Instagram Reels to have a shopping feature soon


Instagram Reels will soon be adding a shopping feature in India. The new feature was announced in October as something the company had in the works, as part of an on-going series of shopping-related updates to the Instagram app.

Reels feature a plethora of shopping content, like fashion looks, makeup, and skincare. With this new feature, they will be able to now tap a “View Products” button to buy, save, or learn more about the featured products.

This pandemic and lockdown have seen a huge surge in E-Commerce sites; this move by Instagram adds to the fun. Many prominent players like Amazon, Flipkart, IKEA are already on Instagram, and a shopper can shop without leaving the page.

We spoke to a few digital stalwarts on their thoughts on this soon to be launched a feature on Reels.

Neena Dasgupta

Neena Dasgupta, CEO & Director, Zirca Digital Solutions, says, In the current scenario, where every category/brand/product is fighting to get the consumers to share of mind and eventually share of pocket, there is no concept of overexposure of your brand. No number of touchpoints is enough; the more the better; in all available contexts. Reach the consumer when they are watching tv, listening to the radio, driving on road, in a mall, in a cinema hall, on social media. All the new features that are being introduced across the digital spectrum, helps connect the brands with their consumers better and more frequently. And this is not spoiling them for choice for an avenue to shop, it is essentially ensuring that your brand has a high TOM score, and is consciously/sub-consciously in the consideration set whenever and where ever a purchase/consumption decision is made.

Chanda Sarma
Chanda Sarma

Chanda Sarma, Regional Head(Operations) – North, WATConsult

Instagram apart from inspiring the users visually, has also been encouraging purchases for quite some time now. The fact that the audience will now be able to make purchases via reels makes every available format on the platform a medium to shop. While Instagram has been pushing reels to increase adoption and penetration among the audience, these new changes in its interface are bound to create an additional avenue enabling transactions for brands via the platform. Social commerce as a whole has seen a steep rise lately and a platform which is known to start trends is sure to influence the consumers’ behaviour. Perhaps “shopped on reels” will become a thing in the months to come.

Instagram Reel new shopping features a boon to brands.

Ishtaarth Dalmia
Ishtaarth Dalmia

Ishtaarth Dalmia, AVP – Strategy & Corporate Strategy Lead, Dentsu Webchutney: Instagram’s uncanny ability to drive demand has been essential to the growth of small and medium businesses throughout the pandemic. He also adds that there is incredible momentum in entrepreneurs, running DTC brands, innovating to reach their customers exclusively through Instagram. For years, we have been promised a social commerce revolution, where customers buy from brands they discover on social media first, and Shopping on Reels is yet another way to ensure discovery happens on Instagram. Just like advertising and sponsored content on the Feed & Stories made Instagram a multi-billion dollar business, Reels extends the ability for marketers of any size find more buyers through short-form video. It will lead to a series of new experiments by advertisers and influencers to make Instagram essential to the purchase journey, further making Instagram attributable to sales.

Samir Asher, Chief Operating Officer- Tonic Worldwide
Samir Asher

Samir Asher, Co-founder & COO, Tonic Worldwide – a digital-first creative agency: The current situation has accelerated the adoption of e-commerce globally. Consumers are learning and adapting to online buying as a channel and Instagram is well poised to leverage this shift. Brands, specifically Direct to consumer brands, were actively using instagram to generate sales, the new feature only makes it seamless and gives them confidence to invest aggressively on the platform.

Arvind Nair, Regional Director of Mirum India
Arvind Nair

Arvind Nair, Regional Director of Mirum India: E-commerce has been very central to Instagram’s growth strategy with a clear intention to drive more social commerce. As more businesses go virtual and with the continued shuttering of retail locations during the pandemic the timing for brands to leverage these during the Christmas and new year season will be interesting. It’s also now the time for brands to monetize their presence on the app and now be able to actually show some strong ROI from social. The ix of the channel will now need to reassessed to see how this impacts it.

Rajni Daswani
Rajni Daswani

Rajni Daswani, Director – Brand Experience & Employee Engagement, SoCheers:

Certain e-commerce platforms like Amazon, BigBasket, etc. have definitely flourished due to a rise in need of home delivery of basic items VS going physically to buy them. Other e-commerce platforms like Myntra, AJIO, and smaller brands are now seeing a slow but upward uptick by focusing on driving people through various digital mediums. Reels is one of them, where they can showcase their products more creatively and more interactively. In quick short creator led videos, they are able to showcase the use case of their products in different ways, which helps the customer make an informed decision of purchasing.

More options and avenues to shop

Ishtaarth Dalmia: Absolutely. Instagram and Facebook are turning up the dial on monetisation, and that means avenues to discover and watch content on Instagram are ready to evolve into social shopping experiences. Recently, Instagram even made the first notable change to its design in years to reflect new priorities for the company, when it gave Shopping a default place in the prized real estate in the tab bar (in developed markets where the behavior has been established & adopted by brands). As Instagram matures, we will see more new features to make it indispensable to marketers, offering a suite of ways to generate demand on the platform. WhatsApp also recently launched a series of commerce-focused features. These latest moves by Facebook into commerce are not a coincidence; it makes Facebook’s products essential to any brand, at any stage of the shopping lifecycle.

Samir Asher: Absolutely. Instagram is a great platform for product discovery as its image led. Moreover just like content, this will lead to impulse buying as consumers will be able to shop without leaving the app.

Arvind Nair: More than avenues, I feel it’s about building a habit. We won’t see a switch to normalcy any time soon, so the consumer is more and more going to be active on social and video first platforms.   Given there is no competition from TikTok right now in the Indian market, this move should be a strong push to an already existing arsenal of commerce led products from Facebook.

Rajni Daswani: The feature definitely helps in showcasing the product better, which gives the consumer much more information than they would have got at a physical store. Reels allows a brand to create content that can connect with the consumer one-on-one basis their interests. While the feature does not give more options/avenues to shop, it allows them to make more informed decisions while purchasing.

Consumer Spoilt for choice.

Ishtaarth Dalmia: More than the consumer being spoilt for choice (which is a good thing), the digital marketer is further spoilt for choice. With new Shopping experiences being made possible on video platforms, marketers have a chance to redefine how they reach their customers to begin with. Setting up a storefront on Instagram takes little effort, but ensuring content drives business goals requires a cultural rethink at established brands which have relied on offline retail/e-commerce. The next big fashion apparel brand is being built on Instagram, and making a killing, right under their feet. Shopping on Reels will be yet another way to (1) create compelling owned content to drive demand for a brand’s existing followers and (2) use Reels creators to effortlessly find followers to-be.

Samir Asher: Instagram algorithm shows you more of what you like. Hence consumers will be able to easily find what they might be interested in. Hence from a consumer’s perspective the experience is going to be great

Arvind Nair: The consumer today is already channel agnostic, and we are more rapidly moving into a buyer first market where loyalties will be questioned. It’s no longer a liner path to purchase, we will probably see large part of 2021 being virtual and that would continue to see both consumers and brands growing the presence on social and e-commerce.

Rajni Daswani: The more brands get onto creating content for their specific consumer, the more they will be spoilt for choice. But digital has always been a cluttered space and good content usually helps break through that. Brands should focus on creating good content which talks directly to their consumer.