Ultimate Guide to Instagram eCommerce — A New Dawn for Social Commerce (Even With Zero Budget)

Instagram has seen a meteoric rise to a billion active users since its launch in October 2010. It’s among the top 4 social networks on the planet.

Is that really important for eCommerce sites?

Let’s explore some statistics to find out:

From the statistics above, Instagram presents a huge opportunity for eCommerce businesses to grow. However, to take advantage of such a great platform, you need to answer some simple questions correctly:

  • How do you get started with Instagram shopping?
  • How can you generate sales through both organic posts and ads on Instagram?

Let’s answer each question right now.

Setting-Up Instagram Shopping

Suppose you haven’t set up an eCommerce storefront for your business, check if your business account is eligible, and then set up the account. 

Ensure that:

  • Your business location is available to the market (check Instagram shopping availability).
  • You sell physical products.
  • You convert your Instagram account to a business account.
  • You connect your Instagram account to your Facebook business page.
  • Your business account complies with Instagram eCommerce policies.

Then, proceeds to step one:

Step 1. Connect Your Facebook Shopping Catalog to Your Instagram

Your first step is connecting your Facebook shopping catalog to your Instagram business profile. 

If you don’t have a Facebook catalog, creating one won’t take a lot of time. All you need is a business Facebook Page with a Business Manager account to assign your catalog to your business.

Once you have a Facebook Page link it to your Instagram in six simple steps:

  • Go to your business’s Instagram profile.
  • Click on “Edit profile.”
  • Select “Page” under “Public business information.”
  • Choose the Facebook Page you want to connect to.
  • If you don’t have a Facebook Page yet, select “Create a new Facebook Page” to proceed.

You don’t need a Facebook Page Shop to use Instagram Shopping — all you need is a Facebook Page. 

The above process doesn’t take time. However, the process of linking Facebook’s Catalog Manager and Instagram shopping might take a few days.

Step 2. Sign Up for Instagram Shopping

After connecting your Instagram account and catalog, head back to your Instagram app to sign up for Shopping.

  • Go to your profile.
  • Hit the “Settings” option.
  • Then, select “Business.”
  • Under “Business,” choose the “Shopping” option to sign up.

Instagram may ask you for additional information to verify ownership of your eCommerce website domain and if you want to turn on the Shopping feature. Review and verification might take a few days.

However, after verification, you can begin to tag your product in your various Instagram stories and posts.

Step 3. Tag Your Products

You can tag your products on two places on Instagram to sell more:

  1. Your Instagram Posts
  2. Your Instagram Stories

How do you tag products in both cases?

Tagging Product in Instagram Post

Tagging product within an Instagram Post can take multiple forms like:

  • Tagging up to five products per image
  • Posting a video post
  • Tagging up to 20 products on multi-image posts or carousel posts

The procedure starts by uploading a photo as you normally would but with the additional procedure before posting.

  1. On your Instagram, tap on “Add photo.”
  2. Add a caption.
  3. Click on “Tag products.”
  4. Click the photo you want to upload. 
  5. Search for the product(s) you want to tag and select it.
  6. Click on “Done.”
  7. Select “Share.”

Tagging Product in Instagram Stories

In Stories, you can only tag one product per story. As a result, when you have more products and want to entice users to click through and buy more, you might want to create more stories or use a video instead.

However, one question brings everything into perspective: How do you create shopping stickers in stories?

Here’s a step-by-step guide.

  1. Immediately after choosing an image for your story, tap the sticker icon on the right corner.
  2. Choose the product sticker from the sticker tray.
  3. Pick a product that you want to feature from your catalog.
  4. Move the stick to where you would want it to appear in your story.
  5. Tap the sticker to change the text color of the product sticker.
  6. Share your story.

That’s all.

However, setting up Instagram shopping begs the question:

How Do You Generate More Leads, Engagement, and Sales with Instagram eCommerce?

You have two options to create traction with the Instagram community.

  1. Use organic posts to build trust and establish a community.
  2. Use paid promotion to expand your reach.

Building Trust and Establishing Instagram Community Using Organic Post

Instagram users crave authenticity and like brands to be part of the conversation like any other social network. 

Your best shot will be first to build a community before you start selling to them.

How should your eCommerce store go about it?

#1. Design Product Detail Pages

Design product detail pages with information like:

  • Gallery of product photos
  • Pricing
  • Available sizes
  • Product description
  • Return Details
  • Shipping details
  • Related product recommendations 

When any of your customers tag your product in their post, all these details will give customers as much information as they may need.

This will provide shoppers with additional visual information and social proof that build credibility and influence sales.

#2. Enable Ordering Via Checkout on Instagram

Order Check out on Instagram is a great feature.

The only problem, though, is that it’s only available for US-based creators and businesses that comply with Instagram policies.

However, having access to it allows you to sell products directly on Instagram so that shoppers can seamlessly buy products without leaving the app.

What can you do if your business can’t utilize the Instagram Checkout feature?

Use the Facebook integration with Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, and complete orders outside Instagram.

When a customer taps on your shoppable post, Instagram will redirect them to the product detail page to check out with Facebook Pay.

All your customers will need to buy is choose item specifications, fill in the delivery details, and add their credit card data.

#3. Work with Influencers

Consumers will trust other consumer recommendations over yours.

For that reason, you need to collaborate with Instagram influencers and do Share for Share to catapult your credibility and sales. 

Depending on the influencer’s following size, you can request them to share your post with their followers so that you can get incredible engagement.

When the influencers share your product, their followers will only need to tap on the image, then click on the shopping label with the item name and pricing, and proceed to checkout to purchase the product.

Apart from just sales, influencers can help you generate impressions like likes, comments, and shares.

#4. Build Anticipation with Product Launches

Product launches help you announce upcoming product launches and allow Instagram users to set a reminder and purchase products as soon as they’re available. 

If your business uses checkout on Instagram, you can use the Commerce Manager to set up a product launch on Instagram.

The feature allows you to tag and build awareness around a product available for purchase in the future. This presents an opportunity for your business to give a differentiated shopping experience and reward followers who stay updated on your latest content.

Enough of the organic approach — how can do you expand your reach on Instagram using paid ads?

Paid Promotion: Types of Instagram Ads for eCommerce

There are six types of ads you can utilize for your Instagram eCommerce, including:

Photo Ads

Photo ads look like a regular image post but come with a “Sponsored” tag at the top right-hand corner and a “Shop now” CTA at the bottom of the post. A photo ad is useful if you have an evocative photo to share your message.

Video Ads

Video ads appear like the regular Instagram video but have a “Sponsored” label and a CTA. They are excellent in presenting lots of information to entertain or educate or tease to get people to click through to learn more.

Carousel ads

Carousel ads take photo ads to the next level because you can create a series of up to 10 photos or videos in a single ad. It’s excellent when you’re announcing a new product line or a seasonal collection.

Ads in Stories

These are ads you place in Instagram Stories. You can make most of these ads using motion content, with a message upfront, to fit well the fast-paced nature of stories.

Reels Ads

These ads appear between reel videos. You can use them if you have eye-catching and intriguing short video content that’s likely to engage people.

Instagram eCommerce Conclusion

On top of advertising, Instagram’s a great revenue driver for eCommerce platforms. The social channel increasingly pushes users to shop in the app and is further acting to reduce friction in the path to purchase.

This is a great opportunity for eCommerce to improve product discovery and convert meaningful sales through casual engagement.