Instagram Shopping: The Hows & Whys

Are you looking to broaden your ecommerce audience beyond visitors to your website? Consider this: In 2021, 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month (source). Instagram is no doubt stepping into e-commerce with the upward trend of online shopping. Retail e-commerce sales were about 18% of all retail sales worldwide in 2020, and that is predicted to increase to nearly 22% by 2024.

 

You may want to take advantage of the free Instagram Shopping feature by connecting your current e-commerce storefront with Facebook and Instagram or building it from scratch using these social media platforms. As a business, you can tag your products directly in posts on your Instagram feed; these photos will connect to your Instagram Shop. Customers can use Instagram Checkout or redirect to your website to make the purchase. This direct line to shopping makes it easier to convert followers into customers. 72% of users report making purchase decisions based on something they saw on Instagram.

 

 

Critique of Instagram Checkout

While there are advantages to using Instagram Checkout, which allows customers to purchase the items directly on Instagram, it is important to consider both sides of the coin before diving in.

 

Instagram was not originally designed to be an e-commerce platform. There are a lot of e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Square that are built for the e-commerce experience. It may be a fine supplement to e-commerce on your website, but you may want to consider using an e-commerce platform on your website instead of relying solely on Instagram.

  • Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You won’t own your Instagram e-commerce account, and will have less control with Instagram Shopping than with your own e-commerce experience on your website. Your brand is at the whim of changes to Instagram algorithms and features, so proceed with caution.

  • There is a 5% fee per transaction on Instagram Checkout.

A note that we use Facebook and Instagram interchangeably in this post. Instagram is owned by Facebook, so the process is necessarily linked between the two social media platforms.

Are you ready to start using Instagram Shopping for your business? If you haven’t already, complete these steps before you get started:

Now you’re ready to start setting up your Shop on Instagram!

  1. Create a Catalog. Go to your Commerce Manager on Facebook. You will have the option to connect with a Partner Platform or manually upload product info. We recommend connecting with your existing ecommerce platform if they are one of the partners.

  1. Do you already use an ecommerce platform? Facebook has many partner platforms, including Shopify, Squarespace and WooCommerce. Follow the steps on your website to connect your account with Facebook and import your products into the catalog. If your ecommerce platform is not listed as a Partner Platform with Facebook, check your website to see if that is an option.

  1. After you’ve connected your Instagram Business Account and Facebook Business Manager and imported your inventory from your ecommerce website, Instagram will review the process. This could take a few days or longer. Some businesses are required to provide additional information to prove ownership of their domain through a verification process.

  1. Turn on Shopping on Instagram. Once your account is approved, you can turn on Shopping.

I’m all set up! Now what?

  • Start integrating your Instagram / Facebook shopping experience with posts and stories. You can tag your products in posts like photos and videos, which visitors can click on to view more information.

  • Use beautiful, high-resolution images that show off your produce, flowers, value-added items and more.

  • Utilize video as much as possible. Followers want to see your products in action, and you can get creative with different video formats like IGTV, Reels and Stories, creating unboxing videos, customer stories or tours of your farmstand.

  • Write compelling captions. Hook in the customer with a caption that showcases the story behind the product. Drive engagement by posting a few different pictures and ask your followers which Pluot variety is their favorite or which fruit jams are on the top of their list.

 

Have fun with Instagram and Facebook Shopping. This feature provides an outlet to drive engagement, attract more visitors to your website, showcase your products, and reach a broader customer base for your farm, food hub or farmers market.

 

Note: Instagram screenshots from Frog Hollow Farm Instagram Page.

 

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