Social commerce

How to Set Up an Instagram Shop (Instagram Shopping Feature Explained)

  • 16 Minutes
This is the ultimate guide to the new Instagram shopping feature. Learn everything about it, and discover how to set up your shop on Instagram.

Instagram Shop offers endless opportunities for you to turn your Instagram page into a key sales tool. But how do you make the most of it? Discover how to set up an Instagram shop and leverage it to make more sales and smash your competition!

Looking for more information about Instagram shopping? Or do you simply want to know how to set up an Instagram shop for the first time? Either way, you’ve come to the right place!

Instagram shopping posts open your brand up to a potential audience of 500 million daily users on Instagram by allowing you to connect your sales directly to your Instagram profile. 

This is a super-easy way to use Instagram to showcase your product catalog and connect with users who have a high purchase intent. This will allow you to accumulate more sales in the long term – and that’s a win in our eyes!

Read on to discover everything you need to know about how to set up an Instagram Shop as well as our top Instagram Shop tips and tricks to optimize your customer’s experience shopping through your profile.

Why use Instagram Shop?

The Instagram shopping feature allows you to build a new digital storefront on a platform you are already established on, and all for free! Instagram Shop makes it easier to reach existing customers who are already interested in your brand.

But not only that – Instagram shopping is also a great way to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences. It acts as a touchpoint for users who are just browsing to easily see your product offering. 

A staggering 130 million Instagram users tap on Instagram shopping posts every month to learn more about the products featured. And 81% of people use Instagram to help them explore and research products and services. That represents a huge number of potential customers you can target. 

Brands are already seeing great success with the Instagram shopping feature, with companies such as Barbour declaring that, since implementing Instagram Shop, their sales from Instagram have increased by 42% and their website traffic has increased by 98% overall. 

With all this success and new features coming out all the time, you’d be silly not to consider using Instagram Shop. Instagram really is one of the best social media platforms for selling, and, with new updates being released regularly, it’s only going to improve as time goes on.

What are Instagram Shopping posts?

Instagram shopping is as simple as see, tap, shop – making the shopping experience on social media seamless. 

Instagram Shopping

To take advantage of this fantastic Instagram shopping feature, all you have to do is learn how to set up an Instagram shop, and then start tagging your products in the photos, videos, and Instagram Stories you post. Then, simply let your customers do the rest!

Once users tap on your tagged posts, they will be able to connect to your Instagram Shop. There, they’ll be able to view other images of that product, as well as a product description and the cost of the product. They’ll also be able to easily view any of your other related items that they might be interested in. 

Most importantly, your product pages within Instagram Shop also include a direct link to the specific product page on your website, where customers can purchase the products. Plus, after you set up your Instagram Shop, your shopping posts will then be discoverable not only on your Feed but they can also be featured on the Instagram Shopping Channel. And all without you having to spend a thing!

Find out how to get featured on the Instagram Shopping Channel here.

And now you can even tag products in your Instagram Stories, too, like in the example below. But more on this later!

Example of an Instagram Story that's been tagged

Discover How to Set Up an Instagram Shop

Step 1: Create a Business Profile

First things first; if you don’t already have a Business Profile on Instagram, you’ll have to convert your profile. The process for this is very simple but, once complete, means you’ll have access to profile insights and audience insights. Plus, you’ll be able to display your business’ contact details on your page, ensuring your profile looks sleek and professional.

First, make sure your account is set to public, not private. 

Next, simply head to your profile and tap “Settings” from the menu items, then tap “Account”.

Select “Switch to Professional Account” and then hit “Continue”. 

From there, simply follow the prompts and add your business contact details to finish. 

You’ll need to connect your Instagram page to a Facebook profile. If you’re not ready to fully set up your Business Facebook account yet, you can just create a basic Facebook Business Profile for now and update it more fully with all your details later. 

Now you have a Business profile – it’s that easy!

Step 2: Set Up a Catalog

Next up, you’ll need to set up a Catalog on Facebook. This Facebook Catalog includes the exact products that will pull through to Instagram for users to browse. The Catalog is essentially where all your products will be stored and saved so customers can view them. If you don’t already have this set up, there are a couple of different ways you can achieve this.

Your Facebook Catalog can easily be created, updated, and managed on Commerce Manager or Business Manager on Facebook. Here’s how:

Option 1: Import Products Manually

If you’re just starting out or you only have a very small product range, you can choose to upload products in your Instagram Shop manually, one by one. But, as you can imagine, this can be a tedious process, especially if you have hundreds of styles or color variations in your product range.

To do this, take the following steps:

  1. Log in to Business Manager, and select “Commerce Manager” from the menu items. Hit “Add Catalog”

Add catalogue for Instagram Shopping

  1. Click “Get started” and then hit “Create a Catalog”
  2. Hit “Get started” and then hit “Next”
  3. Hit “Ecommerce” as your Catalog type and hit “Next”

Select eCommerce in catalogue type

  1. Enter a name for your Catalog
  2. Assign the Catalog to your relevant Business Manager account
  3. Once your Catalog is created you can start adding items
  4. At any time, you can navigate to your Catalog’s “Overview”
  5. From there, hit “Add items” and choose how you’d like to upload your products. 
  6. Select “Manual”, then hit “Next”

Choose manual in 'add items'

  1. From there, you can add your images, product names, product descriptions, and a link to your products on your website. Try to add intuitive product names, clear images, and add as much detail as you can to ensure your products can be found easily. Try to avoid adding lifestyle images where it is unclear which product you’re selling. You can always add these lifestyle images as posts later if you like
  2. When you’re all done, hit finish!

Option 2: Upload Products Automatically Using a Data Source

If you have a large product range, don’t worry, you don’t need to painstakingly upload every product to your Instagram Shop one by one! 

You can simply pull existing product information from your website directly through Shopify or BigCommerce platforms. If the products aren’t listed yet on your website, of course, they won’t appear in your Instagram Shop.

To create your Product Catalog in this way, follow steps 1-9 of the manual method as above.

Then, complete the following:

  1. Select “Use a Partner Platform”, then hit “Next”

Partner platform in 'Add Items'

  1. Select your platform of choice: Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub, Feedonomics, CedCommerce, adMixt, DataCaciques, Quipt, Zentail, or WooCommerce
  2. Finally, follow the link to your partner platform and follow the steps there to connect your account with Facebook, where your products should pull through automatically to populate your Instagram Shop!

Step 3: Gain Instagram Account Approval

Next up, Instagram will have to approve your Business profile. To gain this approval, you’ll need to comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies, have a connected Facebook Page, primarily sell physical goods, and ensure your account is connected to a Facebook Catalog.

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 – this is completely normal! And it’s also common for Instagram to require additional information from your business.

How to Tag Instagram Shopping Posts

Once approved, linking to your Instagram Shop is as simple as tagging an account in a post, but, instead of an account, you’ll be tagging a product! 

You can tag up to five products in a single post and up to 20 in a multi-post, or 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 populates your Instagram Shop and will allow customers to scroll through and view all of your tagged products in one go.

Once your Instagram Shop is all approved and connected, you can tag your products the same way as you would tag other accounts, except instead of tagging people, you would hit “Tag products”. This means you’ll be able to add any product from your Instagram Shop to that post. If you need to add more products to your shop at any time, you can do this using the Commerce Manager.

Instagram Shopping

You can also tag products when you’re scheduling your posts using Sked Social. Simply upload your post as normal, and hit “Add product tags” to add any products.

Adding product tags to Instagram post on Sked Social

To tag an Instagram Story, simply go to upload an Instagram Story or video as you normally would, and swipe up as you would do to add a location tag or song. 

This time, however, select the “Shopping” tag and hit “Products”. Once you’ve connected your Instagram Shop, you’ll be able to tag any of your products in your Stories.

Review Your Instagram Shop Insights

Did you know that when you set up an Instagram Shop you can also gain insights on your customers? You’ll be able to use the insights from the Instagram shopping feature to see how many people view and interact with your Instagram shopping posts. This will allow you to gain deeper insights into how your products are performing with your audience.

Through these Instagram Shop insights, you’ll know which of your products customers are most interested in and how many website referrals you are getting from each post. Using this information, you can better shape your Instagram marketing strategy and optimize your Instagram Shop, making it work harder for you.

Plus, if customers aren’t quite ready to buy just yet, they can still save Instagram shopping posts that they’re interested in and come back to them later. These saved posts will get added to their own “Wishlist” of products on Instagram.

Instagram wishlist page

Tips to make the most of Instagram Shopping

Now you’ve got the hang of how to set up your Instagram shop and tag your products, how else can you utilize this feature to its best advantage? Follow our top Instagram Shop tips to optimize your Insta shop!

  1. Try tagging more than one product per post for better exposure. Just don’t overcrowd the image. After all, you don’t want to overwhelm the buyer and you still want each product to be highlighted individually.
  2. Remember to mix it up. You can and you should tag products in images, carousels, and Stories. Utilize different post types as much as possible and connect people with your shop as frequently as you can. 
  3. Use compelling visuals. Instagram is, as we all know, all about the visual. So, capture attention with bright, colorful images that will stop people scrolling!
  4. Showcase your products in a variety of ways. For instance, if your product is a ladies’ blouse, show all the different ways you can wear and style it. Show the product being used, not just sitting in the home (unless it’s a decorative item).
  5. Aim to target specific users with each post. If you make your posts super generic, you’ll fail to connect with anyone. Don’t be afraid to connect with specific audience segments, such as young mums, sports enthusiasts, or just hyper-local audiences. Then you can boost your posts and target those specific users.
  6. Carousels are a great way to show off a full product range, new products, or to create a mini lookbook for your brand. Being able to tag more products across these images lets you take full advantage of the Instagram shopping features available to you.
  7. When planning your Instagram Shop content, keep your product as the focus. You want your product to draw the eye and be the main attraction of the post, not a subject in the background. 
  8. When products go out of stock on your website, the tag will automatically be removed from your post. That means that if the item comes back in stock, you need to remember to re-tag it in any relevant posts. 
  9. Use a combination of “soft sells” as well as more direct posts. Don’t be afraid to drive urgency with limited-time offers or exclusive product offerings.
  10. Use your user-generated content (UGC) to showcase how real people have used your products.
  11. Go back and tag any old posts with products. While you might be new to the whole Instagram Shop thing, this doesn’t mean you can’t utilize it with all of the great content you’ve already posted. Go back through your Feed and get tagging!
  12. Once you’ve mastered how to set up an Instagram Shop, take your Instagram shopping to the next level by refining your Instagram e-commerce strategy to perfection.

Advertising with Instagram Shopping posts 

Did you know you can also advertise using your tagged Instagram Shopping posts? You can create boosted Instagram shopping posts through Ads Manager on Facebook and expand your post’s reach.

All you need to do is select the tagged Instagram 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 your product page. Then users will be able to click straight through and purchase directly from your website. Or, simply build an ad from scratch using Business Manager.

Curate Collections on your Instagram Shop

Once you’ve truly mastered your Instagram Shop, why not make it look the best it can possibly look but utilizing Collections?

Collections are essentially curated collections of products grouped into categories. They could be grouped by product type, style, or theme. Each collection will include a name, description, and cover image. 

If you have a sizeable product range, this makes it much easier for customers to browse through all your products and find what they’re looking for.

To create a Collection, you’ll need to already have your Instagram Shop set up. From there, follow the below steps:

  1. Head to your Commerce Manager
  2. Hit “Edit”
  3. Hit “Add New”
  4. Hit “Collection”
  5. Select “Create new collection” and then click “Confirm”
  6. Give your collection a name and select the products you’d like to include. You can click the play button to select variants, like a specific color or size
  7. Click “Confirm”
  8. Add your product details, including your images with a minimum size of 800 x 600 pixels.
  9. Add a Title 
  10. Add your subtitle, which is optional
  11. When you’re finished, just hit “Publish” and you’re done!

Buy Directly Thorough Instagram Shop

Instagram Shop has 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, but if they find it to be successful, it will hopefully be rolled out to all businesses worldwide. The benefits of an “instant” checkout feature would be immense to both businesses and customers, as it simplifies the path to purchase and makes it easier for customers to shop on Instagram.

Businesses may see higher conversions as the shopping process is streamlined even further 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. This makes shopping on Instagram just that little bit easier – not to mention a lot more tempting!

While this part of the Instagram Shop will make shopping easier for the customer, however, keep in mind that you’ll be relying on Instagram as an e-commerce platform and there are always risks involved when leaving it up to a third party. You might prefer to direct customers straight through to your website so they can have a branded experience that is easier for you to control. As Instagram continues to improve and roll out the instant shopping feature, businesses will need to decide which checkout method they prefer.

It’s up to you to weigh the risks – i.e., a sale now, versus getting customers to your website, getting their data (an email address ideally), and building a relationship with them on your owned assets.

Simplify Your Social Media Marketing with Sked Social

The benefits of using the Instagram shopping feature are endless, but, that said, it does add an extra element to your posting regime. Therefore, to make things easier, why not try a scheduling platform?

Now that you know how to set up an Instagram Shop, why not start saving countless hours in your social media workflow by signing up for Sked’s 7-day trial? Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos, and more. You can tag products using Sked, as well as adding location tags, user tags. and hashtags, all in the one place!

This will help you save hours every week, transforming your social media marketing strategy from ad-hoc to amazing.

Have you tried using the Instagram Shop yet? If so, have you been successful in generating sales from the platform yet? Tell us in the comments below!

Get a Sked start with a free trial

Try our amped up all-in-one platform free for 7 days. Get full access and see how absolutely easy it is to rock your visual marketing plans from here on out!