Instagram Shop: A New Way to Sell and Discover Products

Instagram Shop
Instagram Shop is the latest e-commerce tool that is set to transform how businesses sell and market products.

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Instagram has grown enormously over the years, and its horizons continue to widen. Instagram Shop is the latest Instagram e-commerce tool that allows brands and stores to tag their products on their posts. This tool is going to change how businesses make money on Instagram. Businesses now more than ever need new outlets of earning revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instagram Shop photo example.
Image credit: Instagram

If you are not using Instagram to advertise your products, you are missing out on potential sales and exposure. Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, and more than 500 million use the platform every day. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure you are using Instagram shopping posts as effectively as possible.

But what exactly is Instagram Shop, how will it help my business, and how do you set up a shop?

In this blog post, I’m going to cover all the relevant details.

What is Instagram Shop?

Instagram Shop is an engaging shopfront for users to discover your best and new products without leaving the app. You can share featured products through your organic posts and stories, or help people find your products in Search and Explore.

You can tag up to five of your products in a post. Tagging a product is as simple as tagging people. When a customer sees your post a shopping bag icon will pop up on your image. When the user taps on the photo, they will be able to see the prices of the featured products. Also, you can tag a product in your Instagram Stories where the user can tap a sticker to get more information about the product; and proceed to purchase.

Instagram Shop checkout for products.

Instagram Shop was rolled out at the same time as Facebook Pay, which is a new way to make payments securely on Facebook platforms, including Instagram. It is only available in the United States at the moment. Facebook will provide Purchase Protection on eligible products that you buy using checkout.

Instagram Shop has expanded from only being available in the United States to other countries, after positive results.

In the future, Facebook plans to add a Live Shopping feature on Instagram. It will allow users to shop on Live in real-time.

Future Instagram Live shopping feature.
Instagram Live shopping

Advantages of Using Instagram Shop

The photo-sharing app has evolved from being a favorite for travelers posting their vacation photos to now attracting all sorts of influencers, advertisers, and brands. It’s fair to say at this point that your audience and competitors are using Instagram.

Laura Dover, Global Digital Communication Manager at Barbour, said that “Since we started to use the feature, our sales from Instagram have increased by 42%, and traffic to our website from Instagram is up 98%.”

Using Instagram Shop there are three main benefits:

1. Makes Shopping Easier for Consumers

There is a lot of clutter online.

As companies compete for attention, getting consumers to quit what they are doing on social media to visit your shop can be hard. This is where Instagram is trying to fill the gap. Shoppers can easily go to your Instagram profile to view your catalog of products, check prices, and learn more details about a product.

Shoppers can choose the size and color and move on to payment still on the app because of Instagram Checkout. Currently, Checkout is only available in the United States. When you sell products and use Instagram Checkout, there is a selling fee that is 5% per shipment or a $0.40 flat fee for shipments that are $8.00 or less.

Instagram Checkout Example.
Photo Credit: Instagram

If Instagram Checkout isn’t available shoppers can purchase by clicking on View on Website.

If the shopper isn’t ready to buy, they can save a product by tapping on the label icon where it is saved to Wishlist.

Instagram Shop Save to Wishlist Example.
Save item to Wishlist

After a shopper places their first order all of their information (name, email, shipping address, and billing information) is stored in Facebook’s database so they can send you updates about the order.

2. It Helps You to Directly Market Your Products

Instagram is a good platform to connect your target audience and strengthen customer relations. Despite this, Instagram does not allow businesses to have more than one link on their profile or a clickable link on a post.

This makes it harder for business to promote products.

You constantly have to be updating the link in your profile.

This is why Instagram Shop is awesome, it lets you combine your Instagram content with your store.

You can put product promotions in your Stories and posts. Now there’s no need to bother your followers by saying, “Click the link in our bio!”

3. Show Your Products to High Purchase Intent Users

If you tag a product in a post, it will appear on the Instagram Search and Explore tab.

Search and Explorer page example.
Instagram Search and Explore tab

By increasing your engagement on Instagram through practices such as optimizing your hashtags, you can have your products appear in the Search and Explore tab. Your

You will be introducing your products to your target audience since the Search and Explore tab is personalized and focused on the preference of the user and past engagement.

Users looking at the Search and Explore tab will likely purchase your product. There are still window shoppers, but if someone is on the Shop tab, they are in “shopping mode.” Bonus points if your product ends up on their wishlist.

In short, Instagram Shop is an effective way of boosting your sales. So, how do you create a shop?

How To Open Your Instagram Shop

Ready to start sharing shopping posts on Instagram with your followers? Let get started!

Before you can share your first shoppable post, there are a few steps you need to complete.

Step 1: Meet Requirements

If you are a business looking to open up an Instagram Shop before, doing so you must meet the following requirements:

  • Comply with Instagram policies
  • Represent your business and domain
    • Your Instagram professional account must contain product listings that are available for direct purchase from your website or Checkout on Instagram.
    • Your Instagram professional account must represent the store or website associated with the domain provided. To confirm you own your domain, Instagram may require you to complete the Domain Verification process.
  • Be located in a supported market
    • Your account must be located in one of the supported markets, which can be viewed here.
  • Demonstrate trustworthiness
    • Your Instagram professional account must have demonstrated trustworthiness, including an authentic, established presence. This may also include keeping a sufficient follower base.
  • Provide accurate information and follow best practice
    • Product information listed cannot have misleading pricing and availability of information. Your refund and return policies must be displayed and easily accessible from your website or on Instagram.

If you do not meet these requirements at any time you may lose access to not only Instagram Shop but all other Facebook Commerce platforms, features, or have your account disabled.

Now, let’s move on to the next step to opening your shop.

Step 2: Make your account a business or creator account

Go to account settings and click Switch to Professional account then click Business or Creator.

Switch to professional Instagram account.
Switch to Professional account
Creator or Business account.
Creator or Business Account

Step 3: Connect to your Facebook Page

  1. Go to your business’s Instagram profile.
  2. Select “Edit Profile.”
  3. Under the “Public Business Information” section, select “Page.”
  4. Choose a Facebook Page from your Pages that you’d like to connect.
  5. If you do not have a Facebook Page select “Create a New Facebook Page.”
  6. Note: Facebook Page Shop is not required, only a Facebook Page.

Step 4: Upload products to a catalog

Here are two ways to connect your catalog to your Instagram business account:

  • E-commerce Platform:  If you use Shopify or BigCommerce, you can choose to set up a shop on Facebook directly through those platforms.
  • Catalog Manager: This option is best if you plan on connecting to an existing catalog you already manage or have access to. You can also create a new catalog in Catalog Manager.

Step 5: Account Review

Once you have successfully connected your product catalog to your account, you need to submit your account for review. To do this follow these quick instructions:

  1. Go to your business’s Instagram profile and tap the three horizontal lines.
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Sign up for shopping.
  4. Follow the steps to submit your account for review.
  5. Visit “Shopping” in your “Settings” at any time to check your status.

Account review usually take a couple of days but can take longer.

Step 6: Turn On Shopping Features

Yay! Your account is finally approved!🥳 

To start turn on Shopping features. A quick note that if you do not see Shopping as an option in your Settings, then your account has not been reviewed or was not approved.

  1. Go to your business’s Instagram profile and tap the three horizontal bars.
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Tap “Business,” then tap “Shopping.
  4. Select the “Product Catalog” you want to connect to your account.
  5. Select “Done.”

Step 7: Add Shopping Tags

Now that you have activated Shopping, you can add Shopping Tags to showcase products in pictures and videos across your Feed and Stories. To tag products on an Instagram post upload a photo of how you normally would, and follow these steps:

  1. Tap “Add Photo
  2. Add a caption
  3. Tap on “Tag Products
  4. Tap on photo
  5. Search for product
  6. Select product
  7. Tap “Done
  8. Tap “Share

If you want to add a shopping sticker in your story, choose an image and follow the steps below:

  1. Tap the sticker icon in the top right corner.
  2. Select the product sticker from the sticker tray.
  3. Select the product from your catalog that you want to feature.
  4. Move the product sticker to where you would like it to appear in your story.
  5. Change the text color of the product sticker by tapping the sticker.
  6. Share your story.

Check out how skincare brand Fresh uses shopping stickers to promote a new product:

Skincare brand Fresh using Stories shopping sticker feature.
Instagram Stories Shopping Sticker

Final Thoughts

I have covered just about everything you need to know to get started on Instagram Shop.

Incorporating your store with Instagram and Facebook is an influential way to grow your e-commerce store. To grow sales on Instagram: tag products in posts, add product stickers in Stories, use the right hashtags, nail the caption, and have attractive content.

While at first learning how to sell on Instagram can be a bit intimidating, it’s much easier than it seems. When you get the hang of it, it will bring in new people that could turn out to be your next customers.

Start by following the guide above to become an approved Instagram merchant, and you can begin to make posts with tagged products making Instagram shopping more convenient for your followers!

For more information about Instagram and its marketing capabilities, check out our article on Instagram promotions.

What do you think about Instagram Shop? Let us know in the comments below!

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