Instagram is the best platform for driving ecommerce conversions. Here's the complete guide of how to sell on Instagram in 2023.
In 2023, Instagram remains the best platform for driving ecommerce conversions.
In fact, in a recent study by Modern Retail, 45% of consumer brands and retailers surveyed reported that Instagram led to the most conversions, while only 15% chose TikTok.
With 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram represents a huge opportunity for online brands to engage with potential customers and drive sales.
And today we’re going to tackle one of the freshest tools available for selling on Instagram – Instagram Shopping.
But first, we must settle the difference between social selling and social commerce.
Social Selling VS Social Commerce
Selling on Instagram, and on social media in general, involves two separate, equally important steps.
Social selling is the act of building interest in your products and brand while engaging with potential customers. Basically, it means keeping an active social media presence, bringing your offers in front of your audience and staying on top of their minds.
It is the first step any business should take when beginning their Instagram journey.
Social commerce, on the other hand, involves streamlining the flow that converts the generated interest into an actual purchase, reducing as much friction from the checkout process as possible.
Since social channels boomed a decade and a half ago, and up until around 2016, brands were solely focused on social selling. That’s because for a long time, platforms lacked the functionalities to allow for much else.
However, things have drastically changed in the past few years.
Coming to the realization that more and more people use social channels to make their buying decisions, major players like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok began shifting towards social commerce, adding features to allow shoppers to complete a purchase without having to leave the platform.
And that’s exactly what Instagram Shopping is all about.
What is Instagram Shopping?
Instagram Shopping is a set of features that allow people to easily shop your brand’s photos and videos across Instagram.
With Instagram Shopping, you can add all your products to your Instagram account and create shoppable posts and stories so that customers can view and buy your products directly on Instagram.
They can see which product is being shown in each picture by using product tags. You tag products in your post the same way you would tag a friend.
You’ll distinguish a Shoppable post by the little shopping bag in the lower left corner of the grid post. Tapping on it will take you directly to the list of products shown in the image or video.
There, you’ll see relevant product information such as name, price, sizes and colors available, or even product descriptions and the return policy. You then have the option to visit the product page on the website, from where to complete the purchase.
Since March 2019, Instagram has also started rolling out to certain businesses in the US a beta version of Instagram Checkout - a functionality that allows users to make the purchase directly in Instagram, without leaving the app, by simply completing billing and card info once.
What’s more - once you connect your shop to Instagram, you’ll also get a ‘View Shop’ button on top of your profile page.
This is important especially as nowadays your Instagram page almost acts as a website for your brand. In fact, a lot of people will go to an Instagram account before they even go to a website.
So, the ability to easily find your shop and products the moment they visit your Instagram account represents a huge opportunity for brands in terms of increasing conversions.
The Benefits of Instagram Shopping
Before we actually dive into how to connect your shop and start selling on Instagram, we should first discuss the benefits of doing so.
- It makes shopping easier
Social commerce is all about meeting your customers where they are.
Well, worldwide, people are spending 12 hours per month on Instagram, so it’s a no-brainer they’ll have a greater chance at discovering your products if you pop-up on their feed while they’re scrolling on Instagram.
Especially if you also give them a dead easy, frictionless option to turn the intent into an actual purchase.
- People are loving it
According to Instagram shopping statistics figures, 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts on the platform every month. Probably because it allows users to feel inspired and act on it in a matter of taps.
- It’s free
Yes, the best part is, it is free. You’ll only pay a commission if someone purchases through Instagram Checkout.
Bonus Benefit 1: As of September 2021, creators who already have their own product lines can link their shop to their personal Instagram profile in addition to their business profile. This allows them to display and sell their products directly to fans.
Bonus Benefit 2: Instagram is currently experimenting with an affiliate sales initiative that uses product linking. If the program becomes more widely available, participants could receive a commission when customers purchase through their tags. This will revolutionize affiliate marketing and provide influencers with a powerful reason to collaborate with brands.
How to sell on Instagram
Now that we’ve seen all the benefits you could get from connecting your shop to Instagram, it’s time to learn how.
It’s a 5 steps approach that you’ll be done with in no time.
1. Make sure you’re eligible
Ok, but first, you must ensure you’re eligible to sell on Instagram.
There’s a list of requirements that you must meet for Instagram to approve your request.
- Represent your business and your domain
- Be located in a supported market - here’s the list of countries that support Instagram Commerce.
- Provide accurate information and follow best practices - meaning your product listings mustn’t contain misleading prices or availability info, and you should have a well put in place refund and return policy.
- Only sell physical goods - unfortunately, for now, you can’t sell digital products or services through Instagram Shopping.
- Demonstrate trustworthiness
If the first five are pretty straightforward, here’s where it gets a little tricky.
This is how Instagram describes this criteria: “Your Instagram professional account must have demonstrated trustworthiness, including through an authentic, established presence. This may also include maintaining a sufficient follower base.”
Now, “an authentic, established presence” is hard to define and can mean a lot of things.
However, the clear takeaway is that you can’t simply open an Instagram business account and apply for Instagram Shopping on the same day.
Instead, you must have some sort of social media marketing plan in place, create at least a few pieces of engaging content first, and have a “sufficient follower base”.
So, you have to actively play the Instagram game for at least of couple of months before you can start selling. You should strive to post as often as possible and grow your profile to at least a few hundred followers if you want to have a real chance at getting accepted.
Of course, if you’ve just opened your online store and started your entrepreneurial journey, getting creative on Instagram may be the least of your concerns.
But this is where tools like eyeris.io come in handy when you don’t have the time to come up with engaging social media content every day, nor the budget to hire an agency.
eyeris.io allows you to create stunning Instagram content for your products and your brand in a couple of seconds, so you can quickly grow your Instagram profile and finally start selling.
2. Set up Meta Business Suite and create a Facebook Page
As Instagram and Facebook are both under Meta, it’s no wonder they always go hand in hand when it comes to this kind of stuff.
Now if you don’t already have a Meta Business Suite account set-up, just go to business.facebook.com and create one. It’s super easy.
From there you’ll be able to manage both your Instagram and Facebook business profiles, schedule posts, view insights, and create ads.
Then, go ahead and create a Facebook Page for your business.
3. Switch to a Professional account and link it to your Facebook Page
If you haven’t already, it’s time you switched your Instagram business profile to a Pro account.
This can be done instantly, and it will also grant you access to other Instagram business tools, such as the ability to run ads, view insights and demographics.
Just go to your Instagram Profile -> Menu -> Settings -> Account -> Switch to professional account.
Once that’s done, link your new Professional account to your Facebook Page. Go to Settings -> Account -> Sharing to other apps -> Add Facebook Page.
That’s it, you’re now ready to connect your shop to Instagram.
4. Connect your shop to Instagram
You can choose to onboard onto Instagram Shopping by setting up your shop in Commerce Manager or a supported partner platform.
If you’re on Shopify, for instance, you can go directly to your Shopify dashboard, click on Sales channels, and select Instagram & Facebook.
Then, go to Products manager, select your products, and make them available on the Facebook & Instagram sales channel as well.
The best thing about connecting your shop through a partner platform such as Shopify is that all the administrative stuff like inventory tracking will be automatically dealt with by them.
That’s it. Now you just have to wait a few days for your request to be approved. When it is, you’ll receive a notification from Instagram letting you know that you can start selling.
5. Start selling
The floor is now yours to start tagging your products and increase those sales!
You can make your shop more unique by putting together groups of products or choosing specific items that fit a certain theme.
And just like on your regular online store, you can create pages that describe each product, including stuff like price and description, then send people to your website to complete the purchase.
And, if you’re short on creative ideas for posts and ads visuals, on top of which to tag your products, eyeris.io allows you to create powerful, branded content for Instagram in no time.
The best part? It’s free, integrated with Shopify, and installing the app has no impact on your store.
And that’s a wrap!
Consider yourself set to boost conversions and increase sales for your online business through the power of Instagram Shopping.
However, never forget, Instagram isn’t and shouldn’t be only about shopping.
Your main goal should always be to use this platform to define your brand, create a narrative around it and build an engaged audience and community. And this can only be achieved through great, consistent content.
First, define your social media strategy and ensure you’re always improving it by keeping up with trends.
Second, connect your shop to Instagram and reduce the friction between user intent and purchase.
And then, the world will be at your feet.