Instagram shopping is the new window shopping
Are you an e-commerce business looking for new ways to increase your sales? Then you really shouldn’t ignore Instagram’s shopping features which allow your customers to see tagged products with a price and even buy the products directly from the app. If you are relying only on website traffic to lead to conversions, you’ll have a lot less success. It’s important to note that people won’t be navigating to your website every day, even if they’ve been your customers for a long time. That’s why it’s essential to have a solid and versatile marketing strategy. With Facebook and Instagram being absolute leaders among social media networks, having them in your marketing plan shouldn’t be a novelty. But if you’ve been using Instagram solely for posting pictures of your products on the platform and not utilizing other features that can help you grow and develop, you’ve been seriously missing out.
For example, did you know 70% of shoppers turn to Instagram to do their online browsing? Additionally, more than one-third of Instagram users have used their mobile devices to buy something online. With that in mind, don’t you think it’s the right time to set up a new Instagram business strategy and start making money?
How to set up shoppable Instagram posts
With more than one billion users, Instagram is without a doubt THE platform for brands who want to make an impact on social media. While shopping on Instagram isn’t the newest integration for this social network, it still hasn’t been completely accepted by the majority of e-commerce brands.
Instagram launched a shopping feature in February 2018, allowing brands to tag products directly in posts and Stories, and take customers directly to the item they want to purchase. With the launch of a new Checkout feature in March 2019, users no longer even have to leave Instagram to purchase items they discover there. Still, Instagram checkout is only available in the US at this time.
So how do Instagram Shopping features work?
Quite simply, when someone taps a product tag on an Instagram post or a product sticker in your Instagram Story, they’ll be taken to a product description page where they will see:
- An image of the product from your post
- A description of the product
- A link that takes them directly to your website, where they can purchase the product.
Still, note that this feature isn’t available for all markets, so be sure to check if you are eligible to use it on your Instagram profile. Other than that, Instagram made it easier for businesses to see if they qualify for Instagram shoppable posts by offering a checklist with requirements.
Long story short, if you only sell physical items that comply with Facebook’s merchant agreement and commerce policy, you are good to go. First thing is to set up your product catalog on Facebook using Shopify or BigCommerce. The catalog is how your product tag, price tag, and sticker tag will end up on your Instagram posts or Stories.
Once connected, you can set up Shop section on Facebook and Instagram. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile’s settings. Click on “Business Shopping on Instagram” and submit your account for review. This may take a few days, so be patient. Once you’re approved, you’ll receive a notification from Instagram and you can begin adding products to your posts and Stories.
Reasons to use Instagram Shopping feature
So if you’re wondering which benefits and bonuses could you possibly have as an e-commerce business from Instagram shoppable posts, here’s a little breakdown:
- You’ll be able to transform your Instagram feed into a shoppable experience
- You’ll convert your followers into customers
- You’ll boost your engagement and make sales
- You have double chances to engage with your audience and provide them with an easier way to shop as you can post the same product both on feed and Stories
- On Instagram feed posts you can tag up to 5 products per image or up to 20 products in a carousel image post. Imagine just how many different sales one post can bring to you.
- On Instagram Stories, you can add one product sticker that’s shoppable. This leads the customer to the same shopping page they would visit if they saw this post on their Instagram feed.
How to leverage the shoppable feature on Instagram with advertising?
Even though at first the ability to feature products with Instagram Shopping was only available in organic posts and Stories, that is now in the past. As Instagram said themselves: “As part of our continued investment in building the best shopping experience, we are now giving shopping businesses the ability to run their existing shopping posts as ads, providing the same experience to their broader target audience. Shoppers that tap on these ads will be taken to a product description page within Instagram and can proceed to purchase from the business’ mobile site.”
That means you can choose an existing shopping post with a single photo to run as your ad creative or create an organic shopping post with a single photo in the Instagram app by tagging products from your catalog. You can only select an organic shopping post that has never been run as an ad through “Use existing post” functionality. At this time, you can only use single image posts as ads (videos, carousels or branded content posts are not supported).
Some Instagram Shopping tactics to try
#1 Convert warm audience into customers
There is a difference with the approach you should have towards the cold and warm audiences. Using Instagram shopping features and advertising it towards warm audiences is a great way to increase sales. Firstly, remember that simply posting organic Instagram shoppable posts and Stories to your followers means you are showcasing them to people who are already interested in your brand and products. They chose to follow you on Instagram and they’ve engaged with you, either by liking or commenting on your posts. Now use that as a base for your next advertising campaign and target specifically a warm audience to increase your sales.
#2 Invest your time into Instagram Stories
There are over 500 million accounts globally tapping through Stories each day. People like them and therefore, they watch them. There is a great chance people will see your Stories before feed post pops up on their screen. Therefore, make sure you post a few Instagram Stories every day and don’t forget to include Shopping features in them.
Instagram even has a special section with topic channels on the Explore page. It allows you to browse content based on your specific interests, like Sport, Fashion, Travel, Music, and more. Shop channel is among them which helps people find product-related posts from the brands they follow and brands that Instagram thinks they might like. That opens a window of opportunity for you to reach many new potential followers and customers.
Note that for using Instagram Stories’ shoppable stickers on Instagram Stories you don’t need to have over 10k followers or be verified to use it. This means you can be a small e-commerce brand and still have all the benefits of this feature so it would be a shame not to include it in your Instagram business strategy,
#3 Instagram Shopping video content
We already wrote about the power of video content on social media and why you should use it. Still, I think it’s worth mentioning once more that video allows you many benefits a picture doesn’t. By sharing video content on your feed posts or Instagram Stories, you can show your product in action or how it looks in real-life situations with real-life people. Not to mention, people will be able to get a better perception of its size, mass, color, and other characteristics if they see it in action.
Instagram allows you to tag products in videos, and it is up to you to integrate it into your Instagram business strategy and execute it. Obviously, analyze and optimize based on the results. If you notice you have more conversions from picture posts or carousels, then proceed with that kind of content.