The Latest On Instagram Shopping

In a recent announcement by Instagram’s chief, Adam Mosseri, he listed Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging as Instagram’s key areas of focus for the future.

There are two of those that impact your small business and how you use Instagram: Video and Shopping.

Check out our recent update on how you can level up your video game to take advantage of Instagram’s refocus towards video content.  

Now it’s time to deep dive into how Instagram’s shopping features can put you in front of more potential online shoppers. We’ve also put together a step by step guide to make sure you get all set up correctly.

‘Leaning into’ the trend of online shopping

There are now more ways to shop on Instagram than you can poke a Chanel lipstick at.

From product tagging in your feed posts and using product stickers in stories, to buying directly through Instagram’s shop tab, Instagram checkout, shopping reels, and IGTV shopping…  confused yet? We don’t blame you.

Mosseri noted that the COVID-19 pandemic “accelerated the shift of commerce from offline to online by a number of years, and we’re trying to lean into that trend”, through Instagram’s shopping features.

What you may be thinking: ‘Instagram is already confusing enough, I’ll just stick to adding my shop’s weblink in my bio or using a Linktree link’.

The reality of it: Instagram is literally throwing shoppable features at its business users and giving small businesses every opportunity to be discovered by new audiences. If you don’t have your e-commerce platform integrated with Instagram for Business as yet, then our advice is that you’d better (s)hop to it!

Just as a side note – currently this feature is for physical products only, with just a few exceptions. We recommend you check the eligibility of your services, and subscriptions or digital products before you go ahead with the process of setting up your shopping features.

This is good news for businesses

Since COVID hit, Instagram has found a way to monetise increased online shopping habits by developing a suite of shopping features for users (and businesses). People can purchase products that they discover on Instagram securely and seamlessly without leaving the app.

Instagram’s ‘shop tab’ is its original shopping feature, released in 2017. It allows users to buy products from top brands and content creators right through Instagram’s navigation bar with only one tap.

Users can filter products by category, making it easy to discover new products and inspiration. Much like a shopping version of the’ Explore tab’, Instagram tailors the content in a user’s shopping tab to their interests and needs (as determined by its algorithm).

Instagram’s e-commerce features are constantly evolving, and changing the way we shop as consumers, and sell as businesses. According to Instagram for Business, a whopping 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery. And 87% of people say that influencers have inspired them to make a purchase. It is even testing a feature that will allow users to ‘virtually try on’ products, powered by Instagram stories and its AR technology.

So, as you can see, if you’re a small business wanting to drive sales through Instagram, this is all good news!

Firstly, let’s get you set up and then we’ll break down some of the shopping features.

How To Set Up Instagram Shopping

Let’s break this down for you, step-by-step:

Step 1: Confirm eligibility

Instagram has some fairly strict requirements for getting set up with their shopping features. This ensures that only genuine retailers and e-commerce brands are able to make sales via the app.

Here are some of the eligibility requirements:

  • Your business must be located in an approved market. There are over 40 approved countries, including Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.
  • Your business must primarily sell physical goods and comply with Instagram’s commerce policies.
  • You must have an Instagram business account.

Step 2: Convert to an Instagram Business Account

Before you can set up an Instagram Shop, you’ll need to switch to a Business account.

Once you have a Business account, you can add in relevant business information, such as opening hours, business address, phone number and a link to your website.

Step 3: Connect your Facebook Page

Next, follow these steps to link your Instagram business account to a Facebook Page:

  1. Go to your business’s Instagram profile
  2. Select “Edit profile”.
  3. Under the “Public business information” section, select “Page”
  4. Choose a Facebook Page from your Pages that you’d like to connect.
  5. If you don’t have a Facebook Page, select “Create a new Facebook Page”.

Step 4: Upload a product catalogue

Instagram Shop requires you to have a product catalog, which is a list of all your products, inventory, and descriptions.

There are two ways to connect a product catalog to your Instagram business account:

  1. Catalogue Manager (The “do it yourself” method found within Facebook Business Manager)
  2. E-commerce Platform Partner (An integration through a certified e-commerce platform partner like Shopify or BigCommerce)

Step 5: Complete account review

Once you’ve connected a product catalog to your Instagram, you will need to submit your account for review by following these steps:

  1. Go to your business’s Instagram profile and tap the menu icon
  2. Select “Settings”.
  3. Sign up for shopping
  4. Follow the steps to submit your account for review.
  5. Visit “Shopping” in your “Settings” at any time to check your status

What Are The IG Shopping Features?

Instagram Feed Posts and Instagram Shop

Instagram feed posts are a great way to get your followers to discover your products. By directly tagging a product pictured in your feed, your audience can purchase your product with just a few taps. Once you’re set up with Instagram shopping you can tag up to five products on an image or video post, making your feed posts 100% shoppable.

Alice Mccall Pty Ltd. is an example of an Australian brand that relies heavily on this feature for its Instagram content strategy.

Instagram shop differs from product tagging in that it allows businesses directly access their shoppable catalogue through the “View Shop” button on their Instagram profile page.

Instagram Checkout

Still rolling out globally and yet to become available in Australia, users can buy products directly on Instagram without leaving the app using ‘Checkout’.

When you use Instagram Shopping with checkout, your customers will make purchases directly in the Instagram App. At the moment, for those businesses using Instagram Shopping without checkout, product tags direct users to products on their website.

Instagram Stories Shopping

Instagram only allows accounts with over 10k followers access to the coveted ‘Swipe Up’ feature in Stories, that leads users to a curated catalogue of products. However, small businesses with under 10K followers can now also drive their audience to products using Stories and its ‘Product Stickers’ feature. This is similar to the tag product feature in the feed post, but for Stories.

You can find out more about the swipe up feature here and product stickers here.

Reels and IGTV Shopping

Last year Instagram debuted its reels shopping and IGTV shopping features. This allows businesses to tag their products for sale within their reels and IGTV videos, making them both fully shoppable. You can read more about reels shopping here.

Previously, the only way to share product links in IGTV was in the description box. Now Instagram allows businesses to tag products directly, much like using feed product tags and story stickers. You can read more about how to do this here.

Just a reminder that reels and IGTV videos can also be shared in your Instagram stories. When shared in stories, the tagged products remain! So why not double down?!

And finally…

Instagram Live Shopping 

Unfortunately ‘Instagram Live Shopping’ is yet to be rolled out globally, (it’s currently only available to the U.S). We cannot wait for this feature because it will allow businesses to showcase their products in real time and connect with and educate their audience. You’ll also be able to answer questions and really drive conversions in a down-to-earth and relatable way.

Businesses outside of the U.S can still do all of this via Instagram Live, just without the integrated, one-tap-shop feature. Instead, use call to actions throughout your live, letting people know exactly where and how to shop your products. You can find out more about Instagram live shopping here.

So in a nutshell.

That’s our breakdown of Mosseri’s latest Instagram announcement and how small businesses can really harness the power of the buffet of shopping features. Remember to check out the detailed review in last week’s blog on how you can use video and authentic storytelling to connect with and engage your audience.

Instagram is a chameleon that seemingly changes just as often as the world around us, and this shift away from being ‘just a photo-sharing app’ is nothing to fear, but rather an excellent example of the platform’s ability to constantly evolve and adapt to the times and trends.

For more results-oriented and up to the minute digital marketing tips and strategies go ahead and check out the Click Engage Convert Academy. In this awesome membership you’ll have access to our team of digital marketing experts to help you scale and grow a profitable business using the power of digital marketing. Over the next two months we’ll be focusing on video! Getting you video ready, helping you plan and prepare your videos, facilitated content creation sessions, masterclasses for Instagram video, Facebook LinkedIn YouTube and more.  We’d love you to join us so we can help you up your video game and take advantage of some of the new opportunities that changes like these present for small businesses like yours.