Ever scrolled through Instagram, seen various items on sale, and wondered about how to start selling your own products on the platform?
You're not alone. The potential of Instagram as a powerful sales channel is obvious but many business owners aren't sure where to start.
What are the steps? Is it time consuming? How complicated is it exactly?
You’ll be pleased to know that it’s easier than you might think, but there are still lots of small details to bear in mind.
The best plan is to simply have a clear roadmap that shows you exactly what to do. That’s exactly what you get here.
We'll walk you through the process, step by step, right through to confirming your set up details and launching your shop.
The result will be an Instagram account where followers can browse and buy your products.
But first of all, let’s ask a key question…
Why Set Up an Instagram Shop?
With Instagram’s unique blend of social interaction and shopping, the platform presents a golden opportunity for businesses to reach a diverse and engaged audience, and add a new and profitable sales channel.
After all, with over 2.35 billion monthly active users, Instagram is ranked as the 4th most popular social media platform globally in terms of Monthly Active Users (MAUs).
But in case you’re a little dubious about whether people its users actually spend money on the platform, the stats speak for themselves:
- 44% of active Instagram users shop on the platform weekly.
- 70% of Instagram users open the app specifically to shop.
- 72% of Instagram users have purchased something they saw on the app.
- 81% of Instagram users research new products and services on the platform.
In fact, more than 200 million businesses sell their products on Instagram.
So why not your business too?
The good news is that it’s easy and affordable, and Instagram works well as a sales channel for both small and larger businesses.
Before You Set Up Your Instagram Shop
Our step-by-step guide to setting up on Instagram is below, take a few moments to:
- Familiarize yourself with Instagram’s commerce eligibility requirements
- Check that you have appropriate product images and descriptions for what you want to sell on the platform
With those preliminaries out of the way, let’s dig in to actually setting up your shop…
7 Steps to Setting Up Your Instagram Shop
Here are 7 easy steps on how you can jumpstart your Instagram shop.
1. Choose Your Focus
Identify a specific market segment to target.
If you’re unsure, think about who your best customers currently are.
By selecting a niche segment of Instagram’s vast user base to focus on (rather than trying to sell to everyone), you’re better able to target their specific needs, market more effectively, and ultimately shift more products.
2. Switch To A Business Profile
If you’ve not done so already, upgrade your standard Instagram account into a business (a.k.a. professional) profile.
Doing so gives you access to essential business tools, including access to analytics and the opportunity to advertise, both of which are crucial for managing and improving the performance of your Instagram shop.
3. Set Up Your Shop
Create your Instagram shop as a digital storefront.
This space allows customers to browse and buy your products directly on Instagram, making their shopping experience seamless and engaging.
4. Connect Your Instagram Page to Business Manager
Follow the instructions provided to link your Instagram profile to Meta’s Business Manager, through which you can manage both the products sold in your Instagram shop and other details (as well as your business’s presence on Facebook!)
Select your chosen business (Facebook Page) account, either your existing account or create a fresh one to get started.
5. Connect Your Product Catalog with Instagram
Integrate your product catalog with Instagram by connecting with one of their ecommerce partners:
This step essentially pulls your inventory into Instagram, making it easy for you to manage and tag products in your posts.
By tagging a product in a photo on a post, a customer will be able to click the product to view more details about it and potentially make a purchase.
If you’re not set up with one of Instagram’s ecommerce partners, you’ll be able to add items later once you’ve finished setting up your shop.
6. Choose How Customers Will Pay
Choose how customers will buy products from you by selecting a checkout method.
You can opt for one of the following:
- In-app purchases—in other words, a customer can stay on Instagram in order to make a purchase (enabled via Shop Pay by Shopify)
- Direct customers to your website—customers will be able to add the product to their cart on your site and purchase in the normal way.
7. Review the Details and Launch!
Before launching, double check all the details to ensure it’s all as you intend, including your:
- Business name
- Product catalog
- Checkout method
Once you’re happy with everything, submit your shop to be reviewed by Instagram, at which point you’ll also need to review and agree to the Seller Agreement. It's the last checkpoint before your online storefront goes live.
Then it’s simply a case of waiting for Instagram to approve your shop, at which point your catalog will go live and you’ll be able to start selling products to Instagram’s users!
But of course just having products available on Instagram isn’t enough to start selling on the platform.
You also need to get in front of customers likely to be interested in what you have to sell…
Getting In Front Of The Right Customers on Instagram: Maximizing Your Shop's Visibility
Maximizing the visibility of your shop (to the right people) is key to attracting customers and starting to sell on the platform.
Here are 4 key strategies to have in place…
1. Use Hashtags
Use relevant hashtags to make your posts discoverable to a broader audience. You should:
- Use hashtags that are popular within your niche.
- Include a mix of broad and specific hashtags to reach different audiences.
2. Connect With Influencers
Collaborating with influencers can increase your credibility and reach, exposing your shop to new customers.
Start by looking to partner with influencers who resonate with your target audience.
3. Use Instagram Ads
You’ll always be limited if you focus purely on organic methods.
Learn how to use Instagram ads to target potential customers directly, putting your products in front of people who are most likely to be interested in them and taking advantage of Instagram’s AI-powered optimization to increase the effectiveness of your ads over time.
- Target ads based on customer interests and demographics.
- Use engaging visuals and clear calls to action in your ads.
4. Post Regular Engaging Content
Post content regularly and consistently. One of the best ways to do this is to repurpose content that you’re already publishing elsewhere.
And keep it fresh and engaging to encourage shares and likes, which naturally increase visibility.
- Post content that encourages followers to interact and share.
- Use engaging captions, high-quality images, and interactive stories.
Tracking and Analyzing Your Instagram Shop’s Performance
Understanding your shop's performance is crucial for growth.
Instagram provides analytics tools that show which products are popular and how customers interact with your content. Use this data to refine your strategy and focus on what works.
- Analyze business accounts in one place.
- Schedule images, Reels, Stories, or videos directly from the dashboard.
- Engage with your followers efficiently.
- Access likes, impressions, shares, profile views, website clicks, and more.
- Get in-depth insights with reports divided into Profile, Posts, Stories, and Reels.
- Create separate reports for each Instagram account or compile various social accounts into one report.
Pay attention to metrics like engagement, click-through, and conversion rates.
Such information helps you understand your audience better, allowing you to suit your content and product offerings.
Regardless of the tool you choose to use, by regularly keeping an eye on your analytics, you can constantly improve and adapt to your customer's preferences, and improve the performance of your shop and marketing efforts on Instagram over time.
Engaging and Retaining Customers through Your Instagram Shop
Keeping your audience engaged is essential for attracting customers in the first place, as well as repeat business.
Run promotions and exclusive deals to encourage followers to check your shop regularly.
Engaging content, like behind-the-scenes stories or new product teasers, helps keep your audience interested.
For more tips and strategies, check out our guide on how to create an Instagram post for business.
It’s also crucial to provide the best customer service you can by responding promptly to inquiries and feedback, and making customers feel valued and looked after.
By building trust in this way, you encourage customers to return, build loyalty and encourage referrals. A growing and loyal customer base is key to the long-term success of your shop on Instagram and its effectiveness as a new and profitable sales channel for your business.
By setting up an Instagram shop, you create an exciting new sales channel for your business, putting your products in front of significant numbers of new customers who can quickly and easily buy from you in a streamlined, integrated way.
But it is just the start. The real magic happens when you focus on marketing your shop through advertising, as well as regularly and consistently posting new content to grow your audience and keep them engaged and interested.
Keep a close eye on your shop’s performance, adjust your approach as needed, and regularly experiment such as with new promotions to grow your results over time.