Selling on Instagram has been traditionally difficult as they have not allowed clickable links in posts (just the one link in your bio, and if you’re lucky enough to have over 10K followers then the swipe up option in stories that will let you connect to a web address). Granted, Instagram did have a reason for this as there were too many spammy links.
Introducing Shoppable Tags
Now, however, if you have an online store, you can add your products to Facebook by making a catalog that will integrate into your business Instagram account. It allows you to tag products, similar to tagging people, but instead of connecting to a person’s profile, it displays the product’s name and can bring you to the product page (previously difficult as Instagram did not allow links other than the one in your bio.
Other than some innovative hacks, like Later and similar tools which allowed you to turn your one link into a table of contents of sorts or a catalogue, there was way no way to drive traffic from your posts to your products. Now, you can tag your product with a shoppable tag,
The shoppable tags will show your followers the price when they click on it and make it easy for users to just click on a picture and go to the page where the item is sold, making selling on Instagram so much easier. Given that it’s hard to grow an audience on Facebook and the life span of a tweet is so short, this is great news for an e-commerce store. .
Shoppable Tag Restrictions
Firstly, you have to have an Instagram business account, then you must actually be located in the right country. First, it was US only, then Instagram allowed the tags for
- United Kingdom
Now there are 46 countries that are able to do so.
You must also have an Instagram business account and be selling physical goods that don’t violate the Facebook community standards. Note, you may sell these items in your store itself, you just can’t add them to your Facebook catalog. Facebook kind of has difficult guidelines but I found a good summary of what you can’t sell on QuickSprout:
- drugs (recreational or prescription)
- tobacco products or paraphernalia that’s related to tobacco use
- weapons, explosives, or ammunition
- subscriptions, digital products, or digital content
- supplements deemed to be unsafe
- anything that infringes on a trademark or copyright
- currency (real, virtual, or fake)
- dangerous machines
- sexual or “adult” products
- anything that promotes gambling
- medical and healthcare products
- anything that is offensive, misleading, or fraudulent
Setting up Your Catalogue
Now that you know what you can sell, you are ready to set up a catalog. You can do that through Facebook Business Manager, your Facebook Page, Shopify, or BigCommerce. If you use Shopify or BigCommerce, you can easily set up shop on Instagram through those platforms.
Since the Facebook page will add them to Facebook Business Manager, you might as well choose that for the options to have a Facebook Store. s, After you set up your account at business.facebook.com and attach it the appropriate Facebook page, you create a catalog. Youcan add items manually (up to 50) along with price, up to 50 characters (product name and descirption), and the Content ID if you plan to run dynamic ads.
To create a shopping tab on your page: Click Settings → Edit Page → Template → Shopping Template → Apply Template. You can then add products that will automatically enter into your Business Manager. They have to go through an approval process first. Once approved, you can see them by going to Business Manager → Assets → Catalog.
Instead of manually entering your products (or if you have more then 50), you can bulk upload them via a data feed file. To add the feed to your catalog, head to Catalog Manager, choose the catalog you want, and click “Data Sources.” Choose “Add Data Source,” then “Use Data Feeds,” and click “Next.” If you don’t usually change your product or info you can move to the next step, but you’ll have to re-upload after and product/. If you make changes frequently or just want to stick to the safe side, you can have Facebook automatically check for updates to your feed hourly, daily, or weekly.
If you already have your inventory listed on Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Google, or WooCommerce,.you can upload inventory directly from them to Instagram
When setting up your catalog, Facebook makes you choose whether your catalog for eCommerce, real estate, auto, or travel. If you have an e-commerce catalog and you make frequent changes to your products then you should use Pixel because it will keep products and their info/prices updated in real time.
Unfortunately, the Facebook Pixel is a little difficult to install, but at the same time if you ever plan on running ad campaigns you should have it (although low traffic may affect its ability to work correctly.) You can read how to install it here.
Then, you just have to wait to be reviewed and accepted which generally takes a few hours but could be a few days. At this point, the Facebook part is done.
Adding your Catalog to Instagram From Facebook
Once you’ve been approved, go to Instagram Settings → Business Settings → Shopping. From there, click continue. You’ll see the catalog – the one you’ve set up on Facebook before – listed so choose that catalog to continue.
And now it’s done.
Adding Shopping Tags to your Posts
When you are posting and writing the caption, you can see right under the picture is the “tag people” option that we’ve always had. Directly below that is tag products where you can tag up to five products. Unfortunately, you can’t mix and match, meaning you can tag products or people/accounts but not both. You’ll need to choose between wanting to drive sales from a post – or wanting to get exposure.
You ALSO can go back and tag previous posts and you can even tag videos (however, if your video has different products in different scenes your only option is to tag the entire video, not individual scenes). You can even tag stories but we will discuss that later.
Below you see a feed with lots of shopping tags. Also, take notice of the second icon above the photos: that’s your shop and it will show all the products you’ve tagged (with photos from your websites product page, but not what you’ve posted).
When a user taps on a photo with a shopping tag it expands (as all photos do to become full screen) and will show “view products” in the left corner. If they click that or the photo it will show the product name and price.And, if they click again, they will see an image of the product (from your product page/website), a description, its cost, and lastly they can click rge product name directing them to your website for purchase
You’ll see aboewhere it says n review, that will soon become your shopping price. Also, in the middle photo, You’ll see numerous options for the same roduct, that’s due to things like color different. If you have uploaded the product pic in different pictre already it will show you all of those.
You can also add a product sticker\ to a story. It is technically a link to the product on your website, (and you don’t need 10k followers or to ask people to swipe up). Instagram will even add a little pop up during the story telling people they pick it, so you don’t need to take up more space.
As an added note, there is also a shopping tab added to the explore page (a page that businesses and influencers try really hard to get on, just Google it and you’ll find pages of guides with tips to get you on the explore page). Therefore, have a shopping tag on your post, may get it to the explore page via the shopppable tag, giving your product more exposure.
Checkout for IG
In March, Instagram released information about rolling out another feature called checkout, which lets you buy the product right on Instagram without ever leaving the site. When you view the tagged product, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Customers can click that to select from various options such as size or color, then proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. Once their first order is complete, their information will be securely saved for convenience the next time they shop on Instagram. They’ll also receive notifications about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram, so they can keep track of your purchase.
While there are obvious benefits, like removing several steps from making the purchase, thus making purchases more likely, and since the payment info is already added, they might just make that click and buy before thinking too hard. But, the seller won’t receive data it would normally get from a customer viewing the site. An Instagram spokesperson also told Crunchbase that the checkout feature will have a small fee. Although they were testing what that fee would be, it wouldn’t change the price of the products. This indicates that merchants will be paying for the feature in return for the likelihood of higher conversion rates. The feature will only be released in the US to start out but Instagram has currently chosen around 20 brands to beta test Checkout with including:
- Adidas @adidaswomen & @adidasoriginals
- Anastasia Beverly Hills @anastasiabeverlyhills
- Balmain @balmain
- Burberry @burberry
- ColourPop @colourpopcosmetics
- Dior @dior
- H&M @hm
- Huda Beauty @hudabeautyshop
- Kith @kithfootwear & @kith
- KKW @kkwbeauty
- Kylie Cosmetics @kyliecosmetics
- MAC Cosmetics @maccosmetics
- Michael Kors @michaelkors
- NARS @narsissist
- Net-a-Porter @netaporter & Mr. Porter @mrporterlive
- Nike @niketraining & @nikewomen
- NYX Cosmetics @nyxcosmetics
- Oscar de la Renta @oscardelarenta
- Ouai Hair @theouai
- Outdoor Voices @outdoorvoices
- Prada @prada
- Revolve @revolve
- Uniqlo @uniqlousa
- Warby Parker @warbyparker
- Zara @zara
Also, in addition to the current options of individual accounts and business accounts, there will also be Creator accounts. Creators will be able to tag not their own products (brands are limited to only items in their own store/catalog), but any products from brands that are currently enrolled with the checkout feature. This is a clear move to make working with influencers more effective. The “creator” doesn’t get a portion of a sale but just like with many current influencer deals, it’s possible that they will get paid by the brands themselves for the promotion. Instagram has a list of those with beta access. A group of influencer’s were given beta access to creator accounts.
There’s still no news as to when the Creator’s account and checkout feature will conclude beta testing and be available more widely. If you want to know more about whether you should switch to a creators account you can get more info from The popular scheduling app, Later, that specializes in Instagram wrote more about whether you should consider getting a creator’s account when they become public.
Ultimately, Instagram’s new features could be really good for influencers and brands alike but there’s plenty in the past they didn’t do that could have also been beneficial to those groups. This leaves one to believe the moves are more about getting users to spend more time in the app by giving you fewer reasons to leave it, like clicking a link to a brand’s page.
To read about all of the new and upcoming Instagram features, you can read yet another great post by Later covering them all.
Turning it over to you
What do you think of the new features? Do you use shoppable posts? Would you use checkout for a small fee? If you’re not a business would you make a creators account? Discuss in the comments.
Note: Thank you to my client Marquis Gardens who allowed me to capture the shoppable posts through my work with them. If you do anything with landscaping they sell beautiful fountains, statues, planters, ponds, and more. Definitely check them out.