Instagram expands shoppable beauty commerce for IGTV and Reels

Instagram’s rapid 2020 development of e-commerce continues with the expansion of its shoppable video capabilities.

On Monday, the platform announced that shopping on IGTV is “rolling out globally,” and it will be testing shopping on Reels later this year. Several beauty brands have tested out the IGTV shopping feature, including those in the LVMH and Estée Lauder Companies portfolios, as well as makeup artist brand Patrick Ta Beauty. The new features are the latest in Instagram’s e-commerce play as the pandemic transforms consumer habits.

“By bringing shopping to IGTV and Reels, we’re making it easy to shop directly from videos,” said Instagram COO Justin Osofsky in an emailed statement.

Ta was one of the early testers of IGTV’s shopping feature, posting an IGTV video to his personal account on July 22. Ta said in a statement that it was “an exciting opportunity to be a part of the first rollout of shopping on IGTV.” The video featured him demonstrating how to use four of his namesake products, including a lip mask, a face mist, a highlighter balm and a body brush, with product listings available through a shopping icon at the bottom of the video. The video has received over 143,000 views so far.

“For him, it’s always been a natural progression to sell directly off of Instagram,” said Charlene Valledor, the president of brand incubator SOS Beauty, which developed Patrick Ta Beauty. “It was really a no-brainer for the team to test this feature out.” She added that while new shoppable features are in a testing phase, “these types of initiatives aren’t really for a boom in sales.”

Instagram has been aggressively developing its shopping capabilities during the pandemic, offering Instagram Checkout to a growing number of brands and launching Instagram Shop in July. It has also been offering its new shoppable livestream capabilities to more influencers and brands.

LVMH-owned brands including Sephora, Fresh and Benefit Cosmetics currently have shoppable IGTV videos on their accounts. Fresh hosted two shoppable IGTV episodes in September. Sephora released a shoppable IGTV video on October 3 featuring two Sephora beauty experts discussing self-care products. They promoted a total of four products by Hum Nutrition, Phlur, and Sephora Collection that could be purchased through Sephora’s Instagram Checkout.

Estée Lauder Companies-owned brands have also launched shoppable IGTV videos. Estée Lauder has posted eight shoppable IGTV videos since July, with the most recent on September 25; Clinique has published four since August.

Valledor said shoppable videos are especially primed to gain popularity during the ongoing pandemic as consumers search for product information online.

“Testers are so key to that brick-and-mortar experience,” she said. “The inability to use testers is has really forced us to reconsider how to demonstrate products. With the lack of a tester, the next best thing is to watch somebody else use it.”

Instagram’s new livestream shopping videos can also be posted to IGTV with shopping links. Benefit Cosmetics’ July 15 and July 29 shoppable Instagram livestreams are also featured on the brand’s IGTV account with product listings, and Tina Craig’s July 27 shoppable livestream featuring her brand U Beauty was also reposted to IGTV.

For now, all of these new social shopping features remain nascent, and brands are undergoing experiments to see which new format sticks.

“Everybody in our industry is really using this opportunity to rethink their marketing strategies and rethink their sales strategies,” said Valledor. “We all have to try new things, and we can’t be afraid of these new technologies. We have to see what tools work.”

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