How to Sell Online with Instagram Shopping?

How to Sell Online with Instagram Shopping?

Instagram is providing a wealth of marketing opportunities for e-commerce retailers, shops and entrepreneurs and a chance for them to reach their intended audience, especially with big numbers as much as 1 billion active users per month and 400 million using Instagram stories every day.

Shopping with Instagram is nowhere and it’s making it possible to connect your online store to your Instagram account, turning the social media into a huge marketplace where shoppers could meet with their favorite brands.

Incorporating shopping into Instagram is a bit of a challenging though, and it might require some creativity from your side, especially due to the fact that there are several ways to do so. In the following parts, we are going to have a look at why and how some of the world’s top brands are using Instagram to up-sell and increase conversions.

But why Shopping on Instagram?

Shopping on Instagram is quickly turning to be preferred by many customers not just in terms of learning about the available offerings but also to buy it in a few simple steps.

At least 80% of Instagram users follow a business account, which is making it easier for brands to make the buyer’s journey much simpler and quicker to make a sale.

Almost every brand now from small ones to major ones who are using Shopping on Instagram are witnessing solid results on its effectiveness.

Instagram shopping

Getting started: Shopping on Instagram

Before selling your products on Instagram, make sure you have completed the following:

  • Your business sells products that are in compliance with Instagram’s commerce guidelines.
  • Your Instagram account is a business profile
  • Your Instagram business profile is connected to a Facebook catalog.

After you have completed all of the above, you could start selling on Instagram.

The way brands use Shopping on Instagram

Instagram is highly visual, that’s why it’s quite convenient for e-commerce merchants of all sizes and industries to setup their store there.

But here is where it gets a bit tricky; creating attractive graphics in Instagram feed, as it gets difficult to be recognized among hundreds of brands competing for the buyer’s attention. Here are three useful tips to make the best use of your Instagram posts:

  1. Use high-quality photos

Brands need to make sure that they post nothing but photos of high quality for their products, which happens to be easy with the capabilities of smartphones that are able to take the product photos with the needed quality, especially if they are on a budget that is not too high.

Let’s take this example of Beardbrand that uses flat-lay photos to exhibit the favorites while adding a product tag for each item.

Instagram shopping

Here are the elements that make the images of Beardbrand’s products of high quality:

  • Background: Use a white, gray or a black backdrop behind the products to give photos a neat and a clear look that is consistent across several products.
  • Table: Using a table to make products appear higher and easier to be photographed
  • Light: Using natural window light or using lamp or even renting a softbox lighting kit to provide the proper lighting.

When photographing more than one product make sure you tag each one separately so that shoppers interested in certain products can know more about such products.

Though it might seem like some deal of work to get the right quality of photos, it’s worth the effort especially considering the fact that you can reuse and repurpose such photos later on.

But the following point will let you know that staging your products is not the only way to excel at shopping on Instagram.

  1. Your products as part of a lifestyle

The magic ingredient here is to show your product in action, that way you can help your customers imagine themselves using your products and push it further along the selling funnel nearer to sealing the deal.

Herschel Supply Co is one very good example of helping the customer see others and themselves using their products in unique lifestyle photos.

Instagram shopping

What makes this approach quite effective is that instead of providing a call to action to ‘buy’, they share real stories from their customers who admire the brand, which is a motivator for other people to take action.

  1. Leverage user-generated content

If people are buying and using your product, there is a chance they are talking about it on social media, that’s why user-generated content is a cool way to leverage good quality content while still using features of shopping on Instagram.

One of the great examples of using user-generated content is inkbox Tattoos, where they have leverage photos from their users reaching one million fans on Instagram alone.

Instagram shopping

inkbox Tattoos have grown by more than 500,000 in 2018, something that says a lot about the effectiveness of their approach, add to this making use of Shopping on Instagram, and we have got a winner here, a one that is not slowing down on acquiring new fans.

Instagram first began testing a shopping feature in November 2016, rolling it out globally in March of last year. Now with the addition of the Shopping Tab to Explore, Instagram’s algorithm selects items it believes users will be interested in. Here’s what it looks like:

Since its inception by the end of 2016, and especially with the addition of the Shopping Tab to Explore, Instagram has been employing algorithms to select items that are believed to garner interest and show it to users. Here is a glimpse about how it looks like:

Instagram shopping

Facebook said earlier that 90 million people per month tab posts to see shopping tags. The shopping tab is another cornerstone for embracing e-commerce even further.

And that’s why social media has been embraced by many brands as they could easily connect with their audience even deeper, and leverage user-generated content to their benefit to gather more real stories that gain them traction, something that was not very easy to do with brand-generated content.

How top brands use Instagram

With more than 80% of Instagram users following an account of business, the roll-out of Shopping on Instagram has offered a golden opportunity for merchants to up their game in e-commerce by tagging products in posts, something that shortens the span of buyer’s journey.

But before beginning to sell using Shopping on Instagram, it’s better to learn those 3 following points first:

  1. Quality is important

As people make quick judgments about your brand, it’s important to take care of factors such as the photos of your product and the relevant description which are a crucial part of the buyer’s journey and could either affect your brand positioning positively or negatively depending on the quality.

  1. Help shoppers envision using your product

One of the most appealing methods is to guide your customers on how their lives can be better with your product, so always look towards how you can say so using photos, so you’d better focus your ad efforts on how people could use your product, not on the features of the product.

  1. Use video

Video marketing is one of the successful and promising tactics that you could employ on Instagram, as people are more inclined to buy upon watching a video more than seeing a photo.


Shopping on Instagram is only just the beginning for merchants looking to boost product sales. As more and more consumers get used to this exciting new shopping frontier, it’s up to your brand to deliver your products where customers are spending the majority of their time: social media.

Now it’s up to your brand to make use of the traffic of social media as more and more people tend to spend the majority of their time there, and with Shopping on Instagram as just a beginning to exciting opportunities in e-commerce, it’s about time to benefit where most of your customers reside.