Selling on Instagram: what challenges and opportunities?
In 2021, 64% of users were tempted to make a purchase via social networks, which generated revenue of more than $490 billion. Impressive figures, but not so surprising when we know that 4.62 billion users are active on social networks, and that they spend an average of 2h30 each day. And Instagram seems to have understood the business opportunities behind these statistics. Indeed, the platform is developing more and more advanced features related to e-commerce: dedicated shopping tab, product tags, shopping list, etc.
Now, businesses featured on Instagram can tell their story and build a community, while making it easier for their customers to buy their products through their Instagram store. It should also be noted that Instagram is basically a photo-based social network, which allows companies to promote their products easily, through elaborate packshots and a harmonious feed.
At present, the 2nd favorite social network of Internet users therefore represents a real opportunity for e-merchants to increase their visibility, by offering them a showcase and an additional sales channel.
What are the eligibility criteria to open a store on Instagram?
Do you then want to open a store on Instagram to optimize your e-commerce sales? There are 5 main eligibility criteria. It is necessary in particular:
- follow Instagram’s policies: Your brand’s Instagram business account must comply with the platform’s terms of service, as well as the Instagram community guidelines. We advise you to be particularly attentive to these policies, because you risk the suspension of your account in the event of violation.
- representing your company and your domain: your Instagram business account must feature ads for products that are sold on your website. Note that the social network verifies the domain before allowing you to open a store on Instagram.
- be present in one of the countries where Instagram Shopping is accessible: the platform that explains “your account must be in an available market in order to identify products” such as France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Canada, the United States, or even Australia. It is possible to access the complete list of countries via the help center.
- be reliable: you need to maintain a subscriber base and “demonstrate trustworthiness, including through a genuine and established presence”.
- provide verified information: it is mandatory to provide proven information about your product, and you must make your refund and return policy accessible on your website, or your Instagram store.
The steps to follow to generate your first sales on Instagram
If your brand has a presence on Instagram and you have developed an engaged community, the next step is to create your Instagram store, in order to generate more sales on your website. Discover the step-by-step steps to achieve your goals:
1. Transform your personal account into a business account
To create a store on Instagram, you must have a business account or a creator account, as well as a Facebook page. To change the account type:
- go to your profile, and click on the symbol with 3 horizontal bars located at the top right,
- to select Settings then account,
- click on Account type changer and choose from business account or creator account,
- to push on Continuatorchoose the category of your business, then click on Finished.
In addition to allowing you to open your store, the business account also offers access to more statistics, sponsored publications or even the configuration of quick replies.
2. Create a product catalog
Before you can set up your store on Instagram, you need to create a catalog containing the products you want to sell next. To create a new catalog, go to the Facebook sales manager, then click on To start up and select Create a catalog.
Select the catalog type, then click Following, and configure your settings: import mode (manually or via a partner platform), catalog owner and name. Note that Facebook has 4 partner e-commerce platforms: Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and WooCommerce.
Finally, click on Create to put your catalog online and start importing products into it. However, you will have to wait for your products to be tested and validated before you can sell them on Instagram.
3. Open your Instagram store
As soon as you can have a validated catalog, you will be able to open your Instagram store. For it :
- go to your profile, then click on the symbol with 3 horizontal bars located at the top right,
- Choose Settingsthen Businessand click on Instagram Shopping Configurator,
- push the button To start up.
Instagram will then ask you to link your Facebook page, as well as a product catalog. Note: you must be an administrator of the page to be able to link the two accounts.
4. Product IDs in your Instagram posts
To bring more visibility to your Instagram store, it is possible to identify products in your publications (classic posts, carousels, videos, Reels), using tags that indicate in particular the name of the product as well as the price, and which refer directly to your store. To use a Shopping tag in a post:
- try creating a new post,
- complete a caption, and possibly a place or people (optional),
- click on product identifier, then press on the place of the photo where you will then make your tag appear,
- find the corresponding product in your catalog, then click on Finishedand share your post.
However, it is not advisable to identify products in each of your posts, because your subscribers could get bored. Feel free to vary the content in your feed!
It is also possible to add tags in your Instagram stories, using the Shopping sticker, and adding the corresponding product.
5. Use Live Shopping
Internet users are showing growing interest in social commerce, which borrows the codes of teleshopping. In this sense, the social network has deployed a new live shopping experience: Instagram Live Shopping. Thus, companies can present their products live, and offer the possibility to Internet users to buy them directly. This feature is only available in the United States at this time.