Shopping is coming to Instagram Stories, the section of the Facebook Inc.-owned social network where users and brands can post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, the social network announced on Tuesday.
Adidas AG, No. 61 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500, and Louis Vuitton, No. 131, are among the retailers that are leveraging the new functionality, which adds a sticker with a shopping bag icon to items that shoppers can buy within an image. A consumer can tap on icon to see more details about the product.
“Brands have always been early adopters of stories, they create some of the most viewed and engaging content on the platform,” Instagram notes in a blog post announcing the new functionality, which is initially available with “select brands” with more coming soon.
Instagram Stories is increasingly a sharp focus for the platform given that it has more than 300 million daily active users, Karin Tracy, Facebook’s head of industry for beauty, fashion, luxury and retail, tells Internet Retailer. “Consumers have a real appetite to see brands in Instagram Stories,” she says. “They like and respond to the format, which is a little different, a little less polished.”
The new functionality builds on Instagram Shopping, which launched in March 2017 and expanded to Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom earlier this year. At the time, Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at consultancy Salmon, noted that the international rollout was a “reaction to consumers’ ever-changing shopping traits,” which are shifting to mobile and online. “For brands [Instagram Shopping is] an opportunity to secure a larger slice of the competitive retail market,” he said. “Mobile sales are now a significant source of growth and this will enable retailers to provide tailored deals directly to the shopper. It will also naturally influence the market during retail peaks, as consumers use social media to search for the latest trends and products.”
The social network also on Tuesday launched a tool that enables consumers to voice their frustrations with their purchases from Facebook advertisers, such as ads that quote inaccurate shipping times or that misrepresent products.
“We’re taking steps to try and identify these and other common frustrations with a new tool launching globally today,” the social network writes in a blog post. “It is designed to let people review businesses that they’ve made a purchase from. It will allow the community to help one another find businesses with overwhelmingly unsatisfactory customer service.”
The tool is in the social network’s Ads Activity tab. Within the section, consumers can view ads they’ve recently clicked and hit the Leave Feedback button, which prompts them to complete a brief questionnaire about their experience. “We’ll use this tool to get feedback from the community to help better understand potentially low quality goods or services,” Facebook writes, noting that it will share feedback directly with businesses that receive high volumes of negative feedback and give them a chance to improve before taking further action.
That could prompt Facebook to offer merchants guidance on how they can improve customer satisfaction and find ways to better meet consumers’ expectations by, for instance, setting clear expectations about shipping speed upfront or providing more transparency about their return policies. If the feedback does not improve over time, Facebook says it will reduce the amount of ads that particular business can deliver on its platform and may even ban some advertisers from the platform.