social media giant Instagram announced its closed beta testing for an exciting new shopping feature on the visual platform. The announcement concerned a checkout feature on Instagram to select e-commerce platforms. According to the press release, the Facebook-owned social media platform will handpick select retailers in the United States for beta testing. Once the testing phase passes successfully, the checkout feature will become available to all brands on Instagram.
It bears notice that Instagram has become a commercial platform more and more over the last few years. Back in 2017, Instagram began releasing interesting new updates for brands and businesses operating on it. The most important one was about tagging products. It allowed brands to do that on their organic posts.
In 2018, another updated featured an enhanced shopping experience. This included shopping stickers in Instagram stories, a revamped dedicated shop design, and a dedicated shopping channel in Explore. But it seems all of this was merely laying the stage for Instagram’s latest announcement.
The newest checkout feature is part of the Instagram shopping suite, which is available only to select brand at this time. When discussing the feature, Instagram had this to say:
“Checkout enhances the shopping experience by making purchase simple, convenient and secure.”
So we can reasonably expect a simplified version of the Instagram shopping experience we have now. Instagram had more to say on the subject:
“People no longer have to navigate to the browser when they want to buy. And with their protected payment information in one place, they can shop their favorite brands without needing to log in and enter their information multiple times.”
From this, the gist of the changes is clearer. Instead of navigating away from Instagram when you want a product you like, you can buy it right from your feed. Instagram also offers increased security concerning payment information, so you can conveniently shop from the brands you prefer.
Instagram has grown far beyond the simple image-sharing platform it used to be. Today it is one of the key channels for brands to reach their audiences. Instagram offers brands the opportunity to connect with their audience, build credibility and the tools they need to make the most of their advertising.
Instagram is home to over 12 billion business profiles from across the globe. Over 2 million advertisers worldwide use Instagram as a key channel. Over 60% of Instagram users have discovered new products on the social media platform. Every day over 200 million users visit a business page and view its products and services. So it is clearly evident that Instagram wants to position itself as a convenient shopping platform as well as an advertising platform.
How to Set up Shopping on Instagram
There are a number of steps that you need to follow before you can set up shopping on Instagram for your business profile. These include:
Are you eligible?
Are you based in a market supported by Instagram? Do you sell physical goods? Do you comply with Instagram commerce policies? Do you have an Instagram business profile set up? Is your Instagram account linked to a Facebook page? It could even be a simple customer service page. If the answer to all of these questions is Yes, then congratulations, you are eligible for shopping on Instagram.
Connecting Instagram Profile to Catalogue
To set up shopping on Instagram, you will need to link your Facebook catalog to your Instagram business profile. There are two ways to do this. You can do it yourself using the Catalogue Manager. Choose an e-commerce catalog if you want to add stickers and product tags. The second option is to use a Facebook partner, who will help you set up your catalog.
Once you have eligibility and a connected catalog, use the Instagram app and sign up for shopping. Here’s how to do this: Profile>Settings>Business>Shopping on Instagram. Follow the instructions on the screen and make sure everything is in order. Then submit your account for an objective review. The review process can take a few days or longer, depending on your profile. To check your status, keep visiting Settings>Shopping. After the approval of your account, Instagram will notify you, asking you to complete the setup process.
Creating a Post or Story
Once your shop is set up, its time to add product stickers and tags to your stories and posts. The creation process is simple, all you have to do is use “Tag Products” to add products from the connected catalog. There is a maximum of 5 products for a single image or video post. You can also add a maximum of 20 products for multi-image posts. Instagram also allows you to add tags and stickers on your old posts.
Examine Instagram Shopping Insights
Now that you have uploaded stories and posts, its time to see how they are performing. You will need to regularly look at the Insights tab in your Instagram business profile. These contain analytics that will tell you more about your audiences. Use this information to create even more relevant posts.