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16 November 2017

From browsing to buying: Exploring the shopping journey on Instagram

BY: Instagram Business team

San Francisco, CA, USA

If you've ever worked in retail, you know that a good sales person is as tuned in to human behaviour as a good therapist. Sales people are ever on the lookout for cues. Has a shopper been in the store multiple times? Are they piling clothes into their arms? Are they headed straight for the sales rack?

These cues come together to help a sales person determine when to approach someone, what to say and what to do. But when shoppers go online, without access to the right data, retailers may find themselves "cue-less". But what if they didn't have to be? By giving retailers line of sight into the shopping journey, signals from the Facebook pixel can help retailers understand how their shoppers buy and drive conversions as a result.

To learn how signals can help retailers better understand this unique journey1 and get shoppers from, "Thanks, I'm just looking" to "I'll take these, please," we teamed up with Facebook IQ2 and explored what drives shoppers in the speciality retail category –particularly higher spenders.

Inspiring action through exploration

With 800 million accounts on Instagram scrolling, swiping and sharing their passions around the globe, retailers are using Instagram's dynamic family of tools to connect with shoppers beyond the storefront. Acting as a window display to the world, Instagram offers a fresh, immersive way to experience a brand and/or product unlike anywhere else. Whether through feed, stories or live, the opportunity for retailers to stand out and inspire action has never been better.

As we learned during our recent fashion insights study, Instagram is a place where people come together to visually express themselves and connect with what matters – whether it's friends, influencers or their favourite businesses. In fact, 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business to feel a closer sense of connection to it – making many feel like they're part of an exclusive group as a result.3 And it's not just this sense of community that makes our platform so unique, but the time people spend on it interacting with our 15 million business profiles as well.

Generating 120 million interactions last month, more and more people are visiting a website, getting directions and contacting a business than ever before.
Instagram data, Mar 2017
The shoppers behind the journey

While the speciality retail shopping category makes up a fairly small subset of online retailers, the behaviours of its shoppers are far from uniform. In a brick-and-mortar shop, a retailer's ability to respond to the unique needs of each shopper can be the difference between someone making a purchase or leaving the shop empty-handed. The same is true online. Using signals to explore the various shopping behaviours of people along the shopping journey, we uncovered two unique shopper segments4 shaping the way that people are browsing and buying on Instagram.

Shopping mavens and fashion enthusiasts

For many, Instagram is a haven for discovery. It's a place where people such as shopping mavens5 and fashion enthusiasts6 can be inspired by the latest trends and shop their favourite brands. In turn, Instagram is actively changing the way that the world consumes content and shops online.

Consuming two times more content than non-shoppers, people shopping on Instagram spend 85% of the week exploring the newest products and services.
Instagram data, US only, Apr 2016.

Using popular hashtags such as #shopping,7 #style8 and #fashion,9 these higher spenders are connecting with businesses on Instagram on a much deeper level – sparking more personal (even loyal) relationships with them. In fact, across the speciality retail category, 40% of shoppers self-identified as being a loyal customer in the category, particularly fashion enthusiasts.10

52% of fashion enthusiasts consider themselves a loyal customer, while 42% own a loyalty membership card for shops in the space.
Facebook data, a segmentation of 1.6 million shoppers captured by the Facebook pixel across the speciality retail vertical, US only, 18+, Feb 2017.

And this sense of loyalty comes from the way that these passions make people feel. For shopping mavens and fashion enthusiasts, fashion and shopping are a large part of who they are as individuals. It's in the fabric of their identities, making them feel important as a result.11

That's why each month, 75% of shopping mavens and 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram.12 They are more likely to say that they are using the platform to discover new products or services, to engage with industry experts and browse inspiring content or product/brand photos. It allows them to connect with the things that matter, while defining and sharing their voice across our community.

Moving forward

Because shopping behaviours are varied, it's critical for retailers and marketers to understand the unique behaviours of their shoppers. By giving retailers' line of sight into the full shopper journey, signals can help marketers get their shoppers from "just browsing" to buying. And Instagram is a great way to do this – especially with higher spenders.

For eligible businesses in the US, the shopping feature on Instagram is a great way to reach valuable customers and inspire action. By tagging products in posts, businesses on Instagram can enable people to act by tapping through to learn more about a featured product or visit its website.

To learn more about the shopper segments and what signals can tell you about the shopping journey, have a look at FBIQ's three-part series. And to see how businesses like Country Road (@countryroad) and Pura Vida Bracelets (@puravidabracelets) are finding success connecting with shoppers on Instagram, explore their success stories here.

BY: Instagram Business team

San Francisco, CA, USA