Insta Bucks Or Insta Bust? Beauty Brands Weigh In On The Sales Impact Of Instagram Shopping

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 17 brand founders and executives: Have you used Instagram Shopping to sell your products?

Yoel Vaisberg Founder and CEO, Haielle

We’ve been using it for a while now. IG is one of the most popular social media platforms today. People spend hours scrolling. We thought that the shoppable feature could be a quick and convenient way to buy products, and that’s what motivated us to try it in the first place. 

The setup was a bit tricky because the IG account needs to be linked with the Facebook account. We read a few blogs and help articles online to get it done. So far, it has not been a significant sales channel for our brand.

Carmella M. Williams Owner and Operator, Carmella Marie

I have used the Shop feature on Instagram, and it has worked well for my company. This feature has allowed me to increase conversion rates with these product links. Using Shopify made the process of selling on multiple channels an easy task. As a result, I sell my product line on Amazon, Instagram and Pinterest, and can track all of my sales in one central location on Shopify.

Katey Martinek Co-Founder, Lipstuk

We have recently begun using and selling with the Shop Now feature on Instagram. We chose this feature hoping it would lead more people to our website with a result of increased sales and following. However, to date, we have not yet generated many sales from its implementation. The positive takeaways from using this feature include the advantage of social media to gain exposure as a new business and better connections with other indie beauty brands. We have also found that it drives followers to your profile and website. 

Setup for the Shop Now feature is quite simple. First, users choose which post or story they want the public to see by selecting the blue promote tab. Once the promote tab is selected, users choose from different promotional options such as Shop Now, which can lead to your website or profile. This process does incur a fee based on longevity of the promotion and money budgeted for each day. The fee can be paid directly through your account by PayPal. Beware of the negative comments! 

While we all hope the public’s reaction to a product is positive, some comments can be quite negative. It has certainly helped us develop a tougher skin. To conclude, we will definitely continue to use the Shop Now feature, not only for sales, but for promoting the Lipstuk name.

Rochelle Jacobs Managing Director, Naturally Serious

Although we do not use the Shop feature on Instagram, we do use the like-to-buy tool feature and find that it is a fantastic new tool for brands and companies. We use it on Instagram for all of our products, and it’s been really impactful for the brand. 

Social media has really been a gateway for everyone to check out new and developing brands, and people turn to Instagram before making purchases or purchase directly from the LikeShop link, especially millennials, which are our target market.

Setting up the feature is super easy. It’s interesting to have transparency on our own analytics [and be] able to have full visibility into how our content is actually performing: i.e., how many clicks we receive on an image, its effectiveness rate, etc. It’s amazing to see consumers interacting with the brand and exploring our product assortment all through social media.

MARY WARE Founder, Minimo Skin Essentials

I absolutely love the Shop feature to sell products through Instagram because it shows the price of the product and takes customers directly to our website with one click. I also like that I can see detailed analytics that show me how customers are engaging with the shoppable images. 

How I use Instagram as a business and on a personal level are two different things: Beautiful, curated photos are nice, and likes are nice, but it really doesn’t matter unless it closes the sale. The shop feature allows us to gauge which photos capture real sales, period.

Joshua Onysko Founder, Pangea Organics

It honestly hasn’t been a huge driver for us, although it’s been convenient for those who do use it. We synced our Shopify site with Instagram to set this up, a very easy and straightforward process.

Dave Wongk Founder and CEO, Pure Tropix

I use it all the time! Now, would I say that it makes a big difference? I can't really say that. The only time I do see it make a difference is with returning customers because it makes it easier for them. With new customers, they need a little more convincing.

EVELYN GINOSSI Founder, Marine + Vine

The shoppable feature has been a great way for us to get additional clicks to the product page of our website, enhancing our brand and product discovery efforts through social media. It was really a natural progression from being on Instagram with a business account and was very easy to set up in connection with our Shopify account.  

While it doesn’t do the work of actually converting sales for us, it is an easy way to enable viewers to learn more about our brand and products to see if we’re a right fit for them. Ultimately, it’s our job to generate content and messaging to convert those additional leads into a sale, but the shoppable feature has definitely helped retain passing Instagram viewers for just a little bit longer, which is great when you’re a new brand with limited resources.

JEANNIE JARNOT Founder, Beauty Heroes

The Shop feature on Instagram is great. We absolutely use it. I wanted to try this feature because it makes it so easy for a customer to purchase or get more information about a product you are posting about. I see it as a service to the customer. Setting up the data feed definitely took some effort and takes constant maintenance, but we feel it’s very well worth it. We definitely saw an increase in website clicks.

SHUTING HU Founder, Acaderma

Yes, we have used the Shop feature on Instagram, and we love it! It’s such a convenience for our fans/followers to purchase our product when they are just browsing our page. Sales aside, it’s really great to be able to monitor website traffic and sales conversions all from one platform.

NASIMEH YAZDANI Founder, Seaside Medical Technologies

It’s a wonderful feature, and we have utilized it.  The procedure is quite simple and seamless when using Shopify as your commerce platform. The main part of our sales, however, comes from direct store visits. I believe people browse on IG, then go to sites for more in-depth analysis when ready to make a purchase.

JENNIE FRESA Founder and Owner, Copal Clean Beauty

The Shop feature makes it easy for our followers to buy their favorite items in just a few clicks. In addition to adding our link in bio, Instagram Shop has changed the shopping experience, where users have less steps to buy a product. Guests also have visibility to an item’s price before even clicking away from the feed, which is helpful. 

We also tag products within our Stories, which helps simplify the process of saying, "view our website" (we aren't able to swipe up in our Copal Stories yet), where the consumer is able to directly click and view the product and purchase. 

Copal showed an 80% increase in online traffic through social media in 2019. We hope to continue to leverage this tool on a regular basis and when we are promoting a sale or new item. I wish I could say we have noticed an increase in sales. Hopefully, that will follow with audience growth, and possible paid posts. This is a major goal for the coming months.

Samantha Lim Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, HipDot

Shop on Instagram has been a really great tool for us. As a new brand, Instagram is a big point of discovery for our audience. We are in the process of establishing our brand visually—defining our style, our voice and vision and, so, we don't want to just post product shots. At the same time, we are small and want to take advantage of every opportunity to sell products. 

Shop on Instagram gives you both. We catch people's attention with a beautiful visual, but then the Shop feature allows them to dig deeper and see the packaging, the ingredients, the price. It's a great way to consolidate information and to free up your creative side from the pressure of selling.

Andrea Lisbona Founder and CEO, Touchland

Yes, it’s very helpful. People are constantly looking for new products on Instagram, so it's great that you can use the platform to not only discover products, but quickly learn essential information like the price and immediately check out, all via Instagram. Anytime we can make the shopping experience easier for our customers is a win.

Sylwia Wiesenberg Founder, Bawdy Beauty and Dope Naturally

I just started Instagram Shop and, so far, the numbers are not growing much. I will keep testing different routes to see what works best. It doesn't hurt to have the Shop feature. You give a customer a quick price point and, if is right, they will click further. I also think that Instagram has become a huge shopping platform, so people browse their favorite brands and categories all day long.

JENNI TUOMINEN Founder and Creative Director, Henua Organics

Yes, we have and setting it up was quite simple. You just have to have business profile on Instagram and a Facebook page. We feel it has not made a major shift in our sales, but it definitely gives a better chance to engage with your audience and provide them an easier way to shop.

CHRISTINAH NICOLAISEN Co-Founder, Eleni & Chris

These days, where convenience is so important, and customers want one-click shopping wherever they can. This is a great feature for that. Setting it up was relatively simple. The most important part is to ensure you have a well-designed website that it speaks to with high quality images to ensure the brand comes across in a consistent way and that the experience is user-friendly.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to [email protected].