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Make the most of Instagram’s e-commerce functionality with Shopping.
Make the most of Instagram’s e-commerce functionality with Shopping.

How to use Instagram Shopping to increase your e-commerce sales: Part I

Retailers who are aiming to increase their e-commerce sales should consider using the social media tool Instagram Shopping, writes SIMON DELL in this two-part series.

In the digital marketplace, businesses are looking for any advantage they can get over their competitors – and one of those advantages is using Instagram Shopping.

Part one of this guide to Instagram Shopping details the purpose of this tool and how it can enrich a business’ Instagram account.

It’s estimated that Instagram has over 1 billion active users each month worldwide; in Australia alone, there are close to 10 million active users, which equates to approximately 40 per cent of the population.

Businesses without an active Instagram presence are missing out on a large potential market.

Meanwhile, retailers must use every tool at their disposal to put their products in front of potential customers, and Instagram Shops offers another avenue to do so.

What is an Instagram Shopping?

An Instagram Shopping allows e-commerce or omnichannel businesses to promote their products directly on Instagram.

Most importantly, it lets Instagram users browse the business’ entire catalogue without leaving the app.

This is significant because if people are browsing through Instagram, they generally want to stay there rather than be directed to an external website.

With an Instagram Shop, sellers can also tag products in their business account’s posts and Instagram Stories, which lets users discover key product information with one click.

“By tagging products using Instagram Shopping, business owners place these items right in front of customers who are most likely to buy them.”

Essentially, an Instagram Shop has almost all of the functions of an e-commerce store.

The platform is even starting to integrate transactions through its Checkout function – making it even easier for shoppers to buy directly.

While Checkout is currently only available to eligible US business accounts, however Instagram plans to roll out worldwide access in the near future.

The benefits

There are several reasons a retail business should consider adding an Instagram Shop to their account.

Firstly, it’s another channel through which to sell products – but more importantly, it’s a large channel. If a business owner has worked hard to gain followers on Instagram, they should be monetising that effort in any way they can.

Being able to sell directly to followers who are already interested in the business is an efficient way to improve the bottom line because it:

• Makes it easier for customers to buy – Instagram Shopping removes many of the barriers that previously existed within Instagram for retailers.

For starters, the platform doesn’t allow business owners to post links in posts, and it only allows one link in the account’s bio.

When users are happily browsing Instagram, it’s difficult and cumbersome to direct them to check the account’s bio for a link, and then take another step to follow that link to the business’ website.

With an Instagram Shop, the user can view product information and pricing, as well as browse the business’ catalogue, then and there.

The addition of Checkout means users can buy directly on Instagram, and once they have made a single purchase on either Instagram or Facebook – which owns Instagram – their details are already saved.

• Saves time – One of the keys to effective marketing is to meet customers where they already are, rather than trying to entice them to another location.

Since there are a large number of people browsing Instagram every day already, it makes sense to take the online store to them by integrating it with Instagram.

From a ‘customer experience’ point of view, an Instagram Shop ticks all the boxes because the user has all the information they need clearly displayed in front of them in a familiar and accessible way.

• Puts products in the spotlight – With Instagram Shopping, the business owner can simply tag products in posts.

When they do so, users can click on a little shopping bag icon to see the product information instantly.

Even better, once a product is tagged in a post, it automatically gets displayed on Instagram’s ‘Shopping Explore’ tab. This allows even more Instagram users to see the product – even those who are not following the specific business’ account.

Additionally, if users are browsing the Shopping Explore tab, it usually indicates they have a strong intention to buy something. Therefore, by tagging products using Instagram Shopping, business owners place these items right in front of customers who are most likely to buy them.

Now that the purpose, mechanism, and benefits of having Instagram Shopping have been explained, part two –to be published next month – will explore how to set up and make the most of an Instagram Shop.



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Simon Dell

Contributor • CEO of Cemoh

Simon Dell is co-founder and CEO of Cemoh, a Brisbane-based firm that provides marketing staff on demand. He specialises in digital marketing and brand management. Visit:

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