Selling Your Products Through Instagram Shopping
There’s no question that Instagram has quickly become an ideal social media platform for shopping, and for brands who wish to sell their products through the medium. Instagram has always been known for its high quality images, and that makes it perfect for featuring any number of products which can clearly be seen by viewers. The number of users currently active on Instagram is somewhere in the neighborhood of one billion, and of those, approximately 600 million use the platform to search out and find new products.
Instagram executives are well aware of this fact, and are facilitating the process even more to make it easier all the time for people who are inclined to purchase products on the platform. In February 2018, Instagram Shopping was launched, and that enabled brands to post products directly in their Stories and other content, taking customers directly to the product they desired to purchase.
Early in 2019, a checkout feature was added, which meant that shoppers didn’t even have to leave the platform anymore in order to make their purchases – all purchases could be handled right within Instagram. If your brand would like to take advantage of this exciting new possibility for featuring and selling your products through Instagram, continue reading below, to find out the best way to set that up on the platform.
Establishing shoppable Instagram posts
Every month, at least 130 million users on Instagram tap to discover product tags embedded within shopping posts, and that means this is a vast resource which can be utilized by brands to realize potential sales. In order to get started with setting up your shoppable posts, you’ll need to follow the following steps:
- establish a business profile – since only businesses are allowed to sell products on the platform, you’ll have to establish a business profile. The only items which are allowable for sale are physical items which comply with the merchant agreement and commerce policy set forth by Facebook
- set up your product catalog – you can use either BigCommerce or Shopify to set up your product catalog on Facebook, and these will be the items that you tag in your Instagram Stories and posts. You’ll also have to add a Shop Section in Facebook to accommodate the process
- wait for approval – generally after you’ve set up your shopping catalog and Shop Section on Facebook, you’ll need for your business account to be reviewed by Instagram and approved for shopping. This often takes several days, and you’ll know whether or not you been approved when you receive a notification from Instagram
- turn on Shopping features – once you receive notification of approval from the platform, you can turn on Shopping features within your account, and after that it’s a simple matter of adding specific products to any of your Stories or posts.
Adding products to Instagram posts
In order to add products to your Instagram posts or stories, there’s a very simple procedure you’ll have to follow, which includes the following steps:
- upload your images – when you upload your images to Instagram, you’ll have the capability of tagging as many as five items for each image, and if you’re sharing a carousel post, that capability increases to 20
- add a caption – after associating the product images with the post, you can write a caption and tag the products. After having written your caption, you would just select Tag Products, which is an option that appears below Tag People, after you have the Shopping feature enabled for your business account. Remember that you cannot tag both people and products in the same post
- type in the item name – when you begin typing in any item name that you’re intending to tag, Instagram will draw items from your Facebook catalog which are a clean match with the words you’re entering, and that allows you to tag any product you’ve entered in your product catalog
- share your post – after you’ve tagged the products that you intend to, you’re ready to share the post with whomever you wish. Any of your posts which are tagged with products will be displayed in your feed, with a small shopping bag identifier in the upper right corner.
Setting up shoppable Instagram Stories
In September 2018, Instagram launched Shoppable Stories, and made it accessible to users all around the globe. Any business which has been approved and is set up to use Instagram Shopping has the capability of adding a product sticker to any Story. Whenever a potential customer taps on the product sticker, they will be directed to a Product Details page which is very similar to what they might see if they clicked on a shopping post which is contained directly in their own feed. This Product Details page will display additional product images from the catalog you set up in Facebook, along with all the details you’ve entered, as well as a link which will take the user to your site, so that purchases can be made.
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow in order to set up shoppable Instagram Stories:
- add your story, either an image or a video
- click on the sticker icon located in the top left corner, and choose the product option
- add your product by typing in the product name which matches an entry in your product catalog. At this point you have the option of altering the color of the sticker to suit your taste
- products which have been tagged in your Stories are always depicted with an icon that looks like a shopping bag. Users have the option to tap on that shopping bag icon in order to see all product details, just as they would in one of your posts.
The checkout feature was added to Instagram in March 2019, for the express purpose of keeping users on the platform while making a purchase. It is also an attempt on the part of Instagram to make the whole shopping experience more convenient for users, as well as more secure. This also avoids the necessity of having to login and enter information in multiple locations, so it really is a very welcome feature which has been made available to users of the platform. With this kind of ease and convenience available to Instagram users, it’s highly beneficial for brands wishing to increase their product visibility in the social media to establish shoppable posts and Stories on Instagram.