontline people, sharing how they are protecting their staff and customers, showing how they are in fact a family, and introducing us to the people who are going that extra mile. Thank you, Goodfood!
Encourage off-line experiences
People are bored. Others need a distraction. Others need to stay fit. Whatever their personal situation, people crave experiences, conversation, human connection, and being part of something beyond the virtual. Adidas identified a need, leveraged their professional network and created the #hometeam complete with regularly scheduled videos, and a related challenge starting May 29, encouraging people to stay active. And when you visit their site you can easily sign up, access their apps, and see what they’re doing for their communities.
Our world is heading to a place of immediate gratification. But good things are worth waiting for and when you create anticipation, it creates excitement, which can also generate buzz. PipRobins, a small business owner out of Toronto who makes and sells handbags and accessories. She put her business on hold in mid-March to make reusable masks using a “pay what you can” model. She uses counter stickers in Instagram Stories and ”first dibs rules” in her posts, as she has limited quantities. This is also a great way to drive interest and curiosity!
Share your story
Priya Krishna from Bon Appétit Magazine makes roti with her mom on Instagram Stories. She’s sharing something from her home life when many of us miss our families. Not only is it relatable, but the recipe is quite simple and relevant – and maybe a little more exciting than the sourdough recipe du jour that everyone else is making! I love how they include some of the family banter, and captions for accessibility. Bon Appétit is not known as an eCommerce brand, however, they do have an Instagram shopping tab with cool merch for their foodie fan club.
Embrace your community
Elena, a restaurant in Montreal created two cookbooks in support of the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief fund. Not only did they provide their community with amazing recipes, but they also collaborated with neighboring chefs, all in support of a cause that is personally apropos. Many of the restaurant’s followers, local restaurants and participating chefs shared personal stories, photos, and videos on the social network. To date, they have raised $50,000 and counting.
Entertain, entertain, entertain!
Levi’s leveraged its music industry connections to bring the “5:01 Live” program to life on Instagram. Each week an artist performs live from their home in support of charities like Music Cares, Coronavirus Relief Fund, and the Global Citizen/ WHO’s Solidarity Response. Some of the singers included Snoop Dogg, Justine Skye, and Jaden Smith.
Brands of all sizes are leveraging Instagram to reach, connect, and communicate with their customers through visually driven content strategies. Although some retailers have already integrated their product catalogs on the platform, the soon to be released Instagram Shop will provide even more opportunity for a streamlined in-app purchase process. As consumer behavior continues to evolve, combining a well-executed content strategy with social commerce integrations can significantly improve the overall shopper experience, so that brands may reduce their chances of getting ghosted at checkout.
Joelle recently spoke about social commerce at #SMWONE, covering everything from consumer insights and experiences to social technology integrations and image optimization for Pinterest and the soon to launch Instagram Shop.
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