A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Shopping

A Beginner's Guide to Instagram Shopping

Instagram, the photo-sharing giant, boasts an active user base of more than 800 million people.

That’s huge, and it only seems bigger when you consider that 500 million of those users engage with the app on a daily basis.

Big numbers for sure, but behind those numbers is an even bigger opportunity for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

How so?

Well, 80% of Instagram’s total active user base follow at least one business account.

If you don’t have a calculator to hand, that’s 640 million people. 640 million people who are actively trying to engage with businesses (small and large) on the app.

Simply put, this makes Instagram the dream platform for entrepreneurs and marketers alike.

And Instagram know this. They’re actively releasing new features to improve the cohesion between Instagram the platform and the brands who use it.

Instagram Shopping is a prime example of this – their latest feature was introduced to help brands to maximize the potential sales which they can generate from the platform.

If you’re interested in how Instagram Shopping works, and if it’s a good fit for your brand, this is the post for you. We’re going to do a deep-dive into how Instagram Shopping works, how you can use it to sell on Instagram directly, and how you can increase your brand’s visibility on the platform.

Okay, there’s a lot to cover, so let’s jump into it!

What is Instagram Shopping?

Instagram Shopping, or “Shopping on Instagram” is a feature which was created to enable ecommerce brands to create an “immersive storefront for people to explore your best products with a single tap.”

The core functionality of this new feature allows brands to highlight specific posts from their Instagram feeds and then tag the products that are present.

And why is this so great for ecommerce brands?

Well, it makes it so much easier for brands to underline any products that they’ve incorporated into their Instagram content.

Without the Instagram Shopping feature, the user journey would unravel like this:

  • An Instagram user follows a branded account.
  • Said Instagram users notices a post from the branded account, enjoys the content, and they may leave an image or comment to express interest in a product.
  • Said Instagram user would need to visit the branded account’s website and see if they can locate the product that was featured in the Instagram post.

In that flow, there’s no guarantee that the user will find the product and purchase it. This just makes the difficult task of converting customers even harder, especially if they’re moving between channels.

Now let’s take a look at how Instagram Shopping transforms this flow in favor of ecommerce brands:

  • An Instagram user follows a branded account.
  • Said Instagram user notices a product on their feed from the branded account that they’re interested in. All they need to do is tap on the content and check if the product has been tagged.
  • If the product has been tagged, they can click on the product once more and they’ll be directed directly to the product page on the brand’s website.

If you compare the two flows, it’s clear to see that Instagram Shopping makes it a lot easier for ecommerce brands to convert their customers from their Instagram efforts.

But, there’s more!

Instagram Shopping is available on both regular Instagram posts and Instagram Stories, so let’s look at the differences between the two types of content!

Instagram Shopping: Instagram Posts

Instagram Shopping Instagram Posts

So, how does the Instagram Shopping feature work when it comes to Instagram posts?

Well, if you’re running your store with Shopify, it’s a fairly simple process to get started.

First thing you’ll need to do to get started with Instagram Shopping is check that your country is currently eligible for the feature. If it isn’t, you’ll need to wait until the feature rolls out into more countries.

If you are, then you’ll need to make sure that you have the Facebook channel on your Shopify account. You’ll also need to set up an Instagram business account for your brand – you can do this after you’ve connected your Facebook page – and you’ll need the Instagram sales channel installed on your Shopify store.

All done? Okay – now you can start taking advantage of Instagram Shopping!

Not so tough, huh?

All you need to do from here is go to upload an image to Instagram, as you normally would, and you’ll see a new option titled “Tag Products”.

Once you’ve selected “Tag Products” you’ll need to tap on a specific area of your image, just as you normally would if you were tagging people.

When you’ve tapped on the product that you want to tag, a new search bar will appear, and you’ll need to input your product’s name here – just as it’s listed on your store.

And there you have it – you’ve successful added an Instagram Shopping ready post.

Just remember – there is a limit to the amount of products that you can tag in every post, so try to create Instagram content which really highlights a small number of your products. Or, you could opt for carousel posts (this will allow you to increase the number of products you can tag).

Instagram Shopping: Instagram Stories

Instagram Shopping Instagram Stories

Instagram recently rolled out their Instagram Shopping feature to Stories. This means that users can now make purchases from their favorite brands directly from the story that they’re interacting with.

It makes a ton of sense for Instagram Shopping to be added to Stories, especially when you consider that 300 million Instagram users interact with Stories on a daily basis.

Couple that statistic with the recent survey from Instagram which found that users often interact with Stories specifically to keep up-to-date with their favorite brands, and it becomes clear that this was the natural evolution of Instagram Shopping.

But, how does it work?

Well, as with regular Instagram posts, you’ll need:

  • To be operating from a country that Instagram Shopping supports,
  • A Facebook sales channel connected to your Shopify store,
  • An Instagram Business account,
  • The Instagram sales channel installed on your Shopify store.

Once you’ve ticked all those boxes, you’ll then need to create a Story. When you’ve created the content you’ll be able to add tags to highlight specific products from your store, and drive revenue from your Instagram efforts.

Instagram Shopping: Measuring Results

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a successful entrepreneur, a veteran marketer, or a total beginner, one thing remains true – it’s so important that you measure the success of your campaigns.

After all, how else will you measure the success of your marketing?

When it comes to Instagram Shopping, you might be unsure about the best way to measure your results.

Thankfully, Instagram will be rolling out additional analytics tools to brands who use the feature in the near future – this will really help you to gauge the success of your Instagram Shopping campaigns.

As soon as we have more information about this, we’ll be updating this post, so check back later!

In the meantime, you can use this article as a guide to your Instagram Shopping campaigns.

Optimize Your Instagram Shopping Campaigns

Now that we’ve covered what Instagram Shopping is, and how effective it can be for your business, it’s time to dive into the fun part – optimizing your campaigns.

Instagram Shopping is a great feature, sure, but if you optimize your campaigns then you’ll ensure that you get the most out of it.

Shall we?

Engagement Still Matters

Social proof is real. Very real.

The truth is: we’re pack animals, and we’re constantly seeking validation from others.

And that truth is evident more than ever in our purchasing behavior.

Whenever we find ourselves on the fence about a product, seeing engagement from other users can help to drive us over that line.

Let’s face it, engagement is king, and your Instagram content should always be optimized to get the most engagement from your audience, especially when you’re using Instagram Shopping.

If You’re Unsure, Just Test It

As we’ve already mentioned earlier in this post, Instagram is a goldmine for entrepreneurs.

But that doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed.

The competition can be fierce on the platform, especially if you’re targeting quite a broad target audience, so you’ll probably need to get creative with your content.

And, if you’re ever unsure about an idea that you have, just test it.

Think of it like this – the worst thing that can happen is that your post flops, and you make no sales.

But, that’s a learning, and that can be so valuable for your future.

So whenever you’re thinking about posting something, but you’re not quite sure, just test it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix It Up

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix It Up

Seriously, don’t be afraid to try something new.

Brands truly flourish on Instagram when they flex their creative muscles.

If you can find a way to break away from the mould and provide your audience with something that they haven’t really seen before, then you’re already on your way to success.

This is especially true when you’re using Instagram Shopping, too. After all, you’re going to need to capture your audience’s attention first before you try to convert them!

Use Upsell Tactics

Strategy is key when it comes to Instagram Shopping.

We recommend trying to incorporate upsell tactics into the content that you post – it can really help you to boost conversions.

But, how?

Well, if you’re selling shoes, then think about the pants and socks that you’re going to use when you’re modeling your products. You’ll need to couple these together nicely for the aesthetics of your Instagram post, so why not tag them in the content too?

After all, if somebody is really sold on the “look”, then they could be inclined to go ahead and purchase the rest of the outfit too.

Don’t Forget Hashtags

When talking about optimizing Instagram content, we can’t forget about hashtags.


Well, Instagram hashtags are perfect for helping an engaged audience to find content that they’re interested in, and they don’t care if it’s from a regular user or a brand.

So, hashtags will help you to draw more eyeballs to your shoppable content, and will help people find content that they’re looking for.

A win-win situation for both parties!

Start Utilizing Instagram Shopping

So, that’s it – now you know everything you need to get started with Instagram Shopping for your business.

Remember, this is a new feature, but early-adopters have already found huge success.

Let us know if you have any questions about Instagram Shopping, or Instagram in general – we read them all!

Want to Learn More?

Start using Oberlo today

All accounts have access to the forever free Starter Plan

Sign Up Free

Oberlo uses cookies to provide necessary site functionality and improve your experience. By using our website, you agree to our privacy policy.