The “Shop now” feature for Instagram launched in Japan in June 2018. This feature allows users to shop products in a seamless way when using instagram. Before the Shop Now feature was introduced, URL within posts could not be displayed as link, so brands put just one URL in their profiles, directing users to visit their profile for the link. This process to reach the purchase page is complicated and discouraged users from purchasing the products. Thanks to the Shop Now feature, users are able to shift to a product purchase page right away. It enables Japanese users to purchase when they are most interested and willing to buy, which creates better engagement.
Noin Cosmetics Japan
NOIN cosmetics is a Japanese cosmetic shopping platform that mainly operates through their smartphone app. They handle more than 7,000 products, mainly beauty products. Their Instagram account has 250K followers, the majority of whom are women in their 20s. While many beauty brands often post Instagram type photos, NOIN focuses on showcasing products and information about them on each post. Also they provide makeup techniques by utilising IGTV. Providing a lot of product information and connecting with users has helped them improve engagement and more users purchase products.
Using Shop Now in Japan
To be able to use this function, brands have to follow some steps and get approval from Instagram. Although some brands feel that this process is complicated and takes time to get approval, major Japanese brands, especially cosmetic beauty brands and apparel brands have already started this function. BASE, a Japanese app which provides users an easy-to-implement e-commerce platform, also teamed up with Instagram making it even easier to shop from BASE’s 800,000 stores.
Using Japanese influencers and the Shop Now feature
Instagram is expanding their Shop features and now allows influencers to add shopping tags to their posts. This function however is in a testing stage at the moment in America, and hasn’t started yet in Japan. However, if this feature starts in Japan, users will be able to purchase products not only from brands’ official instagram account but also from their favourite influencers.
The Future of Shop Now in Japan
If the Shop Now feature is also rolled out to influencers in Japan we can expect a sharp increase in sales from influencers accounts. As of today the “Shop Now” feature has already encouraged more Japanese companies to enter Instagram-based marketing.