Instagram is now the place to shop till you drop.
While there is no Orange Julius for mid-slee snack, Instagram Shopping brings the retail experience to social networks to reach more than 1,000,000 monthly users.
Instead of directing customers to your website via your Instagram account, Instagram Shopping allows them select and purchase products directly from the app.
An Instagram Shopping post is viewed by more than 130 million people each month, which is a lot of foot traffic for a brick-and mortar shop owner. If you have products to sell, it is time to create your virtual storefront. Let’s get started.
Watch this video to learn how to set up an Instagram Shop.
Bonus Get a free checklist that shows the exact steps a fitness blogger used to grow their Instagram following from 0 to 600,000.
What’s Instagram shopping?
Instagram Shopping allows eCommerce brands to create a digital catalog of their products that can be shared on Instagram.
Users can find out more about products in the app and then either buy directly on Instagram (with Checkout), or click through to complete the transaction on the brand’s eCommerce site.
Instagram is not new in sharing products and promoting sales. Instagram reports that 87% of users believe influencers have inspired their purchase. 70% of Instagram users are avid shoppers who use the platform to find new products.
In the past, e-tail companies had only two options to drive sales traffic directly from a ‘gram: via their bio link or clickable Instagram Stories.
The whole process can be simplified with these new Instagram Shopping features. The complete Ariana Grande cycle: See it, Like it, Buy It, in Just a Few Clicks
Before you get started, here are some key terms and details that every Instagram retailer needs to know.
An Instagram Store is a digital storefront that allows customers to shop directly from their Instagram account. It’s a landing page that allows users to browse and discover all your products.
Product Detail pages provide all the product information, including the item description, price, and photography. Any Instagram product-tagged images will be pulled into the product detail page.
Collections allow Shops to present products in a curated group. It’s basically merchandising your digital front windows. Think “Cute Spring Outfits”, “Handmade Pottery” or “Nike x Elmo Collab.”
To tag products from your catalog in Stories, Reels, and Instagram posts, use a ShoppingTag. This will allow your audience to click through to learn more about the product or to buy it. U.S. companies can tag products in bios and post captions using Instagram’s limited Checkout function. Shopping Tags can be used in ads. Yowza!)
Customers can buy products in Instagram directly using Checkout (currently only available in certain regions). (For brands that do not have Checkout functionality, customers will be directed directly to the brand’s ecommerce site.
The new Shop discovery tab in the Instagram app is a discovery tool that’s available to non-followers. It’s window-shopping 2.0. Scroll through goods from all brands, big and small.
How to get approved to Instagram shopping
Before you can set-up Instagram Shopping, you must ensure that your business meets certain criteria.
- Your business is located within a market that supports Instagram Shopping. To confirm, check the list.
- You can sell a physical, eligible product.
- Your business must comply with Instagram’s commerce policies and merchant agreement.
- Your eCommerce website is owned by your business.
- Instagram allows you to create a business account. You can easily change the settings to make your account business if your account is set up as an individual profile.
How to set-up Instagram shopping
Step 1 – Convert to a Creator or Business Account
You should create an account on Instagram for your business (or creator) if you don’t have one.
In addition to qualifying you for Instagram Shopping features… Business accounts have access all sorts of exciting analytics… as well as the ability to use Hootsuite’s scheduling dashboard for posting.
Plus, it’s free. Get going! Here’s a step-by-step guide for switching your personal account (and 10 reasons why it is so important). ).
Step 2: To set up a shop, use Commerce Manager
1. To set up a shop, use Commerce Manager or another supported platform.
2. Select the checkout location you want customers to use to make their purchases.
Hot tip: Checkout on Instagram for businesses located in the US is highly recommended because it allows people to purchase your products directly from Instagram. Find out more about setting up Checkout here!
3. Select the Instagram account that you wish to be associated with your shop to choose sales channels
4. Check the box next your Facebook Page to create a shop on Instagram and Facebook.
Step 3: Connect To a Facebook Page
To make things run smoothly, if you have a Facebook page, you will need to link it to your Instagram Shop. To set up an Instagram Shop you don’t need a Facebook Page. However, if you do want one, here are seven steps to get it connected.
It’s time to connect the two!
1. Go to Edit Profile on Instagram
2. Select Page under Public Business Information.
3. Connect with your Facebook Business Page.
Step 4 – Upload product catalog
This is where you upload all your products. There are two options. You have two options: either manually input each product into Commerce Manager or import a pre-existing product data from an eCommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify. )
Hot tip: Hootsuite now has a Shopify integration, so it’s super easy to manage your catalog from your dashboard.
Let’s take you through each step of the catalog creation process.
Option A: Commerce Management
1. Log in to Commerce Manager
2. Click on Catalog.
3. Click on Add Products.
4. Select Add Manually.
5. Add a product description, name, and image.
6. Add a unique identifier (SKU) to your product in the Content ID section.
7. Add a link on the website to where people can purchase your product.
8. Add the price of the product to your website.
9. Choose the availability of your product.
10. You can add categorization details such as the product’s condition, brand, tax category, and tax category.
11. Add shipping options and information about the return policy.
12. You can add options to any variants, such as colors or sizes.
13. Once you’re done, click Add Product.
Option B – Integrate an Ecommerce Database
1. Go to Commerce Manager.
2. Open the Catalog tab, and then go to Data sources.
3. Select Add Items. Next, Use a Partnership Platform. Finally, hit Next.
4. Choose your platform of choice: Shopify. BigCommerce. ChannelAdvisor. CommerceHub. Feedonomics. CedCommerce.
5. Follow the link to the platform website to connect your account to Facebook.
Hot tip: Keep catalog maintenance in mind. It’s important that you maintain your catalog once it is established. Make sure to keep product photos current and hide non-existent items.
Step 5 Submit your account to be reviewed
You will need to submit your account to be reviewed. These reviews typically take a few days, but sometimes it may take longer.
1. Go to your Instagram profile settings.
2. Tap Sign up for Instagram Shopping
3. Follow these steps to submit your account.
4. You can check the status of your application using Shopping from your Settings.
Step 6 –Turn in Instagram Shopping
After you have completed the account review, it is time to connect your product catalogue with your Instagram Shop.
1. Go to your Instagram profile settings.
2. Tap Business and then Shopping.
3. Select the product catalogue you would like to connect with.
4. Tap Done.
How to make Instagram shopping posts
Your digital shop looks polished and polished. Your product inventory is full to the brim. You are ready to make that money. All you need is one or two customers.
This video will show you how to tag products in Instagram Stories, Reels and posts.
You can also schedule and auto-publish shoppable Insta photos, videos and carousel posts along with all your other social media content through Hootsuite.
Follow these steps to tag a product on Instagram in Hootsuite:
1. Open your Hootsuite dashboard, and click on Composer.
2. Select an Instagram Business profile under Publish to
3. Upload your media (upto 10 images or videos) then type your caption.
4. Select Tag products in the preview to the right. Video and images are slightly different.
Images: Click on a spot in an image to search for and select an item from your product catalog. Repeat this process for up to five tags in the same image. When you’re done tagging, click Done.
Videos: A catalog search is immediately available. You can search for and select all products that you wish to tag in the video.
5. Select Post now or Schedule for later. If you choose to schedule your post you will be given suggestions on the best times to publish it for maximum engagement.
That’s all! Your shoppable article will appear in the Hootsuite Planner along with all your other scheduled content.
To help more people find your products, you can also boost existing shoppable posts from Hootsuite.
Not: To take advantage of product tagging in Hootsuite, you’ll need an Instagram Business Account and an Instagram Shop.
Shoppable Instagram posts will include a shopping bag icon at the bottom left corner. All products that you have tagged will be displayed on your profile under your Shopping tab.
How to make Instagram Shopping Stories
Use the Stickers function in Instagram Stories to tag products.
Upload or create content for your story as normal, then hit sticker icon at the top-right corner. Locate the Product sticker and choose the appropriate product from your catalog.
(Hot tip – You can personalize your product sticker to match your Story’s colors.
How to make Instagram Shopping ads
Either boost Shoppable posts you already have or create a new ad in Ads Manager with the Instagram Product tags. Easy!
Ads with product tags are a great way to drive traffic to your eCommerce site, or open up Instagram Checkout if that functionality is available.
For more information on Ads Manager, please see our guide to Instagram advertising.
How to make an Instagram live shopping stream
Live stream shopping is a common part of eCommerce culture in many parts of the globe. Businesses in the US now have the option to use Instagram Live Shopping to check out on Instagram during live broadcasts.
Instagram Live Shopping is basically a way for brands and creators to interact with shoppers in real time, host product demos, and encourage purchase.
It’s a powerful tool and deserves its own blog post. We wrote one. Get the 4-1-1- Live Shopping on Instagram here.
How to make Instagram Shopping Guides
Instagram Guides, one of the newest features in the app, are mini blogs that live on the platform.
Instagram Shops can be a great way for users to promote products with an editorial angle. Think gift guides or trend reports.
1. Click the plus symbol in upper right corner of your profile.
2. Select Guide.
3. Tap Products.
4. You can search by account to find the product listing that you want. You can also find the product if you have it saved to your wishlist.
5. Select the product that you wish to add and then tap Next. If you have multiple posts, you can include them all in one entry. They will be displayed in a carousel.
6. Add your guide title, description, and photo. Tap Change Cover Image if you’d like to use a different photo.
7. Double-check the pre-populated name and make any necessary edits. If you wish, add a description.
8. Tap Add Products, and continue with steps 4-8 until you are satisfied.
9. Tap Next at the upper right corner.
10. Tap Share.
12 tips to increase sales with Instagram shopping
Now that you have stocked your virtual shelves, it’s time for potential buyers to notice them.
Here are some tips to encourage users to shop till they drop. (Or should it be “‘Gram till they… Blam?” Hmm, still working on that one.
1. Use striking visuals
Instagram is a visual medium. Your products should look great on the grid! High-quality videos and photos are important to keep your products looking professional and appealing.
Take a look at how Lisa Says Gah displays her totes bags in a playful way: hanging from an arm holding a bottle, it looks like they are hanging from a bottle of wine.
You should ensure that you have the most current image and video specs (Instagram can sometimes change things up), and that your photos and videos are as high-resolution as possible.
Give your product shots an editorial feel by showcasing your products in action or in real-world settings. Beautiful details shots can also be eye-catching. Fridge-worthy has more inspiration for Instagram posts. Our two social media experts explain why this furniture store is so good at selling us rugs.
Pro Tip: Be creative with these photo editing tools to stand out from the crowd.
2. Add hashtags
Relevant hashtags on Instagram are a smart strategy for all posts, even shopping content.
They will increase your chances of being discovered by someone new, opening up new opportunities for potential engagement.
For example, a #shoplocal search brings up a lot of small businesses such as Dar Rossetti, an epoxy artist, that I can purchase right away.
You can also land on the Explore page by using the right hashtags. This special tab has more than 50% of Instagram users per month, that’s more then half a million people.
3. Share a sale code or promo code
A promotional campaign is a great way to increase sales.
Paper Label, a leisurewear brand, is offering a discount on its essentials in this caption. Click here to get the deal and be in spandex in no matter how short it takes.
Customers will be more likely to take action if you promote the code in your shoppable Instagram posts.
4. Show your product in action
Tutorials or how-to videos are the most popular type of Instagram video content. This format is great for shopping posts as it provides product education and proof of concept.
Woodlot shows you how to use one of its essential oil-based soaps.
5. Be authentic
All principles of social media engagement apply to product posts too… and that includes authenticity.
You don’t have to stick with product copy. This is where your personality and voice will shine! You have the chance to connect with your audience by providing a thoughtful caption that provides surprising insight or an emotional connection. What inspired this piece? How did it come about? Storytelling is an old sales tool.
One Tough Mother, a postpartum care company, backs up all its product posts with empathetic and often funny insights about motherhood.
6. Color is a powerful tool.
Color is always eye-catching. Don’t be afraid of using a bright hue for your product shot.
Jackie Lee, an artist, shares her graphic prints with a neon-colored background to maximize impact.
You can change to something that contrasts if you notice a certain color palette being used by influencers.
7. Establish a signature style
A consistent Instagram aesthetic will help you increase brand recognition and establish your identity.
It can also be used to help customers navigate their feeds or browse the Explore tab to quickly recognize your posts.
Did you know? Businesses who tag products in their feed posts make 37% more sales per year on average.
Sebastian Sochan is a London-based hand-tufted rug maker. He photographs all of his pieces in unique ways in his studio. Every scene has the same color palette and lighting.
Your Instagram style should be consistent with other brand visuals. Your website, ads, product packaging, and social media platforms should all be in harmony with each other, using complementary images.
8. Be inclusive
You want your brand to reach a broad audience. Your images must be meaningfully representative.
Instagram has over a billion users. It’s safe to say that they are diverse.
Too often, Instagram images and promotions show the same people: thin, white, able-bodied, slim. Showcase all body types to your customers and be inclusive.
Aisle, a period-product brand, uses models of all sizes and genders to promote its products.
Another tip for inclusivity: Caption your images descriptively to make it easy for visually impaired people to learn about your product.
9. Share user-generated content
User-generated content (UGM), refers to posts or Stories by Instagram users that feature your products.
These posts not only provide real photos of your photos in action but also boost your credibility. This is because authentic posts are more trustworthy and more trustworthy than those from fake users. They are visual testimonials.
Mother Funk boutique in Toronto regularly reposts photos of locals wearing their clothes.
10. Create a captivating carousel
A carousel showcases your product range. It allows users to quickly view your latest collection without having to go to your Instagram Shop.
11. Collaborate with tastemakers
To help spread your product posts even further, team up with a tastemaker. Invite an influencer to curate a special Collection from your catalog.
One example is Droplet, a Canadian brand of linens, collaborating with Jillian Harris to create a unique line of products. Cross-promotion allowed the brand to reach a new audience.
You’ll tag them on all your posts. They’ll share with their audience (and get a warm fuzzy feeling that they admire your sense of style). Win-win!
12. Craft compelling CTAs
A compelling call to action is better than a beautiful photograph. A call to action is a compelling phrase that encourages the reader to take immediate action. It could be “Buy Now!” or “Share With a Friend!” or “Get it Before it’s Gone!”
Warby Parker’s eyewear brand gives its followers the exact instructions they need to shop immediately: “Tap [shopping bag icon]”
Learn more about CTAs on the blog and use your new power responsibly.
Instagram shopping is growing in popularity and features such as Instagram Checkout will soon be available worldwide. There’s no better time than the present to explore how it can help your business as part of your overall social marketing strategy. Let the digital shopping sprees commence!
Hootsuite makes it easy to manage your Instagram account. Hootsuite allows you to integrate your social networks with Shopify, add products to any social post, and respond to comments with product ideas. Get it for free today.
With files by Michelle Cyca.
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The first Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard article was called Instagram Shopping 101: A Step by Step Guide for Marketers.