2020 has been a pivotal year for eCommerce, and it’s only getting started. In May, Facebook announced Instagram Shops – a new online shopping experience where people can browse curated collections and buy products from the comfort of Instagram.
Just two months later, beauty giant Sephora officially opened its Instagram shop – and if it’s good enough for Sephora, it’s good enough for you.
To help you get started, this introduction to Instagram Shopping covers everything you need to know about this new sales channel, including getting set up, driving sales, and fulfilling orders.
What are Instagram Shops?
Instagram Shops are full-screen, immersive shop fronts that enable users to discover, explore, and purchase products directly on Instagram. In their words:
“We want to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying.”
Instagram Shops are packed full of useful features for sellers and shoppers, with plenty more planned for release, including:
Users can visit your shop directly from your profile, or discover it through tagged posts, stories, ads, and now, live videos.
Instagram has also released an @shop feed that curates personalized product suggestions based on a user’s previous purchase, browsing, and engagement behavior – getting your products in front of new and relevant audiences.
The shop tab on your profile is your very own storefront. You can customize your shop’s look and feel to build your brand story and create product selections to drive discoverability.
Customers browsing your shop can save products, add multiple items to their shopping cart, and make purchases using the Instagram Checkout feature. Eventually, shopfronts will become personalized for visitors – so, if a man visits your shop, they’ll see male-focused products.
There are also plans to integrate customer loyalty programs, in the same way as Facebook Shops, and release a native loyalty feature for customers.
Instagram Shops also provides you with another channel for eCommerce customer support.
Customers can ask questions and receive tracking updates via Instagram Direct. In the future, they can purchase from within chats themselves – allowing you to convert customers at every touchpoint possible.
Why sell on Instagram Shops?
Driving Shopify sales via Instagram is excellent, but making sales directly on the platform is frictionless, enjoyable, wide-reaching, and more.
Shoppers can scroll their feed, browse your shop, add products to their cart, and purchase items without leaving the app. This reduces the friction that clicking links, re-adding products, and creating a customer account creates – providing less opportunity for abandonment to occur.
People like browsing Instagram because it’s fun, personalized, and full of people and companies they love. Shops enhance that experience by enabling users to explore collections and purchase products they’ll love too.
You reach new audiences
Instagram’s @shop curated feed works similarly to Wish’s product feed, using customer behavior to generate a personalized, scrollable, and addictive shopping feed. This puts your products in front of the people most likely to buy them and allows you to reach new audiences not yet following you.
Customers shop on their terms
Of course, you might want people shopping directly on your website, but some customers don’t want to. Instagram Shops give customers the choice of how and where to buy from you – meaning that you don’t lose a customer just because they prefer buying on the app.
It’s a social media platform
These benefits complement the existing benefits of social media for eCommerce, including:
- More personal relationships with customers
- A place that fosters and shares social proof
- Access to eCommerce influencers and ambassadors
- Compelling and engaging visuals
- A native mobile experience
Who can sell on Instagram Shops?
If you receive an email from Facebook confirming that you can use shops, all you must do is meet the business eligibility and set up criteria to get started.
The business eligibility requirements for Instagram Shops are:
- Location in a supported market (includes North America)
- The sale of primarily physical goods
- Compliance with the Merchant Agreement and Commerce Policies
The setup requirements for Instagram Shops are:
- You have an Instagram business account
- You are the Page admin for the Facebook page connected to Instagram
- You are the Business Manager admin
- You manage your Instagram profile, Facebook Page, and catalog in the same Business Manager account
How to sell on Instagram Shops
After meeting the eligibility requirements, you’re only four steps away from selling on Instagram Shops.
1. Create a Facebook Shop and product collections
Tip: Create a Facebook Shop by syncing your Shopify store to Facebook.
2. Create an Instagram sales channel
To create your Instagram sales channel, log into Instagram, and tap Settings > Business > Shopping. Instagram will then review your shop.
Once approved, tap Settings > Business > Shopping to select the product catalog and officially open your Instagram shop. As soon as you’ve tagged your first shopping product post, Instagram will display the shop tab on your profile.
3. Customize your Shop
To customize your Instagram shop’s look and feel, log into Instagram, and tap Profile > Edit Collections > Add. Select the collections you want featuring at the top of your store, and click Save.
Instagram stores shopping and browsing data about your Shop for you to analyze performance and increase success.
To review your insights, go to the Facebook Commerce Manager > Insights > Overview. Each tab shows a different performance metric.
How to promote your Instagram Shop
Your Instagram Shop needs a helping hand with promotion. Six fun and effective ways to promote your store are:
Branding your storefront
Your Instagram storefront is as fundamental as your Shopify storefront. It tells your brand story, engages visitors, and drives product discovery. Therefore, it must be eye-catching, exciting, and alluring to your target audience.
The prime areas to focus on are:
- Collections – create themed product collections, such as seasonal events, best sellers, launches, promotions, and trends.
- Hero images – use hero images that tell the story of the collection to spark interest.
- Product images – use clear and uncluttered product images.
- Consistency – use consistent branding and theming throughout your store and in your photographs.
Optimize products and collections
The Instagram @shop feed must know what your products and collections are before it can place them in front of relevant Instagram users.
Help the Instagram algorithm and increase your visibility by optimizing the headlines, titles, and descriptions of your products and collections using relevant long- and short-tail keywords, accurate descriptions, and clear photography.
Use relevant hashtags
Hashtags are an effective strategy for driving discoverability on Instagram. They help your posts appear in the @shop feed and in the feed of anyone following or searching the terms – increasing your exposure to potential customers.
To get started, add relevant hashtags to the end of your posts and on your stories. To get more results, conduct hashtag research using a tool such as Later to discover trending and niche hashtags that reach more users.
Make content actionable
The best way to get Instagram users to view and purchase from your shop is to make your content actionable, using shopping tags and stickers.
Shopping tags make it easy for users to identify shoppable products in a post, click to expand more information about the product, and click again to go to the product page.
To add a shopping tag, tap add caption > tag products and select the relevant product.
Shopping stickers are similar to shopping tags, but you add them to products in Instagram stories and live videos. There are four unique sticker styles to choose from, including a shopping bag icon or rainbow text. Viewers click the tag to find out more and click through to the product page.
To add a shopping sticker, tap the sticker icon and product sticker to select the relevant product.
Tip: You can add product tags to existing posts, so go back and get tagging.
Repurpose content into Shopping Ads
Instagram Shopping ads enable you to turn organic posts or stories into ads that target your intended audience at a scale. Anyone clicking the ad is taken directly to the product page on the platform, where they can save or purchase the product.
To get started with Shopping Ads, head to the Ads Manager and follow the instructions for creating, targeting, and running your ad.
Further reading: Shopify Social Ads for beginners
Create story highlights
Story highlights appear at the top of your Instagram page and allow you to save stories and categorize them. This makes it easy for new followers and customers to learn about your brand and products, without scrolling through your entire feed.
To get started, create individual highlights for your brand story, product categories, and customer reviews and start adding relevant stories. Don’t forget to add shopping stickers too.
How to use Deliverr to fulfill Instagram orders
Deliverr customers can use Deliverr to fulfill Instagram orders, too, meaning that selling via Shops doesn’t mean you must start fulfilling orders in-house.
If you’ve already configured Deliverr to fulfill Shopify orders, all you need to do is connect and sync your Facebook shop to your Shopify store.
If you haven’t configured Deliverr to fulfill Shopify orders, log into the Shopify dashboard, click Products, select the relevant products, and select Deliverr in the Inventory Management By drop-down. Then, head to Settings > Checkout > Order processing > After an order has been placed, and select automatically fulfill the order’s line items.
You can find full instructions here.
And that’s a step-by-step introduction to Instagram Shops – a powerful sales channel; another opportunity to reach, convert, and retain customers.