Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping cover image

Instagram Shopping – The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Instagram

June 10, 2019

Find out all about Instagram’s latest shopping features and learn how brands are using them to sell products.

If your brand sells products online, you’ve probably spent a good portion of your work life building an audience and engaging your followers on Instagram.

But likes and followers can only get you so far.

Today, we show how to master the final step of your Instagram sales funnel.

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It’s time to sell products!

In this guide, we show you how to sell your products on Instagram.

Don’t procrastinate! This is one article you don’t want to put off until later because Checkout on Instagram is coming soon - are you ready?

When Checkout on Instagram launches for all brands, you’ll use it to sell products directly on the platform. Customers won’t even have to leave Instagram to make a purchase.

That means more $$$ for you if you’re prepared.

Get ready for the next level of social media and master Instagram’s shopping features today!

Why Sell on Instagram?

Find out why brands are selling on Instagram in 2019.

130 million taps.

That’s how many times Instagrammers have followed through on shopping post links to learn more about products. And we’re just getting started!

Instagram isn’t just for marketing anymore.

Over the past year, the platform has relentlessly updated its offerings with features that help brands sell directly from the platform.

Now, Instagram is THE social channel for selling in 2019.

Let’s take a quick look at the stats.

👉 Rated the 5th highest-traffic ranking in the world, Instagram generates 4 times more engagement than Facebook.

👉 Most Instagrammers (80%) use the platform when making decisions about whether to buy products or services, and…

👉 almost all of them (83%) have discovered new products and services while browsing the platform.

👉 More than 80% of its users follow a business, and…

👉 36% of Instagrammers surveyed in the US say they love to shop and consider it a hobby.

In this article, we’ll show you what Instagram shopping is, how you can get started, and how you can drive more traffic to your shopping posts.

In the next section, we show you the shopping features brands use to convert followers to customers.

Bonus content - Why Sell on Instagram?

What Is Instagram Shopping

There are several ways brands can sell products and services on Instagram.

Shopping Tags and Stickers

Shopping tags are actionable icons that you can add to image and video posts.

How to add product stickers to posts

Shopping stickers are actionable icons that you add to images or videos in Stories.

How to add product stickers in Stories

When users tap on a product tag or sticker, they’re directed to the product page on Instagram.

On the product page, users can tap the “Purchase on Website” button to complete their purchase on your website.

Shopping tags/stickers can be used in:

Video and Image posts: you can add up to 5 shopping tags per single-image post or 20 product tags per multi-image post.

Videos and images in Stories: you can add one shopping sticker per Story.

To use shopping tags and stickers, you must open a business account, create a catalog on Facebook, and get approved by Instagram.

Shopping Tab

Once you add 9 products to your catalog, you can create a shopping tab that’s featured on your Instagram profile.

The shopping tab allows customers to browse all of your products in one place.

Additional Shopping Features

Users can bookmark products.

On the user end, Instagrammers can tap the bookmark icon to save a product to their own collection tab.

Checkout on Instagram is coming soon.

Soon, businesses will have the option to use “Checkout on Instagram”  – a native checkout experience that guides shoppers from “browsing to buying” without ever leaving the platform.

Checkout on Instagram is in testing with a handful of select brands in the U.S. We’re hoping it makes its way out of beta and into the mainstream soon!

Instagram gives you many ways to sell products, from shopping stickers to swipe-up links and a shopping tab. In the next section, we show you examples of how brands are doing it right with Instagram shopping.

Here’s How Brands Are Selling Products on Instagram

Below are some examples and tips on how brands are successfully selling products with Instagram’s shopping features.

How Stadium Goods and Pottery Barn Use Shopping Tags in Posts

The Instagram shopping tag experience, on the user end, begins with post images that allow users to tap product icons to view more information.

Stadium Goods uses stunning photography to make its shopping posts noticeable.

Stadium Goods instagram post example
Instagram Shopping tag in post example

Tapping on a product sticker takes the viewer to a collection slider. From there, they can either bookmark your product or tap it to go to the product page.

StadiumGoods product page
Source: @StadiumGoods

On the product page, shoppers can browse more information about the product and tap the “visit website” button to purchase it.

Product pages also contain a feed
Instagram product page example

Product pages also contain a feed with more of your tagged and cataloged products.

>>> Shopping tags don’t show on the desktop version of Instagram. <<<

Since shopping tags only appear on the mobile version, many brands include a CTA at the bottom of each caption directing the viewer to their bio link.

Stadium Goods desktop version

You don’t have to limit your shopping tags to just one per post, though. Many brands feature multiple shoppable products and collections in posts.

For example, Pottery Barn showcases a collection of pottery in which many of the products are tagged. At first, the viewer only sees a photograph and the “view products” icon.

Instagram shoppable post example, Pottery Barn

Once a user taps the “view products” icon, all of the product tags appear.

Instagram shopping tags example, Pottery Barn

Shopping tags in posts are an excellent way to promote and sell your products from the Instagram platform.

Tip: Use your best photographs, in excellent lighting, for Instagram posts.

How J. Crew Men’s Uses Shopping Stickers in Stories

You can include one shopping sticker per story, and the sticker can be added to an image or video.

The image below shows how J. Crew Men’s using a shopping sticker in one of its Story videos.

Tapping the shopping sticker takes the user to its product page.

How Boosted Boards Uses Swipe-Up Selling in Stories

Swipe-ups have been around since long before shopping stickers, but only brands with 10,000 followers or more can use them.

Boosted Boards uses videos with vibrant colors to catch viewers’ attention in Stories. They add a swipe link at the bottom that reads “See More,” which directs users to the product page on its website.

Below is one of Boosted Boards’ Swipe-Up images from its “Boosted Mini” Story.

Swipe-up link in Stories

Boosted Boards uses profile highlights to pin Stories that showcase its different products.

Tip: Use Profile Story highlights to feature different products or product lines.

How Birchbox Uses Shopping Tabs

Below is a peek at what the “shopping tab” button looks like on an Instagram business profile. The “Shop” button is located just beneath the brand bio.

When viewers tap the Shop button, it takes them to a feed filled with your products.

How Brands and People Are Using Other Instagram Features

Checkout on Instagram is still in beta, so it’s not available to most brands yet. We thought you’d enjoy a peek at it, though – so we included an example from Burberry below.

Users can bookmark products for future reference, or they can tap through to the product page to start the purchase process.

Notice how there are only a few words to get your point across before the caption gets truncated?

That’s why Birchbox’s product descriptions are clear and to-the-point. It helps viewers know what they’re looking at.

Tip: Write clear product descriptions that tell what your product is within the first few words.

Here’s a look at the entire checkout process, courtesy of Instagram help center, from Colourpop Cosmetics.

Once you’ve added shopping stickers to your posts and Stories, you want people to see them!

In the next section, we share some tips to help you get your shoppable products in front of more viewers.

Tips for Getting Your Shoppable Posts & Stories in Front of More Viewers

Here are some ways to increase the number of people that see your shoppable posts and Stories.

Before you get started, though, create an Instagram marketing strategy that focuses on one marketing goal – so you know exactly what your focus should be.

User-Generated Content

Run contests and giveaways that encourage your followers to share photos of your products to their accounts.

Or, launch a social cause campaign as IBM did. Its website encourages visitors to pledge an aspect of equality in the workplace by sharing a pledge card with its hashtag to social media.

Source: IBM

IBM also gets its employees involved, and they share pledges on Instagram, too.

Source: IBM on Instagram Stories

Whether it’s a giveaway, promotion, or social cause – find ways to encourage users to share your product and hashtag to their accounts.

Then repost the user-generated content to your account page!

While this doesn’t directly sell your products, it’s a super-effective way to grow your audience and increase engagement on Instagram – so people see and purchase your products!

Paid Advertising

Carousels, collections, and promoted posts are forms of Instagram paid advertising that let you show off and sell your products.

Source: Instagram Help Center featuring Addidas

Instagram ad manager (Facebook ad manager) is like a candy store for marketers. It lets you target precisely the type of viewers you’re hoping for, plus you can set and control your own budget.

Make the Most of Instagram’s Tools & Features

Brands love Instagram because it offers a crazy amount of features that help you grow an audience, increase your traffic, and sell your products.

Influencer Campaigns

If you’re a small business, take advantage of micro-influencers. They’re affordable on almost any budget, and their engagement rates are higher than famous influencers.

Get Your Products Shoppable Now!

make the most of instagram's tools and features

Shopping on Instagram is sort of new.

Over the past 2 years, the platform has surprised us with one announcement after another of new ways for brands to sell on the platform.

Instagram offers shopping tags for posts, Stickers in Stories, and a shopping tab so followers can view your entire catalog. Plus, the Explore feed now provides a shopping feed for people who want to browse products.

Have you tried selling on Instagram? We’d love to hear what’s working – or not working – for you. Share your experience in the comments below!

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