As our long-time readers may notice, we have already had those types of articles where we discuss some brand new trends. Our digital marketing agency does its best to always stay at least one step in front and inform you on whatever the next big thing may be. However, this is not one of those articles, and there is a simple reason for that: Social shopping is not a thing of the future; it’s a thing of the present.
What is social shopping?
Social shopping is a winning combination of social media and shopping. It combines the best of both worlds. With its niche product sharing and consumer influence, social shopping has allowed us to purchase products where we spend the most time. Today, Instagram and other platforms have entirely bridged the gap between checking your social media in the morning, coming across an interesting product while you’re getting ready for work, and buying it there.
Not even luxury brands can ignore this match made in heaven. As we let social media guide our purchasing decisions, brands have found a perfect place to raise brand awareness and boost sales. The Instagram store has allowed us to shop from the comfort of our lazy bags. So, since we have settled nice and comfortable, let’s put two and two together – Creating a shopping experience without social media platforms is no longer an option.
What is an Instagram store?
An Instagram store is widely considered one of the best places for social shopping. With over a billion users each month, it shows that a combination of eCommerce and social media has set a new standard of retail experience. From startups to large companies, businesses from all corners of the world use the Instagram store to bring their product catalogs into the hands of many users worldwide.
There are many ways to promote your products on Instagram:
- Posts – Tag your products in your posts just as you would tag your friends.
- Stories – Adding a product sticker helps your customers discover more information about the product.
- Explore tab – Include hashtags so users would find your products in the Shopping category.
- Shop tab – Users can view all of your products thanks to this tab placed on your product.
Benefits of social shopping on Instagram
Instagram social shopping allows you to market your products where your potential buyers hang out. Furthermore, users don’t have to leave their social media to visit your online shop. They can check your prices along with product details and make the purchase right there and right then. This removes friction and makes purchasing process as seamless as possible.
Another reason why Instagram social shopping has seen so much success over the years is that you present your products to people with high purchasing intent. Every time you tag a product, it shows up in the Shopping Explore tab. Users that enter this tab do that with an idea to shop. They either have a product on their mind, or your product attracted their attention, and they are only a click away (or a tap, if you prefer) from making a purchase. Those people are some of the most qualified leads you can hope for.
When it comes to promoting your products, Instagram social shopping goes further than any other web store. Being the most popular social network of today, Instagram is the perfect tool for connecting and deepening relationships with your target audience. Also, instead of just placing a link to your eCommerce store in your bio, you can develop an abundance of original ways to promote each of your products individually.
How to set up your Instagram store
With just a few simple steps, you can set up your Instagram store and make your first sale online. So, jump onto the bandwagon and let your visitors enjoy all of the benefits of social shopping.
- Check your eligibility – There are a few eligibility requirements that your business needs to meet to set up your store: Your business needs to be located in a supported marketYou need to have an eligible productYou must consent to Instagram’s commerce policies and merchant agreement
- It would help if you had a website domain from which you plan to sell your products
- Convert to a business account – To open a store on Instagram, you need to switch to a business account. This type of account brings many benefits to store owners. One of the significant elements is free analytics which will help you understand how your visitors behave once they access your store and plan your future steps and strategies accordingly.
- Connect to your Facebook page – In case you still don’t have a Facebook account, at this point, you’ll have to create one. Once you do that, you need to link your Instagram business account to your Facebook page. This is very simple. All you need to do is click on the Edit profile option on your Instagram account, navigate to the Public Business Information, click on the Page option, and select your Facebook page.
- Upload your product catalog – A product catalog is a list of your inventory. It includes all of your products along with descriptions. There are two ways you can connect your product catalog to your Instagram business account. You can do it either manually using a Facebook Business Manager or upload it through an eCommerce platform.
- Account review – The next thing you need to do is to submit your account for review. You can do this by navigating to the Settings section of your Instagram Business Account and signing up for shopping. From there, you need to follow Instagram’s guidelines and submit your account. It usually takes a few days for the review to be completed. You have the option to check your status at any point throughout the process.
- Turn on Shopping – Once your account has been approved, you need to go to the Settings section, navigate to Business, and click on Shopping. Once there, you will be presented with the product catalog you have previously uploaded. Please select it and click Done. If you have followed all of the steps correctly, Instagram Shopping features should now be available.
Promote your Instagram store
As you can see, setting up an Instagram store is relatively easy. Now, to place your store in front of a relevant audience and raise awareness about your products, you need to put your marketing hat on and promote your shop. There are several ways to do this:
- Use smart hashtags – Each time you use a hashtag, your posts become visible in the Search & Explore tab. Over 50% of users explore this tab each month, so you need to choose your hashtags wisely. Niche hashtags are more than welcome. Overall, your strategy shouldn’t be much different than when you select keywords for your website.
- Create Instagram Shopping Ads – Instagram provides the option to run shopping posts as ads. Each time someone clicks on your ad, they are redirected to the item description page to check and buy the product. There are also targeting options that allow you to choose your audience.
- Use the product sticker feature in your stories – There are a couple of sticker styles to choose from. The most popular choice is a shopping bag icon. Another type of sticker is the product name written in a gray, translucent, or rainbow-colored text. You can edit the color of your sticker as well. While you can tag your products in both new and existing posts, the stories that you have already published can not be edited.
- Create a live shopping stream – Instagram Live Shopping allows you to sell your products during a live stream. It features a prominent CTA button to order a product as soon as they see something they like.
Being a store owner is one thing, and having a successful Instagram store that encourages social shopping and generates revenue regularly is completely different. There is much more to it than just being present. You need to create a fun user experience and guide your followers through your sales funnel. Their journey will get much more interesting if you create authentic content and engage with them regularly. But, what’s most important, don’t take it as something that needs to be done. Be yourself, and your followers will appreciate it. After all, it’s Instagram. Have fun with it.