Are your customers using Instagram Stories? With over 500 million daily users on the platform, the answer is almost certainly yes.
But the sheer number of people interacting with Instagram Stories is only a part of why you should be making full use of Instagram stories for your e-commerce brand.
Keep reading to find out why and how you should be using Instagram Stories for e-commerce.
Why you should use Instagram Stories for e-commerce
Instagram Stories are positioned at the very top of users’ screens in the app
If you’re frequently using Stories, your brand has a good shot at grabbing one of those prime spots at the top of the screen–and being the very first thing your followers see. Regular posts are more likely to be buried way down in your followers’ feeds.
You can share customer content without ruining the aesthetic of your feed
Having a community of people who love your products enough to share them on their own accounts is amazing and should be celebrated. Plus, sharing those posts is an excellent way to not only encourage more people to tag your products but also to take advantage of all that organic social proof.
But if you’ve spent a lot of time defining your Instagram brand aesthetic, then it can be hard to fit customer content into your “look.” Luckily, Stories is the perfect feature to highlight this type of content without disrupting the aesthetic on your feed.
There’s more permission to be “raw” or authentic on Instagram Stories
We’ve seen an increasing push for authenticity when it comes to social media and content marketing from brands. Yet, you don’t want to look unprofessional, either. That’s where Instagram Stories can come in handy as the ideal venue for sharing the less polished content that customers are craving.
Share live, behind-the-scenes videos, upload videos of your founders talking directly to your followers, or share live updates of an event your team is attending.
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Instagram Stories come with a built-in sense of urgency
Because Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, any promotion you share via Stories is instantly layered with urgency. Without you even having to say it, viewers will feel the gentle pressure to act now on your promotion.
How to use Instagram Stories for e-commerce
There are a few mini-features within Instagram Stories. Each one offers a different way to take advantage of Instagram Stories for your e-commerce brand. Let’s take a quick look.
Save and categorize Stories using Story Highlights
Once you’ve created a Story, you can choose to “Save to Highlights.” This adds the story to a row on your profile page, right above your regular feed. People can view your Story Highlights at any time, instead of for just 24 hours after you post it.
In addition, you can choose to which Highlight to save your story. For instance, you could create a Story Highlight for all your customer content and another one for new product launches.
This feature is useful for categorizing content into easy-to-find packets for your customers.
Take readers directly to a product page with the Swipe Up feature
If you have more than 10,000 followers, you have access to a bonus feature: the Swipe Up feature. It allows you to add a link that goes to your product page (or blog post, etc.) to an Instagram Story. If users are interested in purchasing your product, they can simply “swipe up” on the screen and then buy the product right there on Instagram.
Using the Swipe Up feature eliminates the need for customers to have to exit the app and try to find the product on your website later. Make buying your products convenient, and everyone wins.
Get free insights into your customers with Instagram Stories Polls
With the Polls feature, you can embed a two-answer poll directly into an Instagram Story! This mini-survey is an easy way to get feedback from your customers–completely free.
Plus, Polls are pretty low-commitment. All it takes for customers to participate is a quick tap on option one or option two. That makes Polls an easy way to drive engagement with your content. Engaged fans = more likely buyers.
7 successful examples of Instagram Stories for e-commerce brands
Boy Smells: Showcasing their company ethos in action
This LA-based candles and intimates company sent team members to represent the company in the New York City Pride Parade, and they filmed it for their Instagram Story. The company was founded on the idea of eliminating gender binaries in product marketing and has been a supporter of LGBTQ+ causes.
Using their Instagram Story to showcase their ethos in action resonated strongly with their fans. They currently have around 36,000 followers.
Who should steal this idea: E-commerce brands that were founded on a social mission or that feel strongly about a cause (such as vegan or environmentally conscious brands).
Plum Paper: Talking to a specific portion of their customer base
This custom stationary and planner e-commerce company uses Story Highlights to single out certain sections of their customer base who have specific needs–like teachers. This way, they’re able to talk directly to teachers about their teacher-specific planners, without alienating their other customers.
As a bonus, the Stories are personable videos, with a team member walking teachers through the special product line. They have about 74,000 followers.
Who should steal this idea: E-commerce brands that have different lines of products for different types of customers.
Made.com: Emphasizing partnerships
This U.K. online store for elegant furniture and interior design frequently collaborates with well-known designers and brands. They strategically use Story Highlights to showcase each collaboration, with each Story slide artfully designed to match the mood of the featured furniture. They have about 515,000 followers.
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Who should steal this idea: E-commerce brands that frequently partner with other companies (or influencers) to produce or market their products.
Thrive Causemetics: Staying on-brand in Stories
This vegan make-up brand is a great example of a company that maintains its defined aesthetic even in Instagram Stories–to great success. They’ve locked in almost 300,000 followers. Their Stories feature colorful, on-brand content that includes fun animations and illustrations.
Who should steal this idea: Luxury or high-end e-commerce companies that would find it off-brand to share casual or behind-the-scenes photos and videos even on Instagram Stories.
Birdies: Celebrating their community every week
This shoe brand uses Stories to do a Friday Roundup of photos shared by its customers wearing the shoes. Having a designated day to share customer content makes it feel more exciting–and lets customers know that they can expect their photos to be shared.
Plus, Birdies manages to make its customers’ images still feel on-brand by giving each photo a tasteful black frame. They have 129,000 followers and counting.
Who should steal this idea: E-commerce brands who get dozens (or even hundreds) of tags from customers every week–it’ll be more impactful and less work to share these photos all at once on a designated day.
Enlightened Equipment: Sharing customer reviews
This e-commerce outdoor gear brand uses Stories to highlight amazing customer reviews for their products. They’re making the most of their reviews in a couple of key ways.
One, they place reviews against images of a person wearing or using their gear, which helps viewers to visualize the product in action. Two, they arrange their customer review Stories in one Story Highlight so that followers can immediately locate them.
Because Enlightened Equipment has to compete against household names in outdoor gear, emphasizing positive reviews wherever they can is a smart strategy for gaining consumer trust. They have around 32,000 followers.
Who should steal this idea: Newer e-commerce brands who still need to win the trust of every potential customer with highly visible reviews.
Hound Collection: Providing evergreen how-to’s
This online dog accessories company uses Stories to share simple how-to’s on subjects that will always be relevant. For example, one Story is a quick tutorial showing customers how to measure their dogs for a Hound Collection harness. Not only is this idea genuinely helpful, but it also helps potential customers overcome one of the biggest hurdles of buying online–not knowing if the item will fit. They have about 91,000 followers.
Who should steal this idea: Apparel e-commerce brands, or e-commerce brands that sell a product that’s not intuitive to use.
Start using Instagram Stories for e-commerce today
The good news is that getting started with Instagram Stories for e-commerce brands is simple. There’s no learning curve, and all the features are built into the Instagram app you’ve already been using to market your business.
The only minor hurdle is deciding on your strategy for Instagram Stories. Will you make it an extension of your curated Instagram aesthetic, like Thrive Causemetics? Will you make full use of the Story Highlights feature like Plum Paper? Or will you start pushing all your customer content to your Story like Birdies?
Or, maybe you’ll find your own unique way to use Instagram Stories. Whatever you decide to do, it’s pretty hard to go wrong–so get started today.