Instagram has come a long way since its launch in 2010, and what once served as a photo-sharing app now gives businesses easy means to reach out to potential customers. For some time now, this social media platform has made it easy for your target audience to find your products or services, and giving them the ability to shop during the discovery stage can be great for business. With scores of brands embracing what this platform has to offer, it might be worth your while to take a look at what the Instagram shopping feature can do for you.
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Instagram in Numbers
Instagram has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and it has continued to remain a great platform for digital marketing. Consider these stats put together by Sprout Social to look at the potential it holds to increase your online sales.
- Instagram has around two billion active users.
- The second most common activity on this platform is to follow and research brands.
- Around half of its users find a brand more interesting if they spot its ad on Instagram.
- Around 70% of shoppers turn to Instagram before making a purchase.
- Around 90% of its users follow at least one business.
In addition, data collated by EarthWeb about Instagram users indicates that:
- Around 130 million users check shopping posts on the platform each month.
- 81% of users use it to research products.
- 72% of millennials use this platform to purchase beauty products.
- 87% of Generation Z users turn to it for holiday shopping.
- 72% of users say the platform plays a role in influencing their buying decisions.
What is Instagram Shopping?
In simple terms, Instagram Shopping comprises a set of features that give businesses the means to sell their products or services through photo- or video-based content. You may use this platform to tell your brand’s story and highlight its offerings in a seamless manner. Once you set up your Instagram shop, your target audience can use it to go through what you have to offer and make purchases.
Uploading photos or videos and tagging products using their names and prices increases the likelihood of generating sales, which is perfect for businesses looking at reaping the benefits of eCommerce.
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How to Set Up Instagram Shopping?
Instead of getting people to visit your website, Instagram gives them the means to make purchases through the app, and getting started is rather straightforward. If you’re wondering how to get approved for Instagram shopping, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps.
Determine if Instagram Is Right for You
- United States
- United Kingdom
Instagram also requires that your business should have its own website domain, so if it does not, you will need to address this aspect first. In addition, you need to make the product listings on your Instagram shop available for purchase through your business website. If you need a new website or plan to revamp your existing one, consider using the services of a custom web design company for optimum results.
Create an Account
If you feel Instagram Shopping is a good fit for your business, you need to register as a business or a creator. Once you verify that your Instagram profile is a creator or business account, you need to link it to your Facebook page. Setting up a shop in Commerce Manager requires creating a Business Manager account, which you then use to administer your pages, ad accounts, and the people who are part of your team.
Provide Details of Your Shop
An important part of setting up the shopping feature on Instagram is to provide the details of your shop in Commerce Manager. This requires:
- Choosing a suitable checkout method for your customers
- Selecting your sales channels
- Adding products by connecting your shop to a new product catalog or an existing one
With the sales channels, you get to choose from Instagram and Facebook, or you may select both.
Add a Catalog
When it comes to adding products to your Instagram shop, you get two options. One is to use an existing database and the other is to enter the details of each product manually. In both cases, you need to use Commerce Manager. Instagram lets you integrate a product database from popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Feedonomics, CommerceHub, and ChannelAdvisor.
Once you’re done with all these steps, you need to submit your account for review. Instagram takes a few days to complete the approval process. If approved, you may turn on the Instagram shop feature by making the required changes in your account’s settings.
Instagram Shopping Features List
Instagram’s shopping features move beyond the app’s conventional features like photos, stories, and reels, although there’s often an overlap between them. Thanks to these features, businesses and creators can give Instagram users access to all the information they seek and encourage them to make purchases.
Your Instagram Shop serves as your storefront or in-app shopping destination. This is where a user ends up upon clicking the “View Shop” button on any of your product pages or anywhere on your account. This is also where you get to showcase your products, collections, and ongoing offers.
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This feature lets you organize your products/services into groups so users may find it easier to browse through your offerings. You may choose to highlight your best-selling items in this section as well. The representation of collections takes place through two sections. The above-the-fold section comes with a display image, under which you may add a textual description.
Product Details Pages
As the name suggests, a product details page (PDP) carries all the required information about a particular product. This may include price, images, product description, sizes, shipping details, and return policies. A product page also offers recommendations of related products.
It’s possible to create product detail pages in different ways.
- Shop catalog. Once you set up an Instagram shop, your catalog’s products show up in your shop as well as in all tagged content. PDPs extract this information from your catalog.
- User-generated content. PDPs can display approved user-generated content to show how people use your products in different ways.
- Organic posts. It is possible to showcase your products/services and get people to make purchases from your organic Instagram posts without a shop or a catalog.
When users see a product tag on a piece of content, they know it’s shoppable. This way, they may tap on your content to get more information about your offerings. Instagram gives you the ability to showcase up to five products from your catalog in your stories, reels, and feed. By doing this, you increase the likelihood of your content showing up in spaces that your target audience visits when it’s prone to making purchases.
Ads With Product Tags
Instagram ads with product tags hold the potential to increase your reach significantly. While you may use the Ad Manager to create new ads from scratch, you also have the option of boosting your existing shoppable posts. These ads can encourage people to Checkout on Instagram or drive them to your website.
How your customers get to check out depends on the market in which you operate. As of now, the Checkout on Instagram feature is available only for businesses and creators in the U.S. This feature lets users make purchases without leaving the app. Instagram deposits payouts to sellers’ bank accounts in 8 to 10 business days.
Businesses that don’t qualify for Checkout on Instagram can still use Instagram Shopping to divert shoppers to product pages on their own websites.
This feature gives you the ability to announce upcoming product launches. It is available only if you qualify for Checkout on Instagram. Users get to view details of your launch and they can set reminders to make purchases upon availability. For example, you may use a countdown and reminder sticker in your stories which shoppers may use to receive notifications when your product launches. Several prominent brands have announced product launches on Instagram, some of which include Adidas, Nike, Chanel, Zara, DJI, and Nintendo.
Shopping From Creators
The Instagram creator marketplace gives businesses the means to collaborate with creators/influencers to generate more sales. You get to filter creators based on different factors like age, gender, interests, and number of followers. Then, Instagram users get to make purchases directly from creators who earn commissions for promoting your products to their followers. A creator’s shoppable post carries a “paid partnership with” mark. Like product launches, this feature is available only if you qualify for Checkout on Instagram.
Although a popular option in the past, Instagram stopped offering Live Shopping as of March 16, 2023.
Making the Most of the Shop Feature on Instagram
While Instagram has worked as an effective marketing tool for increasing conversions for several years, it’s now a great platform to generate in-app sales as well. Incidentally, there is no separate Instagram shopping app, and users need to use the same app to make purchases.
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Once Instagram approves and activates your account, you may start tagging products in your content, be it reels, stories, or images. You may use the product-tagging sticker in your stories to let users know where they may find your products.
Even if you don’t qualify for Checkout on Instagram, you can still use this platform to drive traffic to your eCommerce website. An analysis of 50 brands by BigCommerce indicates that Instagram Shopping helped increase Native Union’s Instagram traffic by 2,666% and resulted in a 20% increase in revenue for Magnolia Boutique.
Creating posts that convert is a very important aspect of finding success with Instagram Shopping, and you need to pay attention to different factors for optimum results.
- Focus on consumer behavior. Remember that users don’t turn to Instagram with the primary aim of making purchases, so you need to provide value in ways that encourage them to engage with your brand and build connections. Since social media users tend to have short attention spans, you need to make the process quick and simple. Use product tags in all the posts that feature products, so people may find the information they seek easily.
- Use strong calls-to-action (CTAs). Using strong CTAs in your shoppable posts encourages users to carry out desired actions, which could be learning more about your offerings or making purchases.
- Pay attention to aesthetics. Ensuring that you have a cohesive Instagram grid is crucial to generate sales. This requires paying attention to aspects like your brand’s style, the use of colors and fonts, variety in content, and the overall layout of your grid. Ideally, you should aim to have a grid with no more than a few filters and one that streamlines the look and feel of your content.
Instagram Shopping has served as a boon for several businesses and creators, giving them the means to increase their revenue through the use of different types of content. It also works well for the platform’s users, given that they get to make purchases without leaving the app. While access to some Instagram shopping features is limited to those who qualify for Checkout on Instagram, even the ones who don’t stand to gain significantly if they play their cards right.
Remember that Instagram has given enough signals to indicate that it has made shops a priority, and if you’re still unsure about how to proceed, partnering with a digital marketing agency that specializes in this realm might be in your best interest.