Every business owner understands the importance of social media in building a loyal following. Platforms like Instagram allow makers and shopkeepers to connect to customers in a personal and genuine way. But as reported in The New York Times Bits blog last month, Instagram is also becoming a great place to make sales.
The article focused on a single Brooklyn clothing boutique, Fox & Fawn, but it calls attention to the growing trend of using Instagram as a digital marketplace — a “modern-day bazaar”. Savvy shop owners like Beverly and Marissa at Fox & Fawn are realizing that Instagram can double as one of the most effective e-commerce platforms available today. Posting new and popular items to Instagram can be a great way to keep inventory flying off the shelves.
As reporter Jenna Wortham notes, the shopping experience on Instagram resembles something more like flea market that a traditional store front, where amazing limited editions and one-offs can be discovered unexpectedly.
“I’ll peek at pictures while riding in an elevator or standing in line at the grocery store. A huge part of the appeal is that the goods I’m perusing are sandwiched in my Instagram feed, in between my friends’ selfies and pictures of snow-covered spots where they’ve stopped during the day. Stumbling across an unexpected and gorgeous find like a wool Aztec throw or pair of leather boots on a social app like Instagram brings with it the excitement of discovery, not unlike the thrill you get when coming across a rare find at a flea market.”
It’s this spirit of discovery and spontaneity that makes Instagram a perfect e-commerce platform for small businesses. Instagram helps us stay in touch with friends and loved ones, for sure, but we also use the app because we want to be inspired. A quiet alleyway in Rome. A beautifully prepared latte. A new spring outfit. They’re all moments we love stumbling upon when we have a few minutes of downtime.
It’s only natural that shopping would find a home on Instagram.
“On Instagram, it feels like a discovery because you aren’t there to shop — but if something catches your eye and it’s available, you’re more likely to buy it,” adds Connie Wang from fashion blog Refinery29.
Although they admit it took some time to get the hang of it, the team at Fox & Fawn say that around 40% of daily sales now come through Instagram, with most items selling in a “matter of minutes.” On snowy NYC days when other shops may not see a single customer, they were making 90% of sales over Instagram.
Now those are the types of numbers that would get any small business owner’s attention!
Interested in selling on Instagram? Read our case study on Prep Obsessed to learn more about how Soldsie can power your social selling strategy. While Fox & Fawn handles all their Instagram sales over the phone, Soldsie offers tools that connect Instagram to your existing e-commerce platform to automate the process. You can also speak to someone on our sales team to start selling on Instagram right away.