Instagram For eCommerce: Everything You Need To Know

Instagram For eCommerce
With Instagram Shops continuously broadening its eCommerce functionality and user database, taking advantage of this popular social media platform as an additional ground for selling your products online is the least you can do to give your sales a boost!

In this post, we’ll get you acquainted with the capabilities of Instagram Shops, go through the key points that are required to start one, as well as show you a couple of examples of how renowned brands are already using their business accounts on Instagram to sell more.

Instagram Shops and What They’re For

As stated earlier, Instagram Shops are your chance to start selling more via your favored social media channel. By connecting your Instagram Business Account to your store’s inventory you get the ultimate opportunity to sell your products. This is done by tagging the items that are displayed on the post’s photo or video or in the Instagram Stories that you’re posting on your account.

The person who’s browsing the post could then see the details of the item (i.e. its name and price) when clicking on “View Products”. When tapping on the product tag, the user sees a pop-up with not only the description of the item but also gets a direct link to your store to purchase it. Take a look at the screenshots taken from the official Victoria’s Secret Instagram account as an example.
Instagram For eCommerce
Among the other perks worth mentioning is that all the products that are featured on the Instagram account are conveniently placed in a separate tab that’s marked by a shopping bag icon. This tab is placed near the IGTV and grid icons, and provides easy access to all the items that are on sale. The listing is reminiscent of a category page of an online store, providing the products’ names, prices, and images.

How To Start An Instagram Shop?

Luckily, getting started with an Instagram Shop of your own isn’t complicated. You should keep in mind a couple of things though:
  • Instagram Shops only work via the application that’s available on mobile devices (i.e., it won’t be possible to use this functionality from the desktop version);
  • Not all countries have access to this functionality yet, therefore it is best to check whether your country is on the list or not before you begin (to possibly save you some time, the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia are a couple of the countries that do have access to Instagram Shops).

Now let’s move on to the steps of creating your Instagram Shop.

Step 1: Getting All The Accounts

Apart from having the website of your online store, you’ll need to have a Facebook account that’s been created for your business and to get an Instagram account too. If you already have both, skip this step.

Let’s cover the Instagram account part if you don’t have one for your company yet. You’ll have to download the freshest version of the application to your mobile device either from the AppStore or Google Play or access the site from your desktop computer. Then register a regular “User” account for your business for free.

Step 2: Facebook Catalog + Inventory Integration

In order to get an Instagram Shop, your company’s Facebook account must have a launched Facebook catalog. That said, in this scenario, Facebook is somewhat an obligatory intermediary between your online store and the Instagram Shop. This is needed to give your customers the opportunity to access the product checkout and to buy the selected items.

Thus, this means that it doesn’t matter which eCommerce platform you are using for your online store, be it Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, or anything else, as long as you can connect your inventory, you’re good to go. For some tricky cases, such as Magento integration, you’ll most probably need to turn to Magento developers for assistance.

In other cases, you can most likely connect the two yourself, thus, log in to your online store’s admin. For instance, in Shopify, then go to the “Sales Channel” section and press “+”. There you can add Facebook as a sales channel. Then, in the Facebook section that appeared in your panel, connect your Facebook account, finish the setup, and choose your store’s Facebook account from the drop-down list. It’ll take up to 48 hours to review the connection. Once approved, your store’s products will appear on your Facebook account’s “Shop” section.

Step 3: Instagram Business Account

Now that your eCommerce website and Facebook catalog are connected, you can go back to your Instagram account and switch it to Business Account (Profile → Settings → Account). At this point, you’ll have to join your Instagram Shop with your Facebook catalog. Again, it’ll take some time to pass account verification.

Step 4: Start Posting!

As soon as your Business Account of Instagram is confirmed, you can rush on to posting and tagging items on your posts! Some of the tips here include:

  • properly line out your profile data (with all the links and contact data being in place at the top of the page, in the “bio”);
  • make use of the “Highlights” circles (that are created based on the posted Stories on the account);
  • choose a style and try to adhere to it (colors, fonts, etc);
  • add relevant hashtags and geo-locations to the posts;
  • plan your postings both visually and schedule-wise (quick tip: there are various tools for planning Instagram content that you can use for saving your time such as tools for seeing how your posts will appear in the Instagram grid and various schedulers that can post automatically for you in the indicated date/time based on the posts you have prepared, an example tool you can check out is Preppr).

Don’t Miss Out On Instagram Stories

Aside from the posts with product tagging that you make in the Instagram feed, you should also do the same when sharing your Instagram Stories. Although the Stories are up for only 24 hours, you can later place them in your “Highlights” circles. Stories are perfect for showcasing products, informing about new arrivals, upcoming sales, and other things.

Here’s an example of tagged products in Stories of the official NYX Professional Makeup Instagram account. When clicking on “See More”, the corresponding page appears with products on the official website.
Instagram For eCommerce

IG Try-On Functionality

One more Instagram Shops benefit to surely be mentioned is the advanced technology that allows us to virtually try on a product with the help of the camera of the mobile device. Such an augmented reality feature is highly in trend due to the fact that it’s not only engaging but is also helpful when making up your mind whether the item or product suits you or not.

As such, the official M·A·C Cosmetics Instagram account already offers its shoppers this IG try-on feature. Using their camera, the users can see how this or that cosmetics product looks on them. As you can see, this is especially convenient when selecting shades of lipstick.
Instagram For eCommerce

Client Feedback and User-Generated Content

Coming up with a content plan that’ll be consistent and to the point is tricky. In this part of the post, we’ll give you a few pointers that can give you a hand.

Firstly, a tip that you can note is making use of the testimonials and reviews that your customers give you on your eCommerce site. You can repost the texts of the reviews, be they product-specific or related to your company and its services. Such social proof positively influences sales. And as long as you don’t post the reviews too often, you’re on the right track. Furthermore, you can collect them in “Highlights” afterwards.

Secondly, a great way eCommerce stores can beneficially use Instagram is by conducting simple surveys. Such multiple choice surveys can be created in Stories. Perhaps the coolest thing about them is that since Stories are up for only a day, you can get fast results. Therefore, if you’re in two minds about something or need the opinion of your audience quickly, polls can be a wonderful solution.

What's for other user-generated content, this is a goldmine that you shouldn’t overlook. Videos and photographs that were created by your clients featuring the products that you sell should certainly be given the right attention. You can even motivate your audience to tag your account and use specific hashtags to get featured. This exposure is outstanding for the brand since it reaches a much broader audience at no cost!

Topping that, since cross-posting on multiple channels is considered good practice, you can then add a widget that’ll connect your eCommerce website with your Instagram account. The widget will pull out the client posts that feature your products. Here’s how such a section looks like on the official Converse website.
Instagram For eCommerce

Final Word

Summing up, Instagram has a very broad audience, therefore, it makes sense to use this social media channel not only for building your online presence and sharing news but also for selling your products. As you can see, it’s not that difficult to start your Instagram Shop. So, with some effort put into the Business Account, you can be selling on Instagram in addition to your eCommerce store in no time!

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AUTHOR_NAMEAbout the Author:
Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento migration and Salesforce development. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.
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