Right now, your consumers are experiencing all kinds of micro-moments on Instagram. It 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 showing them the right product at the ideal moment in the most compelling format is 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 it shrinks 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, the 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. And you can see what things you have to be aware of that impact your strategies and execution.
- Instagram Shop
- Shopping on Instagram
- What is Instagram Checkout
- What are Instagram Shopping Ads
- How to build up your Instagram Shop and Run Shopping Campaign
- Shoppable Post, Story, Video, and IGTV
- How to Activate Instagram Shopping Ads
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]. They can 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 to waste 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. Buyers can be redirected to your website. They can buy your best products by tagging them in organic posts, stories, and videos. Sellers can tag the product items to give consumers quick access to pricing and product details by these formats of IG content.
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. The page has 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.
Originally it was 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. The users 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. 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 the future purchases from that brand – or any other brand participating in Checkout on Instagram – are faster.
Because of this, brands must integrate deeply into Instagram’s systems. It’s because it provides 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. It’s 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 the U.S.-registered business entities.
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. You can leverage people’s existing behavior by allowing them to “tap the tag” for more information about your featured product. And then you can convert the audience into purchases.
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 the Facebook ads manager for your posts tagged with product items.
Why this clarity matters
Each element is associated with the other. 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 also you can prioritize the sequence and allocate the weight of each strategy, in order to ensure the profit margin looks as best as possible.
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 that only accesses product listing and checkout features, 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 the 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. And it’s rather than listing products in the Facebook catalog. So having a website is a must.
If you really don’t want to start with a website, you can consider some eCommerce platform lite plans such as Shopify Lite. It allows you to have a lower cost to manage product listings and payment on the platform. And then it syndicates 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 adding 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 are created, you can directly syndicate with your Instagram shop.
2. Release Optimized Instagram Shoppable Post, Story, and Video (including IGTV)
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 Ad, 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, and ad creative. I have another article and video regarding Facebook ads traffic or sales. You can learn more details if you’re interested.
Different from Instagram Shopping Ads, you can create Instagram Dynamic ads, collection ads, story ads, video ads, and carousel ads in the Facebook ads manager, but just the ads photo is clickable or has a clickable CTA button, rather than product tags and shoppable stickers.
(I’ll release the other article regarding Facebook’s 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 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
Instagram Livestream Shopping
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.
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 sellers, 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.
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Q1: What is Instagram Shop?
A: Instagram Shop is a feature on Instagram that allows businesses to showcase and sell their products directly on the platform. It provides a seamless shopping experience for users, making it easier to discover and purchase products without leaving the app.
Q2: How does Checkout on Instagram work?
A: Checkout on Instagram is a feature that allows users to complete their purchase without leaving the app. When a user finds a product they want to buy, they can simply tap on it and proceed to the checkout page within Instagram. They can enter their payment and shipping information, and then place the order directly from the app.
Q3: What are the benefits of Shopping on Instagram?
A: Shopping on Instagram offers several benefits for both businesses and users. For businesses, it provides a new sales channel and increases their visibility to a wider audience. It also offers a seamless shopping experience for users, making it convenient and easy to discover and purchase products without leaving the app.
Q4: How can businesses set up Instagram Shopping?
A: To set up Instagram Shopping, businesses need to meet certain requirements and follow a few steps. They need to have an Instagram business account, sell physical goods, comply with Instagram’s commerce policies, and have their account connected to a Facebook catalog. They can then enable the shopping feature in their Instagram settings and start tagging products in their posts and stories.
Q5: What are Instagram Shopping Ads?
A: Instagram Shopping Ads are paid advertisements that businesses can create to promote their products on Instagram. These ads appear in users’ feeds and stories, and they include a call-to-action button that takes users to the product’s page for purchase. They are a great way for businesses to reach a larger audience and drive sales.
Q6: Can users save products they find on Instagram?
A: Yes, users can save products they find on Instagram for later. When they come across a product they like, they can tap on the bookmark icon below the post to save it to their Saved collection. This allows them to easily revisit the product later and make a purchase when they are ready.
Q7: Is Instagram Shop available worldwide?
A: Yes, Instagram Shop is available worldwide. However, the availability of certain features may vary depending on the country. Businesses can check Instagram’s Help Center for more information on the availability of specific shopping features in their location.
Q8: Can businesses sell digital products on Instagram Shop?
A: No, currently Instagram Shop only supports the sale of physical goods. Businesses cannot sell digital products such as ebooks, software, or online courses through the platform. They can only list and sell products that can be shipped to customers.
Q9: Are there any fees for using Instagram Shop?
A: There are currently no fees for businesses to use Instagram Shop. However, businesses may incur fees if they choose to run ads or use other paid features to promote their products on the platform. It’s always a good idea to check Instagram’s advertising policies and guidelines for more information on any potential fees or charges.
Q10: Can businesses track the performance of their Instagram Shop?
A: Yes, businesses can track the performance of their Instagram Shop through Instagram’s Insights feature. They can see metrics such as impressions, reach, engagement, and clicks for their shopping posts and stories. This allows them to measure the effectiveness of their product listings and make data-driven decisions to optimize their sales on Instagram.