How to Guides / Instagram / Social Media

How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business

December 8, 2020 , 9 minutes
How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business

In the digital marketplace, businesses are looking for any advantage they can get over their competitors. One of those advantages you can get is through the use of Instagram Shop. 

It’s estimated that Instagram has over a billion users each month worldwide. So, if your business doesn’t have a presence on Instagram, that’s an enormous market you’re missing out in. In Australia alone, there are close to 10 million users, which equates to around 38% of the population.

If you’re an e-commerce brand, you need to use everything at your disposal to put your products in front of potential customers. Thanks to Instagram Shops, you’ve now got another way to do that. 

What is an Instagram Shop?

An Instagram Shop allows e-commerce businesses to promote products directly on Instagram.

Perhaps most importantly, it lets users browse your entire catalogue without leaving Instagram. This is important because if people are browsing Instagram, they generally want to stay there.

How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business
Instagram Shop lets users browse an entire catalogue without leaving the app
Source: @fortheagesny

With an Instagram Shop, you can also tag products in your posts and stories, which lets users discover key product information with one click. 

How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business Fenty Beauty
Instagram Shop lets you tag products in your posts and stories
Source: @fentybeauty

Basically, an Instagram Shop lets you do a lot of things that any e-commerce store does, and the platform is even starting to integrate Checkout with Instagram, making it even easier for shoppers to buy directly, without needing to visit an external website.

The benefits of an Instagram Shop for your business

There are several reasons an e-commerce business should be considering Instagram Shop. 

Firstly, it’s another channel for you to sell your products, but more importantly it’s a HUGE channel. If you’ve worked hard to gain followers on Instagram, you should be monetizing that effort in any way you can. 

Being able to sell directly to followers who are already interested in your business is a massive win for any online retail brand.

1. Makes it easier for customers to buy

An Instagram Shop takes away a lot of the barriers that previously existed with Instagram. 

For starters, the platform doesn’t allow you to post links in your posts, and it only lets you have one link in your bio. When people are happily browsing Instagram, it’s a hard sell to get them to check your bio for a link, and then take another step to follow that link.

With an Instagram Shop, they can view product information, pricing and browse your catalogue right there and then. With the new Checkout feature, customers can even buy directly on Instagram, and once they’ve made a single purchase on either Facebook or Instagram, their details are already saved. It’s as simple as a click of a button.

How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business
Shoppers can easily see product information and buy directly on Instagram
Source: @byhumankind

2. Another channel for promoting your products

One of the keys to good marketing is to meet your customers where they already are. It’s much easier than trying to bring customers to you. 

So, since there’s already a huge amount of people on Instagram every single day, it makes sense to take your online store to them. From a customer experience point of view, an Instagram Shop ticks all the boxes, because they have everything they need right in front of them.

3. Put your products in the spotlight

It’s easy to tag your products in individual posts, and when you do, users can click on a little shopping bag icon to see the product information instantly. 

Once your catalogue is set up, this process is as easy as tagging one of your friends in a post. Even better, though, is when you tag a product in your post, it automatically gets displayed on Instagram’s Shopping Explore tab. 

How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business
Customers can browse shops and products on Instagram’s Shopping Explore tab

If people are browsing the Shopping Explore tab, it usually means they already have an intention to buy something. So, you’re putting your products right in front of customers who are highly motivated to make a purchase.

How to start an Instagram Shop

Let’s take a look at how to set up your Instagram Shop. 

Remember, you’ll need to comply with Instagram’s guidelines and commercial policies, and you can also only sell physical items. Services can’t be sold on an Instagram Shop – only products. 

It can take a little bit of time, but this step-by-step guide makes it easy for you to get started.

You’ll need a Facebook Shop

As a first step, we need to remember that Facebook owns Instagram. As such, you’ll need to have a Facebook Shop before you can have one on Instagram. If you’ve already got a Facebook Shop with a catalogue of products ready to go, you can skip this step!

There are two options for setting up a Facebook shop:

  • Set up your Facebook Shop from scratch
  • Set up a Shopify e-commerce store, and sync it to Facebook

We strongly recommend the second option. Firstly, if you’re an online retailer, chances are you’ve already got an e-commerce website. If that’s the case, you don’t want to manage two separate stores. The other reason is that a standalone Facebook Shop doesn’t have all the great features you’ll get from a service like Shopify.

If you choose to start a Shopify store, you’ll only ever need to update that one platform. It will be synced with both Facebook and Instagram, so any updates you make or products you add will automatically go across to the two social platforms.

1. Setting up business profiles

First up, you’ll need to make sure your Instagram account is set as a business profile. It’s easy to do, and this also lets you access tools like ads, action buttons and some analytics, so it’s worth doing anyway.

  • Simply go to your Settings, click ‘Account’, and then choose ‘Switch to Business Profile’.

Then, you need to make sure your Instagram business profile is linked to your Facebook page. You’ll need to be a Facebook page admin to do this.

  • Go to Instagram Settings, click ‘Account’, and then choose ‘Linked Accounts’. Enter your Facebook details, and you’re done.

2. Adding your product catalogue to Facebook

For the next steps, we’re going to assume you have created a Shopify e-commerce store already. If you’ve already got Shopify and Facebook linked, you can skip this step. In turn, if you’re choosing to disregard Shopify and use a standalone Facebook Shop, you can skip ahead to Step 4.

So, remember that Instagram pulls all of your product catalogue from your Facebook store. That means you need to get all of your Shopify products synced up with Facebook. If you haven’t already added a Facebook Shop to your profile, now is the time to set that up.

In order to link Shopify and Facebook, follow these steps:

  • Go to your Shopify dashboard, and look for the left-hand sidebar menu
  • Click the plus (+) icon next to ‘Sales Channel’
  • Click the Facebook option, and enter your Facebook details as required

That’s the first step – now your Shopify and Facebook pages are linked. The next step is to actually get all of our products from Shopify onto your Facebook Shop.

  • Go to your Shopify dashboard, and look for the left-hand sidebar menu
  • Click on Products
  • Highlight the products you want on your Facebook Shop (or ‘Select all’)
  • Click ‘Make Products Available’ and select ‘Facebook’

Now, all of your products should be available on your Facebook Shop, as well as your Shopify store.

3. Add Instagram as a sales channel on Shopify

This step should be nice and easy, because you’ve already done it with your Facebook Shop. 

Even though your Instagram shop can’t link directly to Shopify without having a Facebook shop, you still need to let Shopify know that you’ll be using Instagram as a sales channel.

  • Go to your Shopify dashboard, and look for the left-hand sidebar menu
  • Click the plus (+) icon next to ‘Sales Channel’
  • Click the Instagram option, and enter your Instagram details as required

4. Wait for approval

Remember when we started adding your product catalogue to Facebook in Step 2? If you’ve got a standalone Facebook Shop without Shopify, this is where you can jump back in.

Now, you just need to play the waiting game. You don’t need to do anything here, because Instagram will automatically review your account to make sure everything is in order. The process can take a few days, so don’t panic if you don’t get approved instantly.

When you’re approved, you’ll get a notification on Instagram that you can now start tagging products in your posts.

5. Add your Facebook shop to Instagram

The last step is telling Instagram which Facebook Shop you want connected to your Instagram profile. Either click the ‘Get Started’ button on your approval notification, or go to your Instagram Business Settings.

  • Click ‘Shopping’
  • Choose your Facebook Shop

You’re all done! Now, all of the products on your Facebook Shop should be synced with your Instagram Profile. Well done.

You can now start tagging products in your posts. Instagram allows you to tag up to 5 products in a single post, or 20 products per carousel. You’ll see an option to ‘Tag Products’ right below where you would normally ‘Tag People’, so it’s as easy as that!

How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business
You can tag multiple products in one post
Source: @fentybeauty
How to Use Instagram Shop to Grow Your Business
You can also tag your products in Instagram live to sell products and form deeper connections with people in real time
source: Instagram

If you need help with setting up and growing your Instagram Shop, don’t hesitate to contact us.