Do you have at least one Instagram account? Or if not, do you know people who use this app? I guess the answer is yes.
The power of sharing images and the user-friendly features has made Instagram grow steadily for 10 years now. It’s currently one of the most widely-used social media platforms all over the world, with over one billion active accounts using it each month.
People first came to Instagram to share moments from their life through photos with vintage filters. But by 2020, it has become so much more than that. You can now use Instagram Stories to share content that only lasts for 24 hours, you can create videos with the choice of making it go live, and of course, extending your business has never been easier on Instagram with a Business or Creator profile. Many online store owners have caught these advantages right off the bat and used them to connect with their followers and customers, as well as to drive traffic to their online store. This has allowed merchants to increase their sales in incredibly creative and effective ways.
However, this also means that the market and content on Instagram has become somewhat saturated. To survive on this battlefield, there is no better way than going back to the basic features, solidifying your foundation, and pushing it further by using your own authenticity and unique creativity.
Now, let's dive into this post! It will show you some intriguing information about the Instagram Shopping feature - the feature that plays the main role in the e-commerce activities of Instagram, which can help you grow your online sales and drive traffic to your online shop.
Table of contents
- What is the Instagram Shopping feature?
- The benefits of Instagram Shopping feature
- Personalized shopping experience
- Drive traffic to business website
- Products promoting with insights
- Increase the sales rate
- What’s new on Instagram Shopping feature
- Utilize Instagram Shopping feature with Shopify
What is the Instagram Shopping feature?
The Instagram Shopping feature allows Instagram to have the same function as a shopping mall. When you create a shop profile on Instagram, it means you’ve opened a storefront in the “Instagram mall”. Based on the customer’s behavior online (liking, commenting on a post, watching videos or buying something, etc.), they will be automatically directed to your products which are similar to what they’ve interacted with.
Instagram Shopping offers merchants the abilities to:
- Tag their products in organic posts, or by using the Product Sticker feature on their Story.
- Having their products discovered by other users through Instagram’s Search and Explore feature.
When users tap on a product tag in a post, they'll see a list of the products that are included in the photo. Second tap on the product they want, a Product page will appear.
A product page on Instagram
On the product page, merchants can add information about the product with these following elements:
- A product image
- The price of the product
- A View on Website button
- The product’s description
- Saved to Wish List icon, Share icon, other featured products in the post, recommended products and more from the shop, direct bar to the shop profile, and so on.
It looks so simple and similar to the Product page on a website, doesn’t it?
How to use the Instagram Shopping feature?
I bet you’re now so eager to know how to enable this function in the Instagram App, right? Here is a YouTube video from Lidia that will help you to do it.
Please remember, you have to earn the approval for using Instagram Shopping to feature your products on Instagram posts and stories. Therefore, your account has to fulfill these requirements.
Another reminder that this feature is available for some markets only.
If you still don't see the Shopping function appear on your app after submitting your account for review, the account is probably still under review or it hasn't been approved for Instagram Shopping. The review process can take up to a few days, but sometimes it can take longer when Instagram reviewers need to see the account in more detail.
Hold up! Please don't be discouraged after reading those reminders above. Keep scrolling down because I have some amazing tips for your business on Instagram that might be beneficial even if you can’t use this Instagram Shopping feature.
Shopping is a powerful feature on Instagram that will become even more developed in the future. A solid base is one of the most important factors to ensure that.
For brands and businesses, these are the numbers Instagram has been giving when it comes to content:
- 60% of users say they discover new products on Instagram
- Over 200 million people on Instagram visit at least one business profile daily
- One-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses
And there’s more:
- “Brands are keen to reach Instagram audiences as users of the social network show high engagement rates with the displayed content.” - Statista
- 90% of Instagram accounts follow at least one business and to add more to this statement, there are over 1 billion users active worldwide.
- Instagram is one of the most popular social networks worldwide in January 2020, ranked by the number of active users.
- Instagram is used as a searching tool by users “to discover what's trending, research products before buying and decide whether or not to make a purchase.” - Facebook for Business
Image source: Facebook for Business
Such impressive stats!
It's plain to see that Instagram Shopping already has so much potential to become an independent platform. That is also what their team wants to be in the near future.
The benefits of Instagram Shopping feature
The shopping experience for users is more personalized
For customers, making orders using Instagram Shopping comes naturally because of the Shop’s feed on the Search and Explorer tab. On top of that, the kind of products that they come across while scrolling is customized to suit each person.
Product suggestions are based on what they’ve searched and their other interactions on Instagram. The products that are shown will be what the users are looking for, what inspires them, what they care about, etc. Users can even save the product to come back to later by tapping the Label icon on a product page or a product list. So it’s clearly easier for merchants to get a good deal of orders out of this.
For merchants, the automated process of personalizing the shopping experience for users is a huge savior. Not only does it save them time, but it also gets them out of the intense, attention-seeking market that can become toxic and disingenuous.
Drive traffic from an Instagram account to your business website
Connecting a product on Instagram with its product page on the business website is never a superfluous idea. Users may want to see how the product looks on a wider screen like on a tablet or a laptop. Also, the product page on a website can showcase the product in more detail - you can zoom in, view pictures from different angles, read a more detailed description and so on. This is something Instagram can’t do just yet.
Help to promote your products with deep insights
The Instagram Shopping feature does provide Insights - a helpful feature that allows shop owners to have a deeper look at the consumers' behavior.
Based on these insights, content creators know what type of content can attract more viewers and marketers know which marketing strategy suits their customers the best. They can take advantage of it to create more creative content and beneficial promotions for posts and stories that are suitable for the products, shopping profile's identity and especially, their audiences.
Increase the sales rate
All of Instagram Shopping's advantages above come to the final result that all merchants expect - more transactions!
The Shopping feature on Instagram can be very convenient for customers, to just scroll and tap right on the products they want while enjoying their social-media-time. Such is the huge psychological power of Instagram! And they know it. That’s why we come to the next big thing that I’m about to mention.
What’s new on Instagram Shopping feature
One year ago, in March 2019, Instagram launched in-app Checkout - a feature that allows customers to finish their purchase directly in the app and without having to visit the retailer’s website. It was first initiated with just 26 partner brands, including Zara, Nike, Burberry, Uniqlo, and a handful of other native brands in the US.
Image source: The New York Times
Psychologically speaking, “the more complex the checkout process, the higher the abandonment rate”. By skipping the step of redirecting to merchants’ business sites, Instagram has made shopping even easier for the users. The conversion rate and impulse buying behavior will be raised drastically by this one feature alone.
But until now, Instagram Checkout is still not open to all brands just yet and only users based in the US can access this feature.
Now, with this in mind, it’s time to grind your knowledge and creativity to enhance your shopping post and story content while waiting for this “final boss” to be released.
Utilizing the Instagram Shopping feature as a Shopify store owner
An online store plays a key role in the e-commerce process nowadays. It increases the professionalism of the business, saves money, has global accessibility at any time and gives better customer service with more flexibility.
Shopify is one of the best e-commerce platforms and can help you to easily create and customize an online store. Even more than that, Shopify is a complete eCommerce platform that allows businesses of all sizes to start, grow and sell their products in multiple places, such as on mobile, social media, online marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and in-person through pop-up shops.
Obviously, it's a must that a top social media network like Instagram is included.
How Shopify and Instagram Shopping connect
First thing first, in order to maximize the eCommerce potential of Instagram on Shopify, you need to open a Shopify online store.
An online store consists of pages where you can add any type of content you want (text, photos, videos, e-mail subscriptions, social media feed, etc.) and of course, Instagram-featured contents are included.
For example, above is a screenshot from the Homepage of Homegirl Store - a Shopify based website. They use Instafeed to create a section that displays their Instagram photos.
With this section, shoppers can easily see the store’s aesthetics, what it sells more on Instagram and discover what products suit them. The “Follow us on Instagram" button leads viewers directly to the Homegirl’s Instagram account.
How can they do it on a Shopify online store? Have a look for more information by jumping ahead to the Shopify featured section.
Connect Shopify to Instagram
In the Shopify store admin, there is the Instagram sales channel that connects the products you have on Shopify to your Instagram Business account.
Before you connect this channel:
- Make sure that you have a Facebook business page and you have added products to the Catalog.
- Keep in mind that your Instagram account has to be approved to have a Shopping profile so you can tag your products on Instagram shoppable posts and use the product tag stickers on Instagram stories.
Check out the full tutorial on how to set up Facebook Business, Instagram Business and connect them all to your Shopify store HERE.
Here is how you can add an Instagram sales channel to your store:
- Step 1: From your Shopify admin, click the + button beside the Sales channels heading
- Step 2: The Add sales channel dialog will appear.
- Step 3: Once it's all set, click Instagram to learn more about the Instagram sales channel. Click Add sales channel.
Image source: blog.shakr.com
- Step 4: Log in to your Facebook account page to authenticate your Instagram account in the sales channel.
Image source: blog.hubspot.com
Tools and features
Instagram Shopping has changed the e-commerce game all around in just a few years. It affects how people shop online, how the retailer runs their business on social media, and how marketers and content creators reach their target audience.
It's a fast-paced race of staying constantly updated and being creative and innovative to stand out in the market.
To speed up, you will need better “shoes” and equipment. That's why I'm still here to share some words about other intriguing tools and features to help you grow your online business.
Instagram and Facebook featured
Educating yourself every day will never be a waste. The Instagram Business Blog is a trustworthy and versatile source for you to keep updated on news, trends, tips, and general insights on Instagram. You can use the knowledge you gain from it to skyrocket your business.
Instagram and its sister platform - Facebook - have collaborated to make the Creator Studio. It was newly introduced in the summer of 2019. This studio site helps creators/Instagram account owners to post and manage their posts, measure and monetize content with flexible profiles controls, and access tons of cool features (including the IGTV) and growth tools.
As mentioned above about the Instagram feed section on Homegirl Store’s homepage, the online store uses Instafeed - an app in the Shopify App Store that allows the customized shoppable Instagram gallery to be shown on a Shopify page.
This type of app helps merchants to convert visitors into customers from the Shopify store to your Instagram Shopping profile and vice versa. It gets your Instagram shop discovered and automatically updates your Instagram plugin on pages in your store.
There are some other recommendations for you to vary your choices. All these apps work with Instagram API changes officially on March 31, 2020.
Covet.pics is a wholesome Shopify app that helps you to arrange, edit and manage the Instagram photos into the gallery section on your Shopify page.
I know, it’s biased to include our own product to the suggestion. But as a Shopify page builder, we not only help you to easily build stunning pages but can also promote your Instagram profile with our drag-and-drop Instagram related elements.
Moreover, PageFly released the new version with improvement to the UI of the Instagram element. It has the ability to update the Instagram feed to your pages even when Instagram has stopped using the old API.
We can add Instagram icons, Instagram posts or anything else Instagram-related to a page and connect to your Instagram shop. Simples!
Running an Instagram Shopping profile sounds easy, doesn’t it? But once diving into the real business, you might face a lot of new challenges day by day.
After reading this article, I hope it has given you some useful information about Instagram Shopping’s features and the connection between Instagram and Shopify so that you can find running a business on social media and on a website at the same time to be more effective and less stressful.
Knowing about this new Instagram Shopping feature will help you run your shop smoothly. But, keep in mind to stay up to date on the news and educate yourself constantly to grow your business bigger and bigger and always stand out in the social media market.