Introduction of Instagram Shopping
On 20th March 2018 Instagram Shopping feature was rolled out in 8 new countries – United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Brazil. This expansion followed one year trial in United States, so at the time being it can be considered as stable and well tested.
Important: this feature is available only on Instagram app. Web version of this social media doesn’t support it.
Is there value for buyers and sellers?
What changes for potential buyers – in other words, for every single Instagram user? If you follow your favourite brands or try to discover new, independent shops, everything remains the same as it used to be. With one small but significant exception. Option to view shoppable products in posts.
This function allows to see all products visible on the picture. With their prices, links to detailed product description and option to buy. Example:
No more scrolling through description hoping to find price, switching to company bio to find link, search for product on company website… With all that hassle I wouldn’t bother unless I was really desperate to get it. But if all that process was simplified, I could give a try. And now it is.
If this new experience gets customers where they want with just two or three taps, that’s valuable. And if that makes customers happy, that makes sellers even more happy.
How to buy on Instagram?
Once you get into your favourite brand account, you can find small icon of shopping bag in upper right corner of some pictures. It indicates that this post contain shoppable tags. If you’re interested only in this type of post, you can click Shop button to show only price-tagged pictures.
All examples are from Instagram account:
When you apply this filter, there’s no more bag icon shown on pictures, as obviously all of them are shoppable.
From this point we can tap on product, tap to check price then tap on price to get more details.
This gives you possibility to get detailed product description without leaving social media. If you like, you can now tap Shop Now to get into product page on company website.
Who can sell on Instagram?
Any company selling physical goods. There are no restriction other then that, however read carefully next section.
Selling. Before you start…
In order to have Instagram shopping enabled, there are some prerequisites required:
- Company needs to have e-commerce platform. It can be bespoken solution or one of popular e-commerce solution. I would advice using platform with Facebook and Instagram integration supported, as this simplify entire process significantly.
- You need to have Facebook page for your company.
- Facebook page needs to contain product catalogue integrated with company e-shop. But as I said earlier – all major shopping platforms offer such integration. So you can have this type of catalogue created automatically with just a few clicks.
Example screenshot from page: https://www.facebook.com/sebixltd/
- There are certain rules specifying what products can be listed on Facebook, so once these products are approved, there’s no need for further verification made by Instagram. You can read about some annoying Facebook practices in my post How I was censored by Facebook
- Company needs to have Instagram account, and this account needs to be linked with Facebook page (instructions to do that: https://help.instagram.com/356902681064399).
- E-commerce platform used needs to have Instagram integration installed and activated. This can be either native functionality or provided by external plugin. This probably applies to most small and medium businesses. If you use bespoken solution, talk to your developer – they will apply relevant solution or advice on manual process.
Posting images for Instagram Shopping
In previous section I mentioned that you need to activate integration functionality in your shop. Once it’s done, Instagram keeps you waiting for a few days to have your account reviewed. In my case it took 2 working days to get approval.
After approval, you will get new functionality added to your account interface (remember to have you app up to date to use it!).
Entire process of adding pictures looks exactly the same as previously.
This is followed by usual graphic enhancements, and then we go to well known page where we can add all information related to post. With Instagram Shopping enabled, we’re getting additional feature to tag products.
After tapping this option, we’re getting access to product list from company Facebook account, so it is possible now to associate picture with relevant product.
And in final step, we need to tap product to tag relevant part of picture. There is possibility to tag up to 5 items on one image.
That’s all. With everything set up correctly, making posts shoppable is as quick and easy as adding location. One detail worth mentioning is that Shop tab in business account will appear only after adding at least 9 products tagged
Advertisement and marketing
At the time of releasing Instagram Shopping, there is no option of promoting this type of posts. The ability to tag products in posts is only available in organic posts. We may like it or not, but I’m sure it’s just matter of time and this type of ads will become available.
Will shopping through Instagram become popular? I’m sure we all find out soon, and if you have any thoughts on this, please leave your comment.
And if you are on Instagram, please find (and follow if you like) these two accounts:
- https://www.instagram.com/fashionbuthowblog/ (account of this blog)
- https://www.instagram.com/sebixltd/ (place which is inspiration for this post)