Instagram live shopping allows consumers to purchase your products directly from one of their favorite social commerce platforms.
US businesses with checkout on Instagram can tap into the power of selling in these live broadcasts. Live shopping enables you to sell your products directly from the app, instantly interact with viewers, and engage with potential customers in real time. You can even save your videos, allowing consumers to continue shopping your featured products long after your live broadcast is over.
From browsing to searching to buying, Instagram is a top destination where consumers go to shop and seek inspiration.
Let’s dive in to everything you need to know to take advantage of live shopping on Instagram.
Table of contents
- The benefits of using Instagram live shopping
- What to feature in an Instagram live shopping event
- Examples of Instagram live events
- How to use Instagram live shopping to grow sales and improve customer engagement
The benefits of using Instagram live shopping
Let’s look at a few ways livestreaming on Instagram can benefit your ecommerce business.
Access more than two billion users
Instagram boasts more than two billion active users worldwide. Of those, 130 million people tap to reveal product tags in shopping posts each month, making it one of the top 10 most popular sites on the planet, according to data from Semrush. Any ecommerce business that doesn’t have an Instagram shop setup is losing out on the potential to reach billions (with a B) of consumers.
Interactive shopping experiences
Instagram live shopping serves as a way to humanize your brand via a rich storytelling format. Live video gives customers an immersive way to discover and buy your products online.
Instagram live shopping allows users to join live events by stores, chat with a representative, and purchase through the live session without having to reroute to another page for a product listing.
Tell the story behind your products, deepen customer connections, and encourage shopping in the moment.
The interactive sessions make online shopping not only personalized, but also entertaining, with a sense of socializing that customers typically experience while shopping in-person.
10x conversion rates compared to traditional ecommerce
McKinsey reports that live-shopping events are giving atenfold conversion rate to online businesses compared to conventional techniques. Not only that, the company’s own marketing investment is minimal—no paid marketing needed and the Instagram algorithm displays livestreams at the beginning of the stories thread for maximum visibility.
Encourages purchases in real time
Currently being piloted only in the US—the second biggest market for live shopping after China—Instagram’s in-app checkout and payment features bring consumers the convenience of shopping through the app without any third-party involvement.
Live broadcasts on Instagram can be from one minute to four hours in length. You can include up to 30 individual product tags from a single catalog or a collection. By adding products before going live and highlighting/pinning products while live, you’ll build deeper connections and sell in the moment.
What to feature in an Instagram live shopping event
On average, 90% of marketers agree that social media presence has increased their sales. These numbers increase dramatically with online real-time shopping events conducted by brands and their representatives. Here are three examples that work like magic for online sales:
Instagram live events are a great marketing strategy to convert the impulsive Gen Zer into customers. Brands can announce promotional discounts only during their live event and watch the FOMO (fear of missing out) effect attract viewers and convert them into customers.
The best thing about synchronous shopping is that it allows two-way engagement between brand representatives and consumers who love attention and personalization. Brands can hold Q&A sessions to answer questions from the audience in a fun way. They can also host Ask Me Anything events, opening the floor for consumers to engage in their own way.
Livestream events on Instagram are not just about sales. Consumers are looking for engaging content marketing, entertainment, and connections with broadcasters from their favorite brands. A lot of brands conduct non-sales sessions as well, without any product tags to get to know their audience. The idea is to keep the consumer interested in the brand, not just in the products.
Examples of Instagram Live events
Instagram has a great shopping feature used by most fashion and B2C businesses, and on the demand side it has impulsive buyers who look and purchase within seconds. Here’s how brands have used the feature to boost their sales:
Famous skin care and beauty brand Lancôme occasionally takes to Instagram for informational and sales events. Recently, it collaborated with Her World Singapore and invited influencers Jamie Yeo and Cheryl Wee to talk about Lancôme Advanced Génifique products.
Kiehl’s Malaysia conducted live sales sessions during Ramadan in 2021, with themes of harmony and unity.
During the Instagram live events, Kiehl’s beauty advisers shared information about its products, as well as skin care tips and tricks that would be useful during Ramadan. The advisers also encouraged people to make a purchase by either: 1) commenting on the brand’s Instagram ads with a specific hashtag that automatically opened a conversation in Instagram Direct, 2) visiting the Kiehl’s Instagram Shop, or 3) visiting the Kiehl’s website.
The sessions not only helped people engage and shop, but also helped the brand’s sales:
- For 2021,51% of all new clients came through the Instagram live promotions.
- 59% of sales during the campaign came directly or indirectly through the events.
To launch its latest products, the Brow Microfilling Pen and the They’re Real! Magnet Mascara,Benefits Cosmetics hosted an Instagram livestream to boost early-bird sales. The team held separate events for each product to educate and attract its audience.
Thanks to product launch reminders thoughtfully placed in stories and posts, the brand was able to attract a high volume of eager consumers and reaped exceptional results.
- 46% of all online sales of the Brow Microfilling pen came through Instagram.
- One Magnet Mascara was sold every minute during the Instagram Live event.
How to use Instagram live shopping to grow sales and improve customer engagement
Instagram’s live video shopping feature is currently available to business accounts only. There are multiple ways brands can uplevel their business on Instagram, and social commerce is one of the most effective and efficient. Below are some tactics brand managers should know before kicking off their live shopping experiences.
Engage Instagram influencers
Instagram is the leading social media platform for influencer marketing with 89% of marketers relying on it for their campaigns. According to Matter,61% social media browsers trust the recommendations of their favorite influencers. Brands can smartly use influencer marketing to promote their products on their live shopping events and watch their sales soar.
Miliboo Design, a furniture store in France, held an Instagram live in 2021 with Stephane Plaza (@stephaneplaza.off), who has 611,000 followers, to promote its new décor items.
Once you’ve partnered with the right influencer, encourage them to review your products, take over your account with creative content, and/or host a giveaway. You should see your sales taking off with these fun and engaging strategies.”
—Melanie Edwards, Senior. Ecommerce and Digital Product Manager, Olipop
Create hype through posts and stories
Before hosting a live-broadcast event through your Instagram business account, create some buzz around the event through your brand’s page and stories. Set up a countdown timer in your story that consumers can save to get a reminder for the event. You can also keep promoting posts on your feed to draw maximum eyeballs before the event.
Use games to keep consumers hooked
The most interesting thing about social commerce is the flexibility of content. Playing games by sharing questions or images for viewers to engage with during the live session keeps their attention on the livestream and eager to win. They can also participate by sharing their own videos with their favorite products and getting a reward in return.
In our experience, doing [games and contests] has grown our fan base, as video always speaks louder than words. On top of that, said posts serve as testimonials and present happy customers having fun with your products, boosting sales and building trust. Everybody wins!”
—Jeff Goodwin, Senior Director, Performance, Orgain
By offering rewards, marketers can keep viewers visiting each live session to try to bag a free prize. It’s a trick as old as time.
Offer time-bound promotional discounts at live events
Creating hype about promotional discounts in an upcoming live shopping broadcast gives followers an incentive to join and shop. Consider announcing these discounts via hype posts leading up to the event to inform consumers early on about the exciting sales of featured products they can only get live.
Brands can leverage this traction and rely on spontaneity to conduct time-bound promotions—this gives viewers an urgency to buy a discounted product while it’s being demoed live. It’s the perfect recipe to generate mass sales within minutes.
Pin topics during the Instagram live session
The Instagram live shopping feature allows retailers to tag products at the bottom of the screen while you interact with your audience. Viewers no longer have to reroute to your brand’s website to purchase the product they’re now itching to buy. They can simply go to the products option and purchase through Instagram Checkout.
Use live to promote new product launches
A great way to maximize viewership is to generate hype around a new product or new features in an Instagram live event. Loyal brand consumers religiously follow their favorite brands on Instagram and are hungry for early-bird updates on new products. So that’s one customer segment that’s bound to cash out during an Instagram live event.
Cultivate connections with consumers
Live Shopping isn’t just about sales; it’s about connections.Thirty percent of American consumers surveyed said they find video content the most exciting and addictive. That’s a cue for brand owners to make their live shopping events engaging and communicate candidly with their audience.
“On Instagram, it’s important to communicate with your followers as a person, not as a business. This way, you’ll build stronger relationships and connect with them on a more personal level.
“Tell stories, share your successes and failures, ask for help, and thank them for support. Appreciate when it is due. Make a community first and an enterprise second.”
—Divyank Jain, Co-Founder, The Wise Idiot
Join hands with other brands
Smaller brands can multiply their digital engagement by using Instagram live sessions with bigger brands. Co-hosted product collaborations drive sales for both brands, giving a boost and popularity to younger brands.
Offer product tutorials live on IG
Consumers love watching video tutorials and demos on social media platforms. Instagram Reels provide a very useful and fun way for consumers to learn about new products through step-by-step guides. This video content is even more effective when it’s broadcast live.
Turn your Instagram live viewers into loyal customers
Instagram is a major social commerce platform that allows brand owners to conduct live sessions to promote their products to customers. Viewers can watch the broadcaster use the product in real time, ask questions via live chat, and purchase products through the store listing without leaving the app, making their online shopping experience personalized and hassle-free.
Leveraging Instagram live shopping best practices can not only boost brand popularity, but also revenue.