Instagram Shopping posts open your brand up to Instagram’s 500 million daily users by allowing you to connect your sales directly to your Instagram profile. This move is an easy way to use your established platform to build sales and showcase your products. Added bonus: it won’t cost you anything other than a small amount of time. Instagram Shopping allows you to build a new digital storefront on a platform you are already established on, for free. And you won’t only reach your existing customers, but this is a great way to increase brand awareness and reach. According to Facebook, 130 million Instagram users tap on Shopping posts every month to learn more about the products featured. And 81% of people use Instagram to help them research products and services. That is a huge number of people you can target to convert sales. You know the accounts tapping on your post are already interested in the product, so why not take the store to them? The Instagram Shopping feature gives customers who are already interested a nudge in the right direction to buy, with minimal to no effort from you. Brands are already seeing huge success with this tool, with companies such as Barbour stating that their sales from Instagram have increased by 42% and their website traffic by 98% since implementation. Natori increased Instagram traffic by 1416% and Magnolia Boutique saw a jump in Instagram revenue by 20%. What are Instagram Shopping posts? Instagram Shopping is as simple as see, tap, shop – making the shopping experience seamless. All you have to do is tag your products in photos, videos and Instagram Stories and let your customers do the rest. Once users tap on the post they will be able to see an image of the product from your post, product descriptions, additional images, the cost of the product and any of your other items that they might be interested in. This product page also includes a direct link to your website, where they can purchase the products. Your Shopping posts will then be discovered not only on your Feed but on Instagram Explore as well. How does it work? Your business profile will need to be approved for Instagram Shopping. To gain this approval you need to comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies, have a connected Facebook Page, primarily sell physical goods and connect your account to a Facebook Catalog. A Facebook catalog can easily be created and managed on Catalog Manager or Business Manager on Facebook, or alternatively through Shopify or BigCommerce platforms. Once you’ve ticked these off, you can submit your account for review. Through your Instagram profile’s settings under Business, you should find an Instagram Shopping option – you can apply through this link. Don’t be worried if the review process takes a few days or longer as this is completely normal. And it’s common for Instagram to require additional information from your business. Once approved, it is as simple as tagging an account in a post, but instead you’ll be tagging a product. You can tag up to five products in a singular post and up to 20 in a carousel. Every time you tag a product in a single image or carousel post, these posts will appear in their very own Shopping Feed under the Shopping tab on your profile. This tab creates your Instagram Shop and will allow customers to scroll through and view all of your tagged products in one go. You’ll also gain insights when using the Instagram Shopping feature. You’ll be able to see how many people view and interact with your Shopping content. This will allow you to gain great data about your products. You’ll know which of your products customers are most interested in and how many website referrals you are getting from each post. You can not only guide your products with this information, but it will also help you when planning your content strategy. Plus, if customers aren’t quite ready to buy, they can still save the post and come back to it later. How to make the most of Instagram Shopping Now you’ve got the hang of tagging products, what else can you do to utilise this feature? Try tagging more than one product per post for better exposure. Just don’t overcrowd the image, as you don’t want to overwhelm the buyer and you still want each product to shine through. Remember to mix it up. You can and you should tag products in images, carousels and Stories. Utilise your content options and connect people with your shop as frequently as possible. Carousels are a great way to show off a full product range, new products or to create a lookbook for your brand. Being able to tag more products across these images lets you take full advantage of Instagram Shopping. When it comes to customising the text colour in product stickers you have the most versatility with Stories. When tagging products in Instagram Stories you will have the option to change the text colour of the product sticker to complement your design. When planning your Instagram Shopping content, keep your product as the focus. You want your product to draw the eye and be the main attraction. When products go out of stock the tag will automatically be removed from your post. If the item comes back in stock, make sure you re-tag it in any posts. Go back and tag any old posts with products. While you might be new to the whole Instagram Shopping thing, this doesn’t mean you can’t utilise it with all of the great content you’ve already posted. Go back through your Feed and get tagging. Advertising with Shopping posts You can also advertise using your tagged Shopping posts. You can create a boosted Shopping post through Ads Manager on Facebook by selecting the tagged post as the campaign creative. Shoppers are then able to interact with your products directly through the ad. Any ad clicks will be taken to the product description page and users will be able to purchase directly from your website. Coming to an Instagram near you soon Instagram is slowly rolling out a new feature that allows customers to checkout and track their orders straight from the Instagram app, streamlining the process even further. This option is currently only available to a select number of businesses in the US, but if they find it to be successful, it will hopefully be rolled out worldwide. The benefits of a checkout feature would be immense to both businesses and customers. Businesses should see higher conversions as the shopping process is made even easier and customer information is saved within the app for easy future purchases. For users, when they find a product they love they can purchase and receive notifications about shipping and delivery without ever leaving the app. And as mentioned, once their first order is complete, their information will be saved for future purchases. Make shopping just that little bit easier and more tempting. While it will make shopping easier and smoother for the customer, keep in mind that you are banking on Instagram as an ecommerce platform and there are always risks involved when leaving it up to a third party. It’s up to you to weigh the risks – ie. a sale now versus getting them to your website, getting their data (an email address ideally), and building a relationship with them on your owned assets.