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Digital Transformation Martech Future of Media

Social commerce levels up with new Instagram ‘drops’ feature


By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

May 26, 2021 | 5 min read

Instagram has become increasingly ‘mall-ified’ over the past couple of years. Brand placements and tagged products eventually led to the debut of Instagram Shop, a robust shopping module that enables users to seamlessly shop for the looks their favorite influencers are rocking, home goods, beauty products, accessories and more.

Nike Off-White sneakers

Instagram's latest drop is a new feature enabling users to shop their favorite brands' biggest drops

Today, the Facebook-owned app has taken it to the next level launching a new shopping feature called “Drops.” It’s a tab that directs users to a fully shoppable in-app feed of brand-new hot products. Here’s the gist:

What it is

● “Drops” is a new tab within Instagram Shop, sitting alongside other tabs including “Shops,” “Editors’ Picks,” “Buy on Instagram,” “Collections,” “Guides” and more.

● “Drops” showcases the latest, you guessed it, drops (or new releases), from trending designers and retailers including Adidas, Fenty Skin, Bleacher Report and many more. It also allows users to purchase newly released products directly within the app, without being redirected to a third-party checkout platform.

Drops screenshot

● Upon launching the tab, users are met with a feed of static images, videos and animations indicating new releases from featured brands. For drops that are live, users can click into a new interface that allows them to shop the collection from within the app. Imminent drops are featured prominently in the “Drops” feed and showcase a live countdown indicating when the drop will be made available. Posts for upcoming drops indicate the day and time of the launch and offer users the option of setting a reminder, which will enable the app to send notifications to the user leading up to the release. Users can also share drops with their friends through direct messaging.

● The first major launch showcased in the feed today is Drake x Nocta “Cardinal Stock” collection.

● As of today, “Drops” has been made available to users in the US only — and is accessible via mobile, but not desktop.

Why it matters to marketers

● E-commerce — and social commerce in particular — is spiking. Stuck at home over the past year-plus, consumers spent more time looking at screens and online shopping than ever before. Recent data from eMarketer reveals that in 2020, social commerce surged by nearly 38% — this year, it’s projected to rise by over 34%, representing 4.3% of all retail ecommerce sales.

● It’s been reported that Instagram’s unique Checkout with Instagram feature is designed to allow the app to charge fees for purchases made within its interface. However, as part of its efforts to businesses recovering from the negative economic impacts of the pandemic, Instagram is not currently charging selling or processing fees associated with Checkout with Instagram. The move lowers the barrier to entry for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to sell their products within the app.

● The move further secures Instagram’s position as a key player in the arena of social commerce, where Pinterest was an early mover. Per recent Hootsuite data, 81% of shoppers research products via Instagram and Facebook. Nearly half of Pinterest users say shopping is a top priority for them.

● Brands looking to get a slice of the social commerce pie now have a new avenue by which to garner engagement and drive sales. To be included in the new, curated “Drops” section, brands can use the product launch feature within Checkout with Instagram.

Apple’s recently launched iOS 14.5 privacy updates have made it more difficult for apps like Instagram to capture valuable data from users. As such, app developers and marketers are seeking new means by which to both collect first-party data and monetize activity on their platforms. “Drops” could help Instagram do both.

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