Shopping on Instagram is now available for online stores, providing an immersive storefront that gives your customers a way to explore and buy your products and services with a few taps.
Instagram shopping includes merchants that sell physical goods, and also offers a way for consumers to book appointments for services like restaurants and salons. However, the process is still in the beta testing phase.
Posts that are "shoppable" have a shopping bag icon in the top right corner in full-page mode, or they will see the shopping bag icon by itself or the icon along with a "Tap to View Products" sign in the bottom left corner when in scrolling mode.
When Instagram shoppers see your shoppable post, they can see product names and price details when they tap the product image. If the user is interested in a purchase, they can hit the product details tag where more information is found. From there, they touch the "Shop Now" button, which takes buyers directly to your company's website where they can add the item directly to a shopping cart.
While the process might seem a bit convoluted, in the end, it is seamless for the consumer from discovery to checkout. And adding shoppable posts increases the storytelling stature of your brand. If your eCommerce setup is visually appealing—and you should invest in eye-catching posts to showcase your products—adding shoppable tags will instantly boost your retail sales.
Instagram has become a search engine for savvy consumers who have a reputation for being passionate and highly engaged, and according to Hootsuite, 75% of Instagram users take an action after seeing an advertising post on IG.
Furthermore, when you consider that $4 trillion of merchandise was abandoned in online shopping carts last year, according to Marketing Land, it is imperative for merchants to decrease the barriers between product interest and product purchase. Shoppable posts on Instagram reduce friction by providing a relaxed, product-focused advertisement with a direct line to an easy purchase.
As you might know, in 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram, and since FB is already utilizing shopping technology and infrastructure on their site, the process to selling on Instagram begins on Mark Zuckerberg's machine with help from Shopify and Resy. The following steps will get you going:
- Set up your Instagram account as a business account, which is linked to your business's corresponding Facebook page.
- Set up a Shopify account for products. Shopify only offers paid accounts, but there is usually the option for a two-week free trial. The basic plan costs $29 a month. Advanced features reach to $299. (Set up a Resy account for service booking purposes. Resy plans begin at $189 a month.)
- Connect your Shopify account to your Facebook product catalog (see below).
- Add products to your Facebook catalog. Services and digital products cannot be cataloged. Cataloguing products on FB requires product name, category, price, details, and a link to your website.
- Apply for an Instagram shoppable account. Acceptance or denial might take up to two weeks.
- Once accepted, you upload an Instagram image, and where you would normally add a caption, you will see a "tag products" option, which will move you from IG to your Facebook catalogue where you will choose the tagged item. Once you have saved the tag, the product will upload to your page with a shopping bag icon.
The native payment feature for shoppable products is an ordered and uninterrupted purchasing process that involves pre-registration for users, so that your Instagram followers can buy your products without the pains of setting up a profile. It is a seamless and convenient way to get your products in front of your target consumers and make the sale.