Instagram Ecommerce – Learn How to Start and Grow Sales

Instagram Ecommerce – Learn How to Start and Grow Sales

Instagram ecommerce is the newest craze in the ecommerce shopping world. But is this the right choice for your business? Let us look at the stats. According to Facebook business, the total number of daily active Instagram users is over 500 million. 90% of those users follow business accounts on Instagram. Over 500 million accounts use Instagram stories every day.

There are 4.78 billion mobile phone users today, and 55% of consumers have bought something online after discovering it on social media. If this is not a motivation to tag your products on Instagram, we do not know what is. While Instagram shopping is growing, not many businesses know how to set up their Instagram shop. We will help you get set up and start to increase your sales. 

Instagram has moved a step ahead of other social platforms once more. They have created a new ecommerce option for entrepreneurs providing a whole new stream of revenue. Over the past couple of years, it has allowed some business pages to tag products, giving rise to Instagram shopping. It has also introduced the Instagram checkout option that will enable users to checkout without leaving the app. 

In summary, Instagram now provides users with two different ecommerce options, Instagram Shopping , and Instagram Checkout.

Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping provides your Instagram fans with a catalog-like shopping experience. You can upload images of your products quickly and tag each one with their price and name. You can even share them on your stories the moment products are live on your website. You can upload new images and get organic reach with minimal effort.

Users can tap tags of products on images and receive a product description page with:

  • An image of the product they clicked on
  • It is a description
  • It is price
  • A link that will take them to your website where they can finish their purchase 

To see if your country supports this option, you can check Instagram's available market list

An Instagram Shopping accounts requires that your Instagram account and business must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Comply with Instagram’s policies
  • You must convert your Instagram account into a Business Account
  • Have a connected Facebook Page
  • Primarily sell physical goods
  • Have your business account connected to a Facebook Catalog 

If your business fulfills all the requirements, you can submit your account to Instagram for a review. If you are approved, you will get a notification from Instagram to finish setting up your shopping account by tagging your products. In the meantime, you can view your status by visiting the shopping tab in settings.

Instagram Checkout

Instagram Checkout is a new feature where users can purchase a product without leaving the app. It is like Instagram Shopping except that the user is not taken to your website to finish their purchase but does so in the app itself.

With Instagram Checkout, when a user sees a product they like on your Instagram account and tap on it, they are taken to a page just like through Instagram Shopping. On this page, followers receive the option to choose the color, size, and any other options. When done, they can "Checkout on Instagram."

Once they decide to check out, they can add a payment method to the app itself. The only information buyers must enter includes name, email, billing information, and shipping address the first time they check out. 

Once their first order is complete, their information is securely stored for their next purchase. Buyers also receive notifications about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram.

Currently, Instagram Checkout is in beta and is available for only a few select accounts.

How to Set up Instagram Shopping

If this option seems appealing, then there are a few things you need to consider before you get your hopes up. First, make sure that Instagram Shopping is available in your country. Also, make sure you have the latest version of Instagram installed on your device and that you have a Facebook Page.

There are steps you need to take when setting up an Instagram account that we have explained in detail below. They include:

  1. Signing up for an Instagram business account
  2. Connecting products to your Instagram business account
  3. Signing up for Instagram Shopping
  4. Tagging your products 

1) Sign up for Instagram Business Account

To be eligible for an Instagram Shopping account, you need to have an Instagram Business account. An Instagram Business account requires not only having an Instagram account, but also a Facebook account to which you will link your Instagram account.

  1. Make a Facebook page that will represent your business. You will want this page to be recognizable and branded to suit your business.
  2. Download the Instagram app - Keep in mind that Instagram is for mobile devices and that the setup of your account must occur through a mobile or tablet device.
  3. Create an Account for your business – they will offer to sign up via email or Facebook. Considering you will need a Facebook page for a business account, we suggest you connect the two straight away.
  4. Switch to a Business Profile - At the top right corner of the page, open the settings menu. 
Instagram Business Account Setup Step 1

• Scroll down until you see "Account," then click on it.  

Instagram Business Account Setup Step 2

• Scroll until you see "Switch to Professional Account," then click on it.

Instagram Business Account Setup Step 3

• Choose “Business”

Instagram Business Account Setup Step 4

• Click through until you get a prompt to connect to Facebook. Select “Choose a page” and set the page to "public." Click, "OK."

Instagram Business Account Setup Step 5

(Only an admin on the account can complete this step. You will not see the page if you are just an authorized user.)

5. Complete the profile setup - enter an email, phone number, and address for your business.

6. Click “Done” and go to your profile. A new Insights page graph icon should appear at the top of the Instagram app. Your Insights page is where you can keep track of promotions and engagement stats.  

2) Connect You Product Catalog to Instagram Business Account

You can connect your product catalog in two ways:

  1. Connecting directly on Facebook
  2. Connecting through Facebook partners 

Option #1 – Connecting product catalog directly

To connect your catalog to an Instagram Business account in Catalog Manager:  

  • Go to “Management Catalogs” on Facebook and create a Catalog in Facebook Catalog Manager.
  • Once you have completed those steps, select the catalog that you want to connect to your Instagram business account.
  • On the "Use Cases page," select "Instagram Shopping" and then "Connect Profile." Note that the Instagram Shopping option only appears if you have fulfilled the requirements.
  • Select "Add a new Instagram Business Profile."
  • In the pop-up window, log into your Instagram business account.
  • You have connected a catalog to your Instagram business account.  
Connecting Facebook Product Catalog

Once you have connected your account and catalog, open the Instagram app to sign up for Instagram Shopping. (See step 3)

Option #2 – Connecting Product through Facebook Partners

You can also connect your product catalog through Facebook partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Ecwid.

These ecommerce platforms have specific instructions for connecting product catalog.

3) Sign up for Instagram Shopping

Once you have made your catalog and linked it to your Instagram Business account, it is time to apply for Instagram Shopping. Once more, you need to be eligible for this feature.

Go to your profile and click on:

➢ Settings

Instagram Shopping Setup Step 1

➢ Business

Instagram Shopping Setup Step 2

➢ Shopping

Instagram Shopping Setup Step 3

➢ Continue.
➢ Select a product catalog to connect to your professional account.  

Instagram Shopping Setup Step 4

➢ Done

Note: If you do not see Shopping, your account is probably still under review, or is awaiting approval for Instagram Shopping. The review process can take up to a few days, but sometimes they may need to review the account in more detail, which can take longer.

4) Tag Your Products

Once you have done all the steps above and have approval for Instagram Shopping, you can start tagging products in your posts and stories.

To tag products in your posts:

  • Select a photo or video and add a caption, effects, and filters.
  • Tap the products in the photo that you want to tag. For videos, a tray will appear where you can select up to five products you want to tag.
  • Enter the names of the products you want to tag, then select them as they appear in the search box. 
  • Tap "Done."
  • Tap "Share." 
Instagram Tag Products

Source:Nike Womenon Instagram

You can preview your posts or saved drafts under "Preview Tagged Products" or "Save Draft." You can tag up to 5 products per post and 20 for multi-image posts.

How to Sell through Organic Posts and Stories on Instagram

Instagram is a storytelling community, which does this through images. Your products are not just "things," even if they are physical products. You cannot motivate visitors to buy your product only by placing an image of a bag or bikini. You need to tell a story, match your colors, write the perfect caption, and tag your products right.

To sell your product through organic posts and stories, you need to engage your followers using hashtags and location tags. Users need to be aware that they can purchase products from your Instagram profile. You can do all this by:

  • Motivating buyers to tag your products in their images
  • Sharing images shared by your buyers
  • Making teasers for new products in posts and stories
  • Going behind the scenes with how you make your products or celebrities that will promote your product
  • Making polls on stories to find out how your customers feel about your products
  • Offering giveaways and getting fans to tag their friends
  • Making online one-time offers or discounts
  • Using hashtags and descriptions to sell your products
  • Using countdown in your stories to notify users when a new product will be released 

How to Engage Instagram Audience with User-generated Content

There are many ways that you can leverage and engage your audience and customers to get user-generated content. Your fans will love to be part of the action and buzz, and nothing is better than being "reposted" by another account.

You could motivate your buyers to show their reaction upon receiving their product. Introduce the popular product unboxing. Include having your customers open the product they just purchased and show it off in a post or story. You can then use this on your business account and have other users see and be motivated to buy the product.

Instagram Audience

You could ask your buyers to review your products on their posts or stories. They could explain why they loved and bought a specific product and how they use it. You can also motivate them to vote on your polls, ask questions, or give feedback through the many Instagram Story options.

You could also send a product as a gift to an influencer and hope that they will share it in their story or post to thank you.

How to Grow Sales through Instagram Ads

Advertising on Instagram can help you reach a new and targeted audience. It is a worthwhile investment, especially if your brand or business is new. You can plan out your Instagram ads to reach the customers who are most likely to be interested in your products.

Instagram Influencer

Finding a successful strategy on Instagram can be a catalyst for your business. For a long time, the issue with Instagram marketing was that you could not put clickable links in your post. Therefore, brands had to direct their fans to the link in their bio instead and continuously update it.

But now, you can include links to your website in Instagram posts if you advertise. Instagram is also now offering the option of Instagram Checkout, making product purchases more straightforward than ever.

Use Retargeting

To further improve your Instagram ad effectiveness, use retargeting to engage people who have already visited your website. In other words, consumers who have already expressed a level of interest in what your brand provides.

You can do this through Dynamic Ads. You can focus on one specific product when retargeting or use its carousel format to highlight similar items to help nudge customers in the right direction.

To get started, simply implement Facebook Pixel on your ecommerce website and upload your entire product catalog into the Business Manager. Once you setup a retargeting campaign in Facebook Ads Manager, ads will be shown based on the products viewed on your site and the uploaded product images. For example, if users saw a black fancy dress on your ecommerce website but did not buy it, the ad should contain an image of a black fancy dress with your call to action incentivizing the purchase.

Influencers

Influencers are Instagram personalities who already have an established audience. Their followers look to them for purchase recommendations and advice, so it should come as no surprise that brands are increasingly turning to influencers to promote their products.

As a visual platform, Instagram offers the perfect path to engage your target audience using influencers' help. A good Instagram influencer marketing strategy can help you get high traffic and more engagement, which ultimately brings higher returns/conversions.

To increase the number of sales generated by influencer content, provide influencers with a discount code or promo link. If you intend to use multiple influencers to promote your products, assign each a unique code or link so you can track their conversions.

How to Measure Instagram Ecommerce Success

To see the effectiveness of your organic posts or stories, Instagram ads, or promotions through influencers, you need to measure everything – from views, over clicks, to purchases. 

You can track the upper part of the sales funnel for an Instagram Business account through the Insights feature . You will be able to track reach (impressions) and interactions (clicks, comments, likes). This solution comes out of the box, and you do not have to set up anything.

Instagram Ecommerce Tracking

Track the middle and lower part of the sales funnel with Google Analytics in combination with links UTM parameters . You will be able to track behavior on your ecommerce website and purchases. This solution is specific for your website, and it requires to set up to work correctly.

The setup process has two steps:

  • Creating links with UTM tags
  • Implementing tagged links on Instagram 

You can add five parameters (UTM tags) to a link:

  • Campaign (utm_campaign, name of promotion)
  • Source (utm_source, name of the website which sent the traffic – mandatory parameter)
  • Medium (utm_medium, name of the channel or link type)
  • Content (utm_content, type of content which was linked) · Term (utm_term, search keyword) 

Let us say you have a spring collection campaign, and you want to tag links for a fancy black dress to promote through an Instagram story.

You can use Google’s free tool Campaign URL builder for tagging links with UTM parameters.

All you must do is to use links with UTM parameters in shoppable posts, stories, and ads that have tagged products.

Let us say you are creating one shoppable post with three tagged products: Fancy Black Dress, Small Leather Purse, and Diva Sunglasses.

In that case, you would need three links with UTM parameters:

With a setup like this, Google Analytics would be able to connect traffic from your specific posts, stories, and ads and match them with appropriate product purchases on your ecommerce website.

Also, you will be able to drill down data in Google Analytics and see which formats are bringing you most customers or which products are popular on Instagram.

 Conclusion

Who would have thought that a mobile-based, image sharing platform could prove to be such an influence on ecommerce success? There is something about being able to carelessly flip between pictures of loved ones and then land on a bag that is "to die for," click on it and voila, have it sent to your doorstep.

Instagram Shopping has not only proved its value as an ecommerce solution but also as an additional channel for sales. The profit comes when you reach consumers while their guard is down, and when they are more likely to let their shopaholic desires take control. With the new addition of Instagram Checkout, the value of Instagram as an ecommerce platform can only aspire to grow more in the years to come.