In 2018, Instagram rolled out their shopping feature to make it easier for customers to buy products, and increase sales efficiencies for businesses. Now, more than ever, having an easy-to-use E-Commerce solution can help your business, and your clientele adjust to the “new normal.”
Like Facebook’s Lead Ads feature (which we had previously written about), Instagram is always trying to make users stay on their platform while providing businesses with the tools they need to generate leads and sales.
We’re taking a look at Instagram Shopping, how it works, and some examples of businesses who have taken full advantage of this feature.
What Is Instagram Shopping?
Instagram Shopping gives businesses the opportunity to sell their products natively on the app through posts and stories. Facebook reports that 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery.
The catch? Businesses can promote products on the Instagram shopping page and their feeds, but if a user wants to buy said product, they have to go to the website via a “View on Website” link. This way, you can share a direct link to a specific product on any given post or story, while still being able to track where incoming traffic is coming from using UTM parameters.
The anatomy of a shopping post
Like any other Instagram post, you need an engaging photo, a catchy caption and use any relevant hashtags to drive awareness. With the product tag feature:
- You can tag up to 5 products per image (20 per carousel)
- Clicking a product leads to the product page natively on the app
- The product page features an image and product description
- The product page also has a CTA that leads to the linked webpage to make your purchase
- Include a “More From [you brand name]” – this gives the option to promote other products from your feed with shoppable products
- Include a “More Posts Like This” – this features posts with the same product tagged to give more context to a product (i.e. showing an article of clothing on different body types and stylings)
- Include a “Also Featured in This Post” – this showcases the other products tagged in the same image
Tracking & insights
With shopping posts, you can view engagement and click-through data in the Insights section of your Instagram account. You can filter your top-performing shopping posts apart from regular posts and engagements to see which products are getting the most attention.
Get storefront ready
There are a couple of steps to take to enable the shopping feature on your account:
- Switch your account to a business profile
Just like all other Instagram advertising features, you need a business profile.
Learn how to switch to a business profile
- Update your business info
Make sure everything is accurate and that your account isn’t set to private (you won’t be able to have a business account if it is!).
- Add your business email, phone number & address
If you don’t have a physical address for your business (i.e. you are an independent retailer that operates exclusively online), add your website URL.
- Connect your Instagram to your Facebook page
Instagram shopping functions on Facebook catalogs, so you need to have the two connected.
Learn how to connect your Instagram account to Facebook
- Set up your Facebook Catalog
Instagram pulls data from your Facebook Catalog, making it easier to promote your products across the Facebook – Instagram landscape. You can add and update products over time and even add discounts and special offers!
Learn how to add a catalog on Facebook
- Tag your products
Once everything is connected, you can tag products from your catalog in your photo (up to five per image). Make sure you’re accurately tagging your products.
It’s that easy! Once you’ve done all these steps successfully, the rest is smooth sailing.
Still need help? Instagram has a great step-by-step guide to set up shopping.
Promoting your products on Instagram
Now that your post is up on Instagram, much like conventional customer service, you need to be on the lookout for any questions or comments in your feed. “Does this come in black?”…“How long does shipping take?”…these are the kinds of questions to look out for.
Just be sure you’re vigilant and answering questions as soon as possible, your customers want to know you’re committed to providing them with the same service you would in-store or on an online boutique.
You can also add product stickers just like any other sticker to your stories to promote your products.
The best part? Just like Instagram Insights for shopping, you can track the stickers clicks on stories as well as how many of those clicks went further to the website product page.
Getting featured on Explore
Instagram has a “Shopping” section in the Explore tab that uses their algorithm to show users shopping-tagged posts from businesses they follow, and ones they might enjoy based on who they are following.
According to Instagram, “When you create an Instagram post with tagged products, the post will be shared with your Instagram audience and Explore, where 200 million accounts visit daily.”
Increasing sales with Instagram Shopping – DefShop
One of the first European businesses to use the shopping feature, DefShop was featured as an Instagram business success.
By implementing shopping tags to their feed, they were able to increase website visitors by 56%, had a 64% increase in sales and 13% higher conversion rate!
An important thing to take away from DefShop is that shopping is not supported on the desktop version of Instagram. To ensure that they’re getting their products to as many people as possible, they include product article numbers to the image’s caption for desktop users.
Using Shopping Tags Effectively – West Elm
If there’s one brand I would say to follow by example – it’s furniture company West Elm. They’ve been using product tags since August 2017 and have consistently promoted their products using the feature.
Every post has the right products tagged (and placed strategically to avoid covering other tags/images) and include a “More Like This,” “More Posts Like This” and “Also Featured in This Post” when applicable.
If you sell products online and are looking to promote on Instagram effectively – you NEED product tags. They will not only give your followers an added user experience, but you’ll also make generating sales a breeze. Be sure to nurture your Instagram clientele as you would in-store, and provide as much detail as possible to give them the info they need to become a loyal customer.