Over the last few years, Instagram has evolved from a photo-sharing app to a powerful marketplace. Not only does its network grow rapidly, but it also has strong sales potential as 60% of users want to discover and buy new products in-app.
It´s no secret that the holiday shopping season is a perfect time for businesses of all sizes and shapes to boost seasonal sales. The National Retail Federation (NRF) claims that holiday sales will increase to a total of $730.7 billion and the majority of customers plan to spend 57% of their holiday budgets online, totaling $124.1 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data.
If you want to drive e-commerce sales on Instagram, adapt your Instagram marketing strategy for the festive period. Moreover, there are some proven ways to make the most out of its popular content format, so you can read this article to find out how to boost seasonal sales with Instagram Stories this holiday shopping season.
The Popularity of Instagram Stories
Back in 2016, Instagram launched its short-lived content format, known as Instagram Stories. In just three years, this content has become extremely popular among users: over 500 million people watch or create Instagram Stories daily, Stories are growing 15X faster than feeds, and this content format has increased the time spent on the platform from 15 to 32 minutes a day.
Simply put, using Instagram Stories is one of the Instagram marketing trends that helps brands get business results. Why? With a short lifespan of 24 hours, Instagram Stories create a sense of urgency as users are afraid of missing out on something important. Most companies realize the power of Instagram Stories, and the numbers speak for themselves:
- About 96% of US marketers intent to continue using Stories ads
- 50% of businesses create at least one Story a month
- 1/3 of the most-viewed Instagram Stories come from businesses
For brands, this means a perfect opportunity to grab the target audience’s attention and encourage followers to make impulse purchases. In other words, using Instagram Stories is a must if you want to boost seasonal sales.
Moreover, several business-specific features help both brands and customers make the shopping process easier.
How to Make the Most Out of Instagram Stories Features
With the popularity of Instagram Stories, companies seek out actionable ways to stand out from the crowd of competitors who use this short-lived content to engage their target audience.
Luckily, Instagram rolls out business-specific features that help to tailor your Instagram Stories to your customers’ needs and wants. Here are four Instagram Stories features you need to give a try if you want to increase seasonal sales:
- Locations and hashtags: Whether you sell products online or you want to attract customers to your local store, using geotags and hashtags is a proven way to target the right audience who lives in your area. Obviously, you can target any region with Instagram, but this means nothing if you don’t deliver your products to that area. Thus, using locations and hashtags helps to make sure your followers can get your products on time.
- Product stickers: It’s no secret that the majority of Instagrammers use this network to discover new products. If you want to sell your products in-app, you need to take care of your potential customers, and using product stickers is a must. When you add product stickers in Instagram Stories, you make it easier for interested followers to learn more about the featured products without leaving the app (the prices and description), so it helps to make the purchase decisions faster.
- Swipe-up links: For most companies, a website is a great place to turn interested visitors into customers. It’s no wonder that businesses of all sizes want to drive website traffic with Instagram. Luckily, there’s a way to take your engaged followers to your site if you have 10k+ followers on Instagram. With an opportunity to add clickable Instagram Stories links, you let your followers read more about featured items on your site.
- The countdown sticker: Holiday shoppers want to find the best deals, so there’s no guarantee they will buy from you even if you have a great product. However, it’s important to remind them about your offer, so using the countdown sticker can be a good option if you want to create a sense of urgency and promote a seasonal sale. This feature allows users to set a reminder for when the countdown is over or share it with their followers.
In 2019, it’s no longer a problem to sell products with Instagram Stories as many features help to convert engaged followers into customers. Plus, some Instagram Stories ideas help to grab holiday shoppers’ attention and drive sales.
4 Instagram Stories Ideas to Boost Seasonal Sales
The holiday shopping season is a goldmine for businesses, so they put much time, effort, and budget into promoting their products during the festive period. To stand out from the crowd, you need to know what Instagram Stories ideas have the best chances to hook your audience.
1. Announce Seasonal Products
Each season has its themes, traditions, and seasonal products. For example, people are excited about Starbucks pumpkin spice latte during the fall and they are excited about holiday mugs and sweaters during the winter.
Since seasonal products are only available for a short period of time, it makes them more appealing to holiday shoppers. When you announce seasonal products via Instagram Stories, you grab the attention of potential customers and utilize nostalgia which leads to sales.
Just take a look at an example from ASOS. Not only does the company publish user-generated content that features a seasonal product, but it also shows how many days we have until Christmas to encourage followers to take the desired action faster:
No matter how good your products are, it’s more likely your customers are ready to give new launches a try. The holiday season is a perfect time to announce new temporary products that can encourage higher sales so as not to lose out.
2. Share Time-Limited Deals
During the holiday season, people spend their budgets on buying gifts, so it’s no wonder they seek out offers that help them save money.
As specified in the NRF report, sharing sales and price discounts is a key factor for 71% of customers when it comes to choosing a brand and it also helps to acquire new customers as it motivates around 95% of holiday shoppers to buy from a new retailer.
Most marketers know that time-limited deals encourage customers to make the purchase decision faster as they don’t want to miss a discount. Brands like Bareminerals share their time-limited deals via Instagram Stories and it gives great results. Since this type of content is available for a short period of time, interested followers hasten to take the desired action.
If you want to hook your target audience, you need to consider creating engaging social media videos as Instagram video content is gaining in popularity. People pay close attention to animated Instagram Stories, so it’s a proven way to deliver your message to the target audience.
3. Publish Seasonal Tips and Tricks
The holiday season is the busiest period during the year. To get in the festive mood, people decorate their houses, watch Christmas movies, and buy gifts.
Although most people enjoy the festive period, the majority of them are looking for seasonal tips and tricks to make the most out of the season. For brands, this means a great opportunity to take care of your customers, prove your niche expertise, and boost sales.
Whether you want to share festive décor ideas, funny seasonal memes, or holiday gift guides, the main idea is to publish content that leverages the power of nostalgia and reminds users about the holiday shopping season as well as helps customers find actionable tips and tricks. For example, Brit+Co shares Christmas cookie recipes to cause a buzz around their company.
Many people crave for holiday inspiration. When you inspire your followers, you evoke an emotive response which affects consumer shopping behaviors.
4. Offer Free Shipping
Having an appealing product on sale isn’t enough to convert your visitors into customers. Modern shoppers consider shipping costs before getting to the checkout page and 75% of customers want to get free delivery on their online orders. If you want to drive seasonal sales, you need to inform your followers that they can expect free shipping.
Check out how Lulus did it on Instagram:
If you can’t afford to offer free shipping year-round, you can launch a holiday free order shipping campaign to attract more holiday shoppers.
When you promote free shipping via Instagram Stories, you don’t post promising information on the main feed, so only interested followers can enjoy the perks. What is more, it creates a sense of urgency which helps to get more customers.
No matter what your business size is, the holiday shopping season is a perfect time to drive eCommerce sales. Moreover, it’s proven that people buy more during the festive period. If you want to promote your products and boost seasonal sales on Instagram, consider using ephemeral content.
Instagram Stories are available for a short period of time, so they create the fear of missing out (FOMO) effect which encourages people to take the desired action faster. What is more, there are many Instagram Stories features that make the shopping process easier which leads to impulse buying and seasonal sales.