Transform Your Instagram into a Digital Storefront with Shoppable Posts
With the introduction of shoppable posts, Instagram is embracing the e-commerce side of its platform and allowing users to take every step of their purchasing journey—from discovery to checkout—directly from the app—though eliminating the unnecessary steps between discovering a cool product and placing an order. Using these posts, you’ll be able to transform your Instagram into a digital storefront that users can browse and shop.
How It Works
Each shoppable post has a small shopping bag icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the picture. When a user taps on the image, a pop-up “product tag” displays the featured item’s (or items’) name and price. Tapping on this tag brings the user to a product description page on Instagram. From there, they can go to your website, save the product, or continue to browse your products on Instagram. Some brands even have access to in-app checkout, although this feature is still limited to select businesses.
You can tag up to five products per image or video and up to twenty products per carousel. In stories, you can add products to your videos and images by using a “product sticker.”
Requirements for Instagram Shoppable Posts
Before you can set up your Instagram digital storefront, you’ll need to first check that you meet all of IG’s eligibility requirements:
- You must be located in one of the Instagram’s list of eligible countries.
- Your products must be considered physical objects and comply with Instagram’s commerce policies.
- You must have the latest version of the Instagram app on iOS or Android.
- You must have an Instagram Business account (IG Creators may also eventually have access to this feature as well.)
- Your Business account must be connected to a Facebook catalog via your FB Page.
Provided that you meet these 5 simple requirements, you’ll be all set to connect a catalog and start selling on Instagram.
How to Set Up Your Catalog and Create Your First Post
Connecting your Catalog
Before you can create your first shoppable post, you have to first connect a catalog of products to your Instagram account, and there are 2 ways you can go about this—either through Facebook’s Catalog Manager, which you can use to connect an existing FB catalog or create a new one, or through one of Facebook’s e-commerce partners:
Option 1: Use the Catalog Manager.
Using the Catalog manager, you can either create a catalog from scratch or connect a Facebook catalog to your IG account. Keep in mind that to use product tags and stickers, you’ll need to create an e-commerce catalog from the list of options.
Option 2: Use a Facebook Partner (i.e. BigCommerce or Shopify).
If you have a BigCommerce or Shopify account, you can connect it to your Instagram account by submitting it for review. You can do this by going to your profile’s settings. Just tap Business, and tap Shopping on Instagram. Then follow the steps to submit your account for review. While the process usually takes only a few days, it sometimes it can take longer. Before you get started, just make sure that the Facebook account connected to your account on BigCommerce or Shopify is the same one connected to your Instagram account.
Using Product Tags and Stickers
Tagging a product in a post or IG Story is as easy as tagging a friend.
To add a shoppable tag to a post, you’ll simply start by uploading a photo as you would normally. Then, in the next step (where you normally add captions and locations), you’ll see the option to tag a product. Just begin typing the product name, and select it from the drop-down list. After that, you’re good to go! You can add product tags to both new and old posts.
Making your Stories shoppable is a bit different as it uses “stickers,” not tags. However, the basic principle is the same. After uploading your photo or video, you’ll select the product sticker from the product tray and select the product you want to feature. From there, you can move the sticker around and change the text color by tapping the sticker.
Best Practices for Incorporating Shoppable Posts into Your Instagram Strategy
Although tagging a product on Instagram is a breeze, you’ll need to put more thought into the creative side of posting your products on Instagram.
With 80% of IG users following at least one business account, it’s clear that these users are interested in the platform as more than a place to connect with friends. It’s also a place to find inspiration and products to improve their lives. However, that doesn’t mean that those users appreciate being sold to at every turn.
There’s a time and a place for traditional product pictures. Instagram isn’t it. To avoid looking too “salesy,” you should use creative photography techniques to showcase your products in unique, interesting ways. “Lifestyle photos” demonstrate to consumers how products could actually be incorporated into their lives. For example, a jewelry designer might post an image of how her bracelets could be styled and stacked together as part of a boho-inspired look.
You can also ask your customers for images of their own (maybe in exchange for entry into a content or for a discount on their next purchase). Reposting and tagging user-generated content will give your feed a more authentic feel.
Whatever you decide, just make sure to track your results so you can determine what type of content best drives sales to your business. For each post, take a look at copy, images, and featured products and compare your highest performing posts to your lowest performing ones and establish any trends. Over time, you’ll be able to tweak your approach to find the right balance between inspiration and call to action that keeps consumers engaged during each stage of their purchasing journey.