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Social media platforms have become the go-to place for brand owners and customers. 

Why? 

Because brand owners get to advertise their products to a wide range of audiences.

And with features such as shopping and in-app checkouts, customers can buy products without leaving the social media app.

Many social sharing apps support these features, and Instagram is no exception. 

Shopping on Instagram simplifies the buying process for your customers since they can make payments there, too. 

In this guide, we’re going to discuss:

  • What Instagram Shopping is
  • Its benefits
  • How you can set it up

Ready?

Let’s go!

Table of Contents

What is the Instagram Shopping Feature?

What are the Benefits of Using Instagram Shopping?

Who Can Use the Instagram Shopping Feature?

6 Types of Posts with Instagram Shopping

How to Set Up Instagram Shopping in 6 Simple Steps

4 Tips to Make the Most of Instagram Shopping

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Instagram Shopping Feature?

The Instagram Shopping feature is a feature that allows customers to browse through your product list and make purchases without leaving the app

Businesses get to share pictures and videos of their products via Instagram feed, Stories, Reels, and ad campaigns – basically, all Instagram posts.

The Instagram shop tab can be accessed from your profile.

Instagram account with shopping feature

The shopping feature lets brands display their product names, description, and price.  

Instagram shopping feature

If your posts are engaging enough, they can even get seen on the Explore page.

The idea is to inform users about their product, shipping, and even return details… directly on the Instagram app.

It’s like a secondary online store that can help promote your actual eCommerce store.

 How does it work?

It’s quite simple, actually!

All you need to do is create a Facebook Business Page and use the Catalog Manager from FB Manager to upload your products. 

That’s just a summary, though; we will talk more about how to set it up later on. 

Before that, let’s consider why you should use the shopping feature.

What are the Benefits of Using Instagram Shopping?

As a platform with over 1 billion active users, it’s only normal for people to turn to it for eCommerce marketing. 

Over time, Instagram has been able to attract a wide range of users and all sorts of influencers including micro-influencers, mega influencers, as well as brands of all sizes. 

Statistics have also shown that 70% of people say they look to Instagram to buy their next product.

In other words, people discover products on this social app, whether through influencers they follow, celebrity endorsements, or in-app advertisements.

a man saying I'm just reporting the news
Image Source: Giphy

Since they’re discovering products online, why not take a step further and give them the option to buy without leaving the app?

You will find more reasons why you should use Instagram Shopping below.

Benefit #1: Increased product discoverability

As stated above, customers go on Instagram to look for products, and it’s quite easy for them to do so.

They can click on shoppable tags and be directed to where they buy the product. 

You’re probably familiar with the frustration that comes with finding a product you like on Instagram but are unable to find a link, description, or any additional information about where to buy it from. 

Well, Instagram Shopping relieves you of that stress. Products can be found and purchased in just a few clicks. 

What’s more is that customers don’t have to visit your page before they shop. They can do that wherever your product or ad appears.

Benefit #2: Simplified shopping experience

Customers get to enjoy a more seamless shopping experience through Instagram Shopping.

Rather than surfing through multiple links or copy-pasting product names and descriptions, your customers can just browse through your product catalog and make the purchases they’re interested in.

The former way was a little tiring and often led to fewer conversion rates.

But Instagram Shopping makes the whole process a lot easier.

Benefit #3: Increased conversions

Conversion is a critical metric to keep track of as it helps you see if your content, format, or ad is effective.

Well, one thing you can be sure of with IG Shopping is that you will witness increased conversions.

Why?

There are a few different reasons, but the one that stands out the most is that feature is perfect for quick unplanned purchases.

It’s all about how customers relate to your product, and how valuable it is to them the moment they see it. 

Considering your ads can pop up anywhere while customers are scrolling, it’s super easy for them to hit the buy button once they see a product they connect with…

…even if they weren’t planning on making any purchases in the first place!

Let’s move on!

Who Can Use the Instagram Shopping Feature?

The short answer: not everyone can use it.

What’s the long answer?

Anyone can advertise on Instagram, but only a selection of users have access to the Instagram Shopping feature.

So, who are the select users?

Users with approved business or creator accounts on Instagram

Businesses that can use the shopping feature need to have been approved and be in compliance with Instagram’s policy.

What are those policies? 

Well, they include:

  • Commercial Terms of Service
  • Community Guidelines 
  • Seller Agreement
  • Ads policies
  • Page, group, and event policies

Your Instagram account also needs to contain product listings that are available for immediate purchase.

Users in supported markets

Also, only users located in supported markets are allowed to use the feature. 

Supported markets which we talk about are highlighted in the screenshot below.

picture of countries that support Instagram's feature
Image Source: Instagram

It’s important to note that the only market that supports checkout on Instagram is the United States.

Other features such as shopping tags, product detail pages, collections, and more remain active in the available markets.  

Users who are temporarily outside of the available markets may be unable to tag products. 

“What if I use a VPN?”, you might be asking.

Well, it’s possible, but not advisable. If your account is found outside the available market, there’s a high chance you will be unable to tag products. 

6 Types of Posts with Instagram Shopping

Just like we stated above, the shopping feature on Instagram makes it easy for users to find your products.

An Instagram for Business survey has shown that 44% of people use Instagram for their weekly shopping. 

They get to make purchases wherever they find your product. 

That means there are different types of shoppable posts available on Instagram. 

Let’s go over them in this section.

 Type #1: Feed Posts

This type of post shows up on your Instagram feed. 

It’s just like a regular post on the social media app – the only difference is that you get to tag your product in the post. 

With Feed posts, you can add as many as 5 tagged products to your post. 

From your audience’s perspective, the post will be seen with a tag to view products at the bottom of the post.

When clicked, Instagram users will be directed to your storefront.

There, they get to see the product information, more pictures (or videos if you have them), and the price of the product they clicked on.

Also, if they’re in a market that supports the checkout feature, they can buy without leaving Instagram.

Here’s what a Feed Post looks like:

Forever 1 feed posts with shopping feature

How can you create a feed post?

First, your IG shop needs to be up and running. 

Then, you can:

  • Upload your product photos
  • Write a caption
  • Tag your products as we talked about earlier

After that, tap the picture to search for the corresponding product from your catalog, and your Feed Post is ready.

Type #2: Stories

For many people, Instagram Stories is their ‘fun hub’. Statistics show that Stories are used by over 500 million accounts every day.  

Perhaps Instagram saw those statistics and considered adding it as another place for people to view your products.

Instagram Stories have a ‘tag post’ feature with which people can be directed to your website’s product catalog or Instagram shop.

They can tap on the product tag(s) in your story instead of the typical swipe up, which is usually used to send a message. 

An Instagram Story with shopping feature
Image Source: Instagram

To set it up, you just need to upload your photo and select the sticker option

With the sticker, you can include product tags to your story and you can post when ready. 

Type #3: Shopping Ads

Instagram Shopping ads help to increase the reach of your posts.  

an Instagram shopping ad
Image Source: Instagram

It’s a great way to retarget customers or scrollers since shopping ads can be placed anywhere, including carousels, stories, or directly on the feed. 

You get to spark interest in the people who’ve previously shown interest and make it even more convenient to buy your product. 

There are two ways to create Shopping ads: boost your feed posts or go through the Instagram Ads Manager. 

Boosting is pretty direct – with a business account, you can click on the promotion under the post, follow the on-screen instructions, and you’re good to go.

If you decide to go through the Ads manager, here’s what you need to do: 

  • Ensure your Facebook account is connected
  • Open Ads manager
  • Click Create
  • Choose your campaign objective
  • Don’t forget your audience, too!
  • Then, choose the picture or video  of your product to be used for your ads 

Type #4: Live Shopping Streams

People can shop on Instagram live? 

They sure can!

Live shopping streams are another way for brands to put their products on display. 

a live Instagram shopping stream
Image Source: Youtube

Basically, you’ll be leveraging live engagements to showcase your product.  

You get to describe what your products can do and how to use them or rock them – depending on what your product is, of course.

Your live stream audience can also ask questions about your product(s) as you’re showing them off, and followers may receive a notification when you go live (unless they’ve previously turned off live notifications).

To set up live shopping streams, your Instagram Shop needs to be active. 

Then, swipe left on Instagram to access your camera and switch to Live.

Select the shopping icon and choose the product you want to be on display. 

Next, tap the broadcast icon to go Live.

Type #5: Shopping Guides

Shopping guides kill two birds with one stone. 

They provide valuable tips to your customers and, in a way, help promote your product

You might also consider it a mini Instagram blog post. Guides help to educate your audience.

Let’s say you own a beauty brand; you can create a brief guide that highlights ingredients they need to avoid if they want clear skin or a similar topic that’s related to your industry and products.

It becomes easy for people to engage with your brand and content if they get value from you.

Creating a shopping guide also requires a business account or else you will only be able to recommend products from other shops. 

Type #6: AR Filters with Tagged Products

The AR Filters is the coolest Instagram Shopping post. 

What do we mean by that?

It lets users try your products virtually before looking them up on your website (or finding other people who have tried the product before).

AR Filters with tagged products allow you to add products to filters which is why people can try your product.

It simplifies your customers’ buying experience as they get to test it before they buy, as they would do if they were in a physical store. 

Thinking of how to get started?

We’ll show you how in the next section.

How to Set Up Instagram Shopping in 5 Simple Steps

We’ve spoken extensively about the features of Instagram Shopping and what you stand to gain from it.

So if you’re thinking, “how can I set up my shop?”, we’re way ahead of you!

Setting up Instagram Shopping is straightforward:

  • Ensure Instagram is right for your business
  • Link your Instagram and Facebook accounts (reuniting the Meta siblings
  • Create your product catalog
  • Get approved 
  • Switch on IG Shopping

Next, we’re going to break down these steps so you can complete the process without stress.

1. Verify that Instagram is right for your business

Yup.

You need to be certain the products you’re selling can be sold on Instagram.

You also want to be certain that you’re located in Instagram’s supported market for this feature and in compliance with their commerce policies.

What’s the verification process like?

First, go through Instagram’s Commerce Eligibility Requirements and Merchant Agreement. 

If you meet them, you will need a website that contains products that customers can buy outright.  ​

Once that’s settled, confirm if your IG profile is a business or creator account.

If it’s not an Instagram business account, here’s how to get one:

  • Head over to your profile and click the three lines
Menu
  • in the top-right corner
  • Scroll down to
  • SettingsAccounts
  • Find Switch to Professional Account, tap it, and click on Continue on the next page
  • Select the category of your business and toggle the Display Category Label ON

Instagram will ask you a question on the next page: 

Are you a business or creator?

Select business.

With that done, you will have created a business account! Now, you can input your public business information and complete your profile. 

That leads us to the next step.

 2. Connect your Instagram account to a Facebook Page

This next step is quite important (to be fair, every step listed here is important), as you can’t have an Instagram Shop account without a Facebook Page.

Now, if you don’t have a Facebook page, create one using the steps below:

  • Create a Facebook account (if you don’t already have one) or Sign In
a screenshot of Facebook's Create an Account page
Image Source: Facebook

  • From your profile, click Create  → Page
a screenshot of Facebook's create button
  • Select Business or Brand
a screenshot of Facebook's Create a page page
  • Add your business name, choose your category, and fill in the other business information
  • Add a profile and cover photo

With that, your page has been successfully created!

The next step is to link the Meta siblings (Instagram and Facebook)

How do you do that?

Head over to your profile and click the three lines

Menu

  in the top-right corner.

Then, scroll down to Settings

→ Business → Connect or Create.

Click on Connect Existing Page and the link-up is complete.

Easy-peasy, right?

3. Create a product catalog

It’s time to show your audience what you’ve got!

Here, you’ll upload all your available products. There are different ways to get this done. 

You can upload them manually or export them from a certified eCommerce website (such as Shopify and BigCommerce).

Let’s look at the first option.

Manual upload:

  1. Visit Commerce Manager from your Facebook Business Manager account.

  1. Click on Get Started to begin, then Create a Catalog.
picture of create a catalog
  1. Select eCommerce as your catalog type.
  2. Choose how you prefer to add your products. Here’s what you’ll see:

screenshot of configure settings page on Facebook

Choose Upload product info.

  1. Select Catalog owner from the drop-down menu, which will be your business page in this case.
  2. Input a name for the catalog.
  3. Now, go back to the Commerce Manager and select your newly created catalog.

screenshot of Assets page on Commerce manager
  1. Click on your Catalog and move on to Items when it loads.
screenshot of overview page on commerce manager
  1. Click on Add items at the top corner of the page, Add manually, then Next.
  2. Now, you can upload pictures of your products, enter a name, price, description, and more important details.

screenshot of commerce manager's home page

  1. You can add as many new products as you want. When you’re done, click the Upload items button.

Export products:

  1. Follow the first four steps (a. to d.) of the previous instruction.
  2. Instead of selecting Upload product info, choose Connect a partner platform.
screenshot of configure settings page on commerce manager

  1. Choose an eCommerce platform of your choice and follow the on-screen instructions.

4. Get your account approved

The next step is to submit your account for approval. It takes only a few days for the review to be done, but it may take longer than expected in some cases.

Head over to your Instagram profile and select SettingsSign Up for Instagram Shopping.

Follow the instructions on the screen to get your account approved.

5. Switch on Instagram Shopping 

And now ladies and gentlemen, 

…it’s time to connect the product catalog with your shop. 

  1. Go to your Instagram Business profile and click the three lines
Menu
  1. in the top-right corner.
  2. Scroll down to
  1. SettingsBusinessShopping.
  2. Choose the catalog you want to connect.
  3. Click Done.

Congratulations, your Instagram Shop is up and running.🥳

Let’s go over some tips before we tie this up.

4 Tips to Make the Most of Instagram Shopping

We know you can’t wait to set up your shop on Instagram, but before you go, we have one last thing…

What if we could help you get more customers to start shopping?

we know you like the sound of that.🤭

Let’s go over some best practices for IG shopping briefly.

Tip #1: Only use eye-catching creatives

Creatives refer to the pictures and videos you upload.

Remember, Instagram is a visual sharing platform; you want your product to stand out from the competition by looking good and appealing.

How do you do that?

Ensure every creative you use is nothing but the best.

Simply put, it needs to be visually appealing.

You can go as far as hiring professionals to take pictures or create videos of the product. 

Also, remember to include product descriptions and videos. They help your audience make better purchasing decisions.

Tip #2: Be genuine

This also means being authentic.

Nowadays, people prefer to engage with brands that have a friendly undertone and that they can relate with.

Don’t know how to do that?

Use storytelling!

Let people know what inspired the creation of your product, how it was made, and what it has done.

Or better yet, collaborate with creators to create engaging content. 

Creators are social media users that have more followers than the average user. They are also considered to be authorities in their niche.

With creators, you can leverage user-generated content to get people to engage better with your brand.

Where do you find creators to work with?

You can check out Insense; we’ve got a large community of creators you can work with and different plans to choose from!

Tip #3: Choose a consistent style

Your shop needs to have an appealing aesthetic that will make your brand stand out.

A signature aesthetic will make your brand and products easy to identify while scrolling through Instagram. 

It should be consistent with your website, product packaging,  and other social media platforms.

Tip #4: Make your products discoverable

Make it easy for customers to discover your products.

How?

By using product tags!

They allow you to highlight products from your catalog in your Instagram posts. Visitors can simply tap on it to learn more about your products and, if they like what they see, purchase.

As a matter of fact, using product tags increases the chances of visits to your page (and purchases, too).

Also, remember to add relevant hashtags to optimize your post and make them easy to find.

And finally…

Final Thoughts

If your brand has yet to use the Instagram Shopping feature, it’s time to give it a try.

And if you’re interested in learning more about creating user-generated content for your IG shop, you can always book a demo with us at Insense.

We’re just a click away.

See you soon!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Why can't I set up Instagram shopping?

If you can’t set up Instagram shopping, a few things might have happened: 

  • Your account is pending approval or still under review
  • Your app is outdated and needs to be updated
  • You fall outside of the supported markets
  • Your products are non-physical
  • Your store failed to meet other eligibility criteria

Follow the steps listed in this article and your shop will be up and running in no time.

Q2. Where is Instagram shopping available?

Countries in the supported market include:

Canada, United States, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Martinique, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mayotte, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar Nepal, and more.

Q3. How much does Instagram shopping cost?

Setting up your Instagram shop is free for businesses or creators. You only have to pay if you decide to run ads. 

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