instagram shop

Right now, your consumers are experiencing all kinds of micro-moments on Instagram, that will influence the next purchases they make. They aren’t yet sure what they want to buy and won’t be doing any product-specific searches today. But show them the right product… at the ideal moment… in the most compelling format possible, and you may just turn their daily Instagram check-in into full-blown shopping.

With Instagram, it’s possible to connect with consumers in ways that aren’t possible on other channels — and shrink the path to purchase from weeks or months to days or hours.

When you consider that more than 500 million Instagram users use the platform daily and 50% of them follow at least one business. Plus, Instagram is hell-bent on moving deeper into social eCommerce, and in particular Covid-19 pandemic hugely increases Instagram content demand needs, It’s time for you to start selling on Instagram. Thus in this piece, I’ll talk about the difference between Instagram Shop, Shopping on Instagram, Instagram Shopping ads, and Checkout on Instagram By the end of the article, you can learn how to start an Instagram shop business to drive sales, what things you have to be aware of that impact your strategies and execution.

What is Instagram Shop?

Instagram Shop is a place to showcase your collections and products. It lets you integrate your Facebook product catalog with your Instagram profile. Your Instagram followers or profile visitors can click through the shop view tab on your profile and see your products directly in the tab without leaving Instagram App.

The image below features OV as an example and shows the Instagram Shop tab in action. This is just what I said it allows users to visit their profile to see all of their products without leaving the Instagram app.

Instagram Shop product pages feature everything a user might want to know before purchasing an item, including:

  • The name of the product
  • Product images
  • A product description
  • The price of the product
  • A link to view the product on your website
  • Related products

Things you need to be aware of: Not all of the commercial products are eligible to list on Instagram Shop at the moment, please read through here the policy for not wasting effort

What’s Shopping on Instagram?

If Instagram Shop is a place to list and showcase products on your IG page, Shopping on Instagram can make it easy for users to explore, be redirected to your website, and buy your best products by tagging them in organic posts, stories, videos. Sellers can tag the product items to give consumers quick access to pricing and product details by these formats of IG content.

(Noted: Other SEO product listing resources: Surface across Google, Amazon seller SEO, Facebook Shop)

For example, after choosing the photos you’d like to feature, you can tag posts with up to five products per image. (Please bear in mind 5 items per image or 20 items per carousel). When someone taps a tag on your post, they’ll be taken to a product details page with a product description, price information, and additional photos. The product details page will also showcase other shoppable posts from your brand. If users like what they see, they can tap “View on Website” to go directly to your mobile site.

instagram shoppable story

Originally it’s only offered to selected sellers in the US, but this feature has expanded to empower more e-commerce companies to connect with millions of users who visit one or more business profiles daily.

Things you need to be aware of: You need to know if these features are available in your target markets or not. Please click here and refer to the latest update from Instagram.

What’s Checkout on Instagram?

Checkout on Instagram is similar, but with one key difference – the transaction takes place entirely within the Instagram app. When users interact with a callout to a product from a brand that participates in Checkout on Instagram, they enter their billing, shipping, and payment information directly in the Instagram app. All communication about the order takes place within the Instagram app. The user’s data is saved in the Instagram app so that future purchases from that brand – or any other brand participating in Checkout on Instagram – are faster.

checkout on instagram

Because of this, brands must integrate deeply into Instagram’s systems to provide sales tax, shipping, SKUs, barcode, and other information to Instagram as it builds the cart. And also Instagram checkout would charge a certain amount of fee like a marketplace selling mode, like saying the selling fee is 5% per shipment or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less. For details, please check here the latest numbers from Instagram.

Things you need to be aware of Checkout on Instagram now is a beta version, and it’s only eligible for U.S. registered business entity.

What’s Instagram Shopping Ads

Instagram Shopping ads are charged by CPM and can be optimized by CPA or CPC. It can help promote organic Shopping posts to supercharge your Shopping strategy, leverage people’s existing behavior by allowing them to “tap the tag” for more information about your featured product, and convert the audience into purchases.

instagram shopping ads

Organic and paid always need to work closely with each other in eCommerce marketing strategy. In particular when Instagram Organic Reach has been on a decline since the beginning of 2019. 

Things you need to be aware of: You need to create the campaign sets and audience targeting in Facebook ads manager for your posts tagged with product items.

Why this clarity matters

Each element is associated with each other, and with this clarity of each feature and its function in mind, it makes sure you’re using Instagram shopping resources to drive sales as effectively as possible. This efficiency not only reflects on product showcases and customer engagement by leveraging organic posts, or Shopping ads, or CPS models in the U.S., but you can prioritize the sequence and allocate weight of each strategy, in order to ensure profit margin looks as best as possible.

instagram shop strategy

How to Start

1. Create your Instagram Shop

Basically, you would 3 things to create an IG shop:

  • Facebook Shop/Catalogue
  • Instagram Business Profile
  • eCommerce Website (or use an eCommerce platform which only accesses to product listing and checkout feature, such as Shopify Lite plan plus product feed plugin)

As mentioned, Instagram product listing information comes from Facebook Catalogue, so first of all, you need to create a Facebook Catalogue.
Unless your business entity is registered in U.S., which you can activate checkout on Instagram, otherwise you would need to create an eCommerce website to manage product listing and payment. Also, I’ll suggest you syndicate your web product listing to your Facebook catalog, rather than listing products in the Facebook catalog. So having a website is a must.

shopify facebook app

If you really don’t want to start with a website, you can consider some eCommerce platform lite plan such as Shopify Lite, which allows you to have a lower cost to manage product listings and payment on the platform and syndicate your product listings through some free plugins to the Facebook catalog. The cons of this approach may fail to create a Facebook shop and catalog because it requests a website URL.(A tip for you to turn around in things you need to be aware of below) Also, you need to put the product checkout button on a blog separately, which complicates the purchase journey.

Meanwhile, you need to create a Facebook Shop and catalog by plugging into your website URL and the other business information. Take Shopify for an example, you can add an App called Facebook channel, and syndicate your website product collections and products to Facebook Shop. It’s just a one-click button.

Things you need to be aware of: It requires to add in a website URL for creating a Facebook Shop. So please add a blog URL and add your product checkout buttons on the blog.

To start an Instagram Shop, you must have an Instagram business profile. Thankfully, it only takes a minute to convert your Instagram profile to a business profile. Plus, you’ll gain access to other business tools, such as Action Buttons, Instagram Insights, and Instagram ads.

To do this, head to Instagram’s settings:

You also need to link your Instagram business profile to your Facebook business page – to do this, you must be a Facebook page admin. Once again, you can do this in Instagram’s settings:

If you’re using the eCommerce platform with Instagram, after the shop and catalog created, you can directly syndicate with your Instagram shop.

2. Release Optimized Instagram Shoppable Post, Story, and Video (Included IGTV)

shoppable video ads

While Instagram product tags and shoppable stickers are huge assets to brands, shoppable feeds can really help bridge the gap between product discovery and purchase! So it’s more important than ever to create awesome shoppable Instagram posts that appeal to your audience and show off your products. And to help you do just that, we’ve rounded up 8 of the best tips for creating great shopping posts!

  • Make Sure Your Shopping Posts Are in Line with Your Overall Instagram Aesthetic
  • Use Photoshoot Images to Create a Lookbook With Carousel Posts
  • Double-check all your Shopping Tags Linked to the Right Products
  • Space out Multiple Product Tags in One Image
  • Use Descriptive Hashtags for your products that are searchable and followable (I’ll talk about Hashtag strategy in the other article)
  • Try Out UGC, or Influencer Content For Great Shoppable Posts
  • Spread Out Your Shoppable Posts Throughout Your Grid
  • Use Instagram Stories Videos to Show Your Product in action

3. Activate Instagram Shopping Ads Campaign

Following Facebook organic post mechanism, Instagram Organic Reach has been on a decline since the beginning of 2019, which is avg. 2% reach rate. Being said that, it’s not said running ads are due to a low reach rate. Shopping ads are worth investing in because it’s a way to scale your shoppable content to reach more of your target audience using our ads targeting capabilities and Test a variety of formats and objectives to begin creating a holistic Shopping strategy that works for you.

To set up an Instagram Shopping Ads, open your Facebook Ads Manager. I’m not going to elaborate on details regarding how to set up Instagram Shopping ads. But there are three primary principles that impact the selling performance in ads setting, which are objective, ads set targeting, ads creative. I have another article and video regarding Facebook ads traffic or sales. You can learn more details if you’re interested.

collection ads

Different from Instagram Shopping Ads, you can create Instagram Dynamic ads, collection ads, story ads, video ads, and carousel ads in Facebook ads manager, but just the ads photo is clickable or has clickable CTA button, rather than product tags and shoppable stickers.

(I’ll release the other article regarding Facebook social commerce advertising strategy)

No matter whichever,  please make sure the posts you run as ads include high-quality images, descriptive hashtags, and accurate tags. That’ll make consumers more receptive to your business.

4. Activate Checkout on Instagram if applicable

All-in-one social media buying processes indeed push up the conversion rate, just like you’re selling the product on Amazon, rather than driving traffic to your website. Instead of taking users to a landing page on the company website, the buying process is shortened. Reduced by the number of clicks it would take to complete a purchase and shorten the customer purchase journey.

At this moment, Checkout is still in beta but as Instagram rolls it out more widely it is planned to provide this option for businesses to be able to integrate directly or work with partners including Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub, and more in the future. As for the payment processing, it is enabled via a partnership with Paypal. If you want to apply for checkout, check the required information below that you need to provide and fill in this application form

Also, at the moment, Instagram Live Shopping is available for accounts using Instagram Checkout, which is currently limited to eligible US-based brands and creators. With Instagram Checkout, customers can tap to view a product and then continue to the payment process, all directly within Instagram. They simply enter their name, email, billing information, and shipping address the first time they check out.

instagram live shopping

Again, despite such obvious advantages, Instagram Checkout might not be for everyone. For some, Instagram’s transaction fees may be a cause for concern. According to their Business Help Center, the selling fee is 5% per shipment or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less.

Similar to Amazon seller, Instagram Checkout can also mean brands lose out on valuable customer data (such as emails) as all communications are handled by Instagram rather than the brand directly.

I hope you enjoy reading The Difference Among Instagram Shop, Shopping on Instagram, Checkout on Instagram, and Instagram Shopping Ads, and find it helpful. If you did, please support us by doing one of the things listed below, because it always helps out to our channel.

Louis Lu

By Louis Lu

Growth Hacker & Digital Marketer, with a proven record of over 11 years experience in 20+ Asian markets, and 24,000+ connections in Linkedin

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