It certainly isn’t the newest, most revolutionary trend online. Still, Instagram shopping has managed to be a very profitable channel where small and large businesses do generate sales. For most online retailers, at least it is a very important point of emphasis. By using visually captivating content and optimising ad placement, dropshipping and regular retail stores have a made a ton of money from selling goods on IG. If you still haven’t got wind of it, you came to the right place. We will display, analyse and explain how most Instagram shopping features work and how to implement it with your business for the best possible results. Let’s begin!
First off – set up your shop
Since Instagram is owned by Facebook (which the latter is so keen to remind every time you launch the IG app), all Instagram shopping are connected to the Facebook shop system. So, to sell products on Insta, the same store must be up and running on a Facebook page. To do that, you must:
- Create or own a Facebook page that will sell products
Tip: Watch this video on Youtube to create your page in 5-6 minutes
2. Add products for sale via ‘Add Product’ or integrate your store via a third-party platform (e.g. Shopify, etc.). Approval usually doesn’t take long (few hours tops)
Tip: This guide from SocialMediaExaminer will help you out with setting up a Facebook shop section
3. Once that is done, navigate to your Instagram profile page and follow these steps:
- Open the menu in the top right corner
- Press ‘Settings’
- Select ‘Business’
- Push the bottom blue text that says ‘Sign up for shopping’
- You will have to authenticate your FB store page and sync a product catalogue (or individual product) with Instagram
- Instagram will then approve your page (can take a few days), and you are ready to sell
Do not forget that Facebook and Instagram deny the sale of certain goods. Make sure that the product you sell is eligible for these social media before getting into it. To run an Instagram shopping operation, you must also fulfil the following criteria:
- You must be located in a supported market
- You must sell physical goods
- Your goods must be compliant to Instagram terms & rules
- The Instagram shop must be run from a business account
Immediately after setting up – check out how everything looks
Once you allow Instagram users to browse through your catalogue, go and check on everything to make sure your virtual shelves look neat and professional. Take note of this clean look from luxury watch manufacturer and seller Tag Heuer.
However, the most important part of selling on IG is the ability to tag products in your photos. This is arguably the most useful ingredient in boosting sales.
When you visit particular profiles on Instagram, you can see a white shopping bag icon in the top-right of particular thumbnails.
This means that that particular photo has a tagged product. Once you upload a picture that contains the image of a product you sell, you can tag that product and help any IG user buy it very quickly. A nice picture of a watch (like the example above) can make watch enthusiasts mouth water and thus sellers can take advantage of nice montages and professional visual elements to make even more sales!
Try testing it out and see how everything works. Once that is complete, you can get down to other important aspects!
Your success depends on exposure
Just as with regular IG content, becoming ‘viral’ is a key part of becoming a successful Instagram store. Your posts, branded content and follower counts have to be high. Only large numbers can help maximise profits.
As this graph from Invespcro shows, average conversion rates (people seeing vs people buying) are around 2-4%. This means that, on average, from 1000 people who look at your products online, 20-40 should turn into buyers. Get 10000 people to look at your photos and the number of buyers should increase as well!
This is probably the most tedious and difficult aspect to control. Thus, many businesses, especially those who are just starting, can benefit from a slight push in the right direction. The obvious choices are to buy shoutouts from influencers and IG pages. However, there is a significant downside to this as much research is needed, and the cost of a promo post can reach thousands of dollars.
If you were to buy IG likes, video views, followers or comments, you would purchase an affordable source of engagement which would boost the credibility and prestige of your page. High engagement numbers might also push your posts into ‘Explore’ feed where even more people might see them.
Don’t worry, you can buy high-quality likes and followers that you can retain, not just statistics. Buysocialmediamarketing.com helps you do just that!
Make sure people can properly shop through posts
Once your shop is up and running, and you have a product catalogue, linked with IG store, it is time to make everything work. An example of a properly tagged shoppable post is below!
Remember how we mentioned the little shopping bag icon? If you upload a picture of a product, make sure to always tag it. Chances are, if a person (potential buyer) likes the product in your picture or a description of a picture which contains the product – at least 2-4% of them will buy it. Seeing as they can merely click a few times and order, IG shopping and tagging products really make sense.
Here’s a clean and straightforward guide from Instagram Help on tagging products in your posts. Product tagging is really simple and works just like filter application or location tagging, no special tools are needed!
Shoppable posts – more in depth
People who look at a shoppable post, which you uploaded, will have a unique set of icons, helping them identify the products that are ‘For sale’. When clicked on, the product will prompt a unique black text bar that contains the name of the product and the price (just as in the previous pic).
If a person clicks on the text bar, they will be quickly redirected to a new screen where they can read more, add the goods to cart and check out.
If there are more tagged products in the pic, they can click on the shopping bag icon on the bottom-left side to prompt the black text bars for each product.
Upon selecting a particular product in the photo, and clicking on it, users will be redirected to a more focused area where they can browse more content with the said product.
For example, the potential buyer can see all posts that contain the product, products featured together, more shoppable posts from the same store and more items that the shop can sell. There is also a possibility to be redirected to an e-shop where the buyer can proceed to purchase or if buyers are located in the United States – they can buy it directly on Instagram through Instagram checkout.
The shop section on your profile
If your profile has ‘Instagram shopping’ set up, buyers can navigate to your profile and browse the Instagram store from there as well. The ‘Shop’ is indicated by the Shopping bag icon just below Story highlights and near the icons for layout changes and watching tagged photos.
Once buyers click on it, they are prompted with a slightly different view. There is usually a 2×2 layout of posts of products for sale. Buyers can see a thumbnail, product name and the price. They are also able to save something they like for future review. We showed how it looks a bit earlier.
After a person finds something they like, they will click on it and be redirected to the same Checkout page we also mentioned in a paragraph a bit higher up. Besides pictures, buyers can see product descriptions. And, if they are not from the US, they are given a quick link to an e-shop website where they can buy that particular product which they were just watching. So basically, clicking on shoppable posts just redirects people to the Instagram store, if you were wondering.
Checkout on Website or Instagram
The checkout button deserves a bit more attention. On shopping posts, it is the large blue screen-wide bar that looks rather distinctive. As a button meant for finalising purchases, it certainly does its job.
However, the ‘Checkout on Instagram’ button can have one of two functions:
- ‘View on Website’ – which, upon clicking, will redirect the buyer to the online store where they can check out and purchase a product
- ‘Checkout on Instagram’ – available when buyers are in the United States. Buying is available without ever leaving Instagram.
The latter feature was released in March 2019 but is only available in the United States as of now. We sincerely hope that it is rolled out in the EU and other countries shortly.
Using Instagram Checkout is fairly simple. It works just like any other checkout form, it’s just that it is on IG rather than being on a website. US buyers select the product, apply the desired features (e.g. colour, size, etc.), select the shipping method, fill out delivery information and add a payment method or select one that is already available. After the aforementioned steps are complete, buyers can place orders and buy the goods.
IG acts as a mediator between the buyer and the seller. The social media will notify buyers about the shipping and delivery status as well.
Browsing shops on ‘explore’
There is also a possibility to look exclusively at Instagram shops. Users can navigate to the ‘Explore’ section and choose ‘Shop’ from the top menu bar.
Once they do that, they are prompted with the vast abundance of online stores that offer many great things (usually focused around the users’ likes and preferences). Think of it like explore, just for sold products.
Most people ‘save’ before they buy
There isn’t much conclusive research on this (with precise figures, that is), but both buyers and sellers agree that before a lot of purchases happen, the desired product is added to the ‘Saved’ list.
By saving products, most users can have an easier way of comparing products that they seem to like. It can also house products from different stores, which means that people are able to compare various offers in one place instead of jumping through endless tabs on browsers. Saved products are added to a specific ‘Wishlist’ which users access through ‘Saved posts’.
Wishlists look distinct and unique to other saved posts, but it is a straightforward and easy way of accessing all sorts of products that one might want to buy. So for sellers – if you see that your shoppable posts and products are frequently saved, you should be expecting sales pretty soon.