Shopping on Instagram: A New Feature to Get Your Business Back on Track

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In 2020, the world slowed down to a halt. People stopped going out, cut their expenses and limited all nonessential activities. As the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the world’s behaviour, the economy was shaken to its core and businesses were forced to push the brake pedal. 

No matter how bleak the context might seem, there’s always a light shining through the cracks. And, in this case, the online world provided a haven for social interactions and a much-needed boost for businesses. While the pandemic has driven some companies to their limits, online ventures strived and even flourished. Of course, Instagram is doing mighty well and wants to help other businesses pick up the pace once again. How? Well, with a shop on Instagram. Yes, the news feed just got a lot more e-commercy!

Shopping on Instagram. What’s New?

To help businesses make it through the economic hassles the pandemic has unleashed, Instagram is enhancing its native shopping experience. From the middle of May, businesses from eligible markets can create a virtual shop on Instagram and delight their followers with an immersive full-screen storefront.

Of course, shopping on Instagram isn’t new, but what started as a “shoppable sticker” has grown into a complex experience. The upgraded shops on Instagram promise to help brands build their story and drive product discovery with an enhanced UI.

The new shopping on Instagram experience with an immersive storefront
Image Credits: Instagram Business

Users will be able to visit the shop of a business from the brand’s profile or even from posts or Stories. The shops on Instagram now aid users to browse at will and discover new products in stunning layouts. Once they make up their mind, the users can purchase and do the checkout without leaving the app. 

For businesses, the new shops on Instagram promise more opportunities for customization. They will be able to create unique collections and curate their products by original themes to reinforce their brand message. 

Who Can Use the New Shop Feature and How

In May, Instagram began by rolling out the new shop feature to all eligible businesses who had an Instagram shop profile. As access to shops on Instagram expands, more and more Instagram users will be able to put up stunning storefronts. Instagram will notify all accounts when the feature goes mainstream. 

Until then, you can get into the game by setting an Instagram shop profile. Currently, there is a strong set of guidelines in place for businesses that want to sell products on Instagram. Creating engaging shopping posts on Instagram comes only to those who are willing to go through a carefully-thought, yet simple process. Here are the steps you need to go through to set up a shop profile:

  1. Make sure your business is eligible. That means you are operating in a supported market, you sell physical goods, and you agree with Instagram’s merchant terms.
  2. Have an active Instagram business account. Otherwise, you can convert to one without much hassle.
  3. Connect to a Facebook Page.
  4. Upload your product catalog through the Catalogue Manager found within Facebook Business Manager or integrate an existing e-commerce catalogue from a certified partner (e.g. Shopify, BigCommerce)
  5. Submit your account for review. If just a few days you should get your answer. Once you do, the ‘Shopping’ feature should appear in your Settings Menu. 
  6. Start using shopping tags and have fun!

Take it a step further with Shopping Ads

Tagging products directly in your posts and having designated shops on Instagram that keep customers on the platform from “oh I love it, let me check this out” to, well, check out is definitely a game-changer. But to make sure your shop on Instagram gets all the traffic it deserves and more, you need to reach a broader audience. Shopping ads, to the rescue! 

With Instagram shopping ads, you can run your posts (and Stories) as ads to get your message out there. Really out there. Right now, users that tap on shopping ads are redirected to a product description page within Instagram and proceed to purchase on your website. However, once the shop on Instagram feature goes mainstream, we expect to see the shopping ads combined with the new shops on Instagram experience, providing a flawless all-in-one-platform purchase process. 

Shopping ads makes reaching your target at a never imagined before scale easy. You can repurpose existing content to create ads with content that’s easy to shop and that engages your target when they are most excited and willing to seal a purchase. So, if you want to have a full virtual house, shopping ads are something you should try!

Adjust your strategy with Shopping Insights

Tweaking your shopping strategy is the only viable way of attracting more and more customers. The shopping insights feature gives you access to precious data that will help you move the buttons in the right direction.

By diving into the insights revealed by your shopping posts and ads, you can better understand how people interact with your ads. For example, by analyzing the number of product views, you’ll know if customers are drawn in by the content and product. Similarly, the product button clicks statistics will show you just how many times users tapped on the ‘purchase’ product. 

Now, what can you do with this new-found knowledge? Improve where you need to and get ahead. For example, if the number of ‘product views’ is much higher than the number of ‘product button clicks’, then maybe you should work on your pricing or promo strategies to make sure you seal the deal. 

Back to the Shop

We’re curious to know if your business has already begun testing the new shop on Instagram experience. Are the shops on Instagram all they’re praised up to be and more or do they fail to deliver on their promises? We have high hopes for these, so let us know in the comments below. And, if you’re not yet ready to rumble with shops on Instagram, have fun with the shopping profile and warm-up for when that stunning storefront is available for your virtual window as well. Shop with you soon!

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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