Understanding Instagram's Shopping Functionality And How It Affects E-Commerce Marketing

Written by: 
Michael Carroll
February 25, 2020

Before the recent beta-release of Instagram Shopping, Instagram users visiting the profiles of retail brands on the platform were only able to view images and videos of products, with captions directing Instagram users to the website link in their profile bio.  That link would take you out of the Instagram application in order to view detailed product information and ultimately make a purchase.

Instagram Shopping is completely transforming the way that consumers interact with online retailers by keeping them on the post they are viewing for nearly every step in the customer’s journey.  Instagram Shopping combines product discovery with product information in a way that will greatly affect the way that online retailers market their products. 

Now, when a consumer sees a product tagged in her favorite clothing brand’s story or feed, she can just click to go right to the product page and be one step closer to the point of sale (POS).

Being able to make a purchase without ever leaving the Instagram application is revolutionary.  Everyone has seen a stranger wearing a shirt that they liked and wanted to purchase it right off their back.  Instagram Shopping is the closest process we currently have to achieve just that.  As the company brings it out of beta mode on a mass scale, capabilities will keep increasing.  This is just the beginning of a transformative period for e-commerce; it will be very interesting to see how this feature develops and if other platforms follow suit by also including third party purchasing capabilities. 

Below, you can find detailed information on the customer journey Instagram users take when utilizing this feature, the setup process, and additional tips to get your e-commerce platform started:

The New Customer Journey

1. Product Discovery

Product discovery and initial product information are shown in the Instagram post with a simple tap on the image.

2. Product Information Retrieval

A subsequent tap on the initial product information will elicit a pop-up of the product’s image on the e-commerce selling platform along with a comprehensive view of the other products available for purchase on that account’s shopping profile.

3.  Selection And Check-Out

By Clicking ‘View on Website’, the potential customer will be taken directly to the original product page, where checkout is just a click away.  Users can even add other items into their cart as they please.  When they are done, they can simply click the x in the upper left-hand corner to leave the website and return to browsing on the Instagram app.


Set-Up Process

In order for a business to be approved to use the current version of Instagram Shopping, it must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be sure that your Instagram Profile is set as a Business Account rather than a personal account.
  2. Connect to a corresponding Facebook page and Facebook catalog that all comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.
  3. Sell physical goods.  In this beta version, Instagram Shopping’s capabilities exclude services.

Once you are sure you have met these requirements, you can submit your account for review by going on the Instagram App to Profile>Settings>Business>Shopping for Instagram.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Be sure to create a link in your Instagram profile bio that links to a shoppable Instagram feed.  This will give Instagram users a great overview of the products featured on your social media with easy access to purchase in just a few clicks.  You can use platforms such as Linkin.bio, ShopLink, or Snapppt to create this feed easily and increase conversion potential.
  2. Use the customizable iconographic stickers on Instagram Stories as another way to show your product information while keeping the aesthetic of your post as clean as possible.
  3. Lastly, don’t forget to utilize traditional tags and hashtags to create many relevant labels on your posts and bring in conversions for potential customers using the search bar or browsing tags and hashtags to search for a more specific product that you have.


Would you like to learn more about the latest digital marketing trends in e-commerce?  Visit our website for additional industry insights or if we can help your online retailer navigate this transformative period in both e-commerce and digital marketing.

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