Instagram shopping lets you create an engaging shopping experience directly from your profile. Every day, millions of Instagram users explore their feed looking to buy things they love.

Ready to get your products in front of more eyes? The great news is that opening your Instagram shop is free and easy to get started! Watch this video to find out how:

In this post, we’ll cover the following topics and then teach you how to sell on Instagram:

  1. Why you should sell products or services on Instagram
  2. If you need a business license to sell on Instagram
  3. How to sell products on Instagram

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Why sell products or services on Instagram?

Before we dive into how to sell products on Instagram, let’s talk about the benefits first.

Selling your products or services on Instagram can boost your sales and skyrocket your reach.

And there are a few reasons why:

  1. It’s the most popular app: Since Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps in the world, you can get discovered by a lot more users.
  2. It has a massive user base: Users worldwide spend an average of 145 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) per day on social media. With over a billion users globally, that’s a lot of eyeballs!
  3. It’s an engaging social media platform: Instagram has a very user-friendly platform for selling products. And it gives creators a chance to engage directly with their followers and build relationships. All you need to do is post photos and videos to start promoting your products.

Social media has become a powerful tool that creators and entrepreneurs can use to market their products or services and gain new customers.

Instagram shops help you curate your brand story and showcase your products to the world.

The world is at your fingertips – literally.

If you’re already selling online, you can easily sync up your existing e-commerce platforms to your Instagram catalog.

Selling on Instagram is also beneficial because it:

  • Allows you to target an audience in your niche by showing your products or services to the right people
  • Makes it easier for users to buy directly from your website or through the built-in checkout without leaving the app
  • Boosts brand exposure and drives traffic to your page and website
  • Helps you tell a story and curate a customized shopping experience
  • Drives product discovery through your feed, stories, and videos
  • Lets people browse and learn more about your company and products

If your business isn’t on Instagram yet, maybe it’s time to consider creating a profile to engage with your customers.

Already on Instagram? Awesome! You can open your shop and start selling right away.

As a small business or creator, it’s important to get your products or services on as many platforms as possible.

Instagram’s shopping experience helps you engage with your followers, discover new customers, and increase sales.

Sounds pretty great, right? But before we talk about how to sell, let’s make sure you’re able to sell in the first place.

To use Instagram shopping you just need to meet a few eligibility requirements.

Do you need a business license to sell on Instagram?

No. You don’t need a business license to sell on Instagram, but according to Instagram’s Commerce Eligibility Requirements you should:

  1. Follow Instagram’s policies
  2. Represent your business and domain
  3. Be located in a supported market
  4. Demonstrate trustworthiness
  5. Provide correct information and follow best practices

Let’s dig deeper into what each of these conditions means:

Follow Instagram’s policies

You have to follow Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

Make sure you comply with all their policies or your commerce account could be closed.

So, before you jump into selling, learn about their policies.

Represent your business and your domain

Your professional account on Instagram has to reflect products that are already available for purchase on your website.

That means you need a website before you can open your shop.

You might be thinking, “how can I sell on Instagram without a website?”. Well, you can’t.

You need to own a website to be eligible for Instagram shopping.

Looks like it’s time to launch your site if you haven’t already.

Instagram also needs to verify your domain through its Domain Verification process.

Be located in a supported market

You’ll need to be physically located in one of Instagram’s supported markets.

Show trustworthiness

Your brand and page should be considered a trustworthy, authentic, presence.

You might also need to keep a sufficient and authentic follower base.

Take a look at your follower list to see if any questionable-looking bot accounts are following you.

If that’s the case you can quickly remove them from your followers to show Instagram that you are trustworthy.

Provide correct information and follow best practices

Make sure your product information isn’t misleading.

Product details should be correct and reflect what’s written on your website.

Plus, your refund and return policies must be available too.

If everything looks good, you’re ready to start selling!

How to sell products on Instagram

Learning how to sell things on Instagram might seem intimidating at first, but we promise it’s pretty straightforward.

Here’s an 8-step plan for how to sell on Instagram shop:

  1. Find the right niche
  2. Get an Instagram business profile
  3. Set up an Instagram shop
  4. Create shoppable posts
  5. But create regular posts too
  6. Get on the explore page
  7. Try live shopping
  8. Use Instagram checkout

We’ll cover all these topics in more detail starting from the top.

1. Find the right niche and build your following

Every great business strategy starts with narrowing and defining your niche.

A niche is a specific set of people or businesses who are looking to buy a particular product/service.

That’s where you come in! So, know your audience.

Understanding your niche market on Instagram gets you in the minds of your target consumer.

You’ll discover their wants and needs and how your product or service caters to them.

Here are a few ways you can discover your niche:

  • Learn about your ideal customer’s passions, interests, and behavior
  • Think about their problems and needs and how your product/service solves them
  • Perform a competitive analysis on similar businesses in your niche
  • Read forums, social media comments, and posts to get more insights into your ideal customer’s pain points and problems

The more specific your niche is, the more you’ll stand out to your ideal customer.

Once you know what your niche is, look up your competitors by searching hashtags that are relevant to your business.

You can also check the Explore page and browse trending hashtags, accounts, and photos.

When you know what’s ranking in Instagram’s algorithm, then you can mirror what’s trending.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. If their strategy is working, feel free to use it as inspiration.

But the goal is to look at what they’re doing and do it better.

Spying on your competitors is a great way to gain consumer insights and help craft your strategy for selling on Instagram.

And once you’ve narrowed down your niche, you’ll have an easier time building your following.

Think about ways you can post high-quality photos, create valuable content, write better captions, or just engage with your followers.

Next, you’ll want to create your social media strategy to build a following of your ideal customers.

2. Get an Instagram business profile

Now that you know your niche and have a decent following, it’s time to switch your account to an Instagram business profile.

Getting an Instagram business profile is free and lets you manage your brand’s presence and online store.

You’ll also get access to insights, sponsored posts, ads, scheduled posts, quick replies, branded content, links to Instagram stories, and more.

Instagram Business accounts are the go-to options for brands or companies that sell products or services.

And it’s no surprise since it helps you build and grow your online presence and open your Instagram shop.

All you need to do to switch to a business account is go to Settings, Account, and tap Switch account type.

switch to Business Account on Instagram

Source: Instagram

Here you can enable your business account in one step. Easy enough, right?

After set up, you’ll get access to exclusive content just for businesses.

Take a tour of the latest features and tips and tricks to get the best experience.

3. Set up an Instagram shop

So, you’ve established your online presence and following, you’re eligible for Instagram shopping, and you’ve switched to a business account – well done!

Now you’re ready to open up shop.

Let’s get started with the basics, step by step.

First, you need to log into your Instagram account, make sure you’re an admin, and head over to your profile dashboard.

Follow these steps next to set up your shop:

  1. Select settings and tap on Creator, from here you click Set up Instagram Shopping
  2. Connect your catalog or use a partner
  3. Enter your website (Instagram will need to verify)
  4. Set up your checkout option
  5. Choose sales channels
  6. Add products to at least one catalog
  7. Preview your shop to make sure it looks good

set up Instagram shop with tagged products and insights

Source: Instagram: @Wildart.Erika

Opening your Instagram shop gives you a whole dashboard of features you can use to create an immersive shopping experience.

Followers can visit your shop, explore products, and buy directly from your profile, posts, or story.

You can also set up the Checkout feature if you’re based in the US. This way people won’t have to leave the app to make a purchase.

4. Create shoppable posts

A great way to drive product discoverability is through shoppable posts.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Get the free guide right now!

Shoppable posts are regular feed posts, Reels, or Stories that include product tags.

These tags show users the price, product name, and let them add it to their cart or go to your website to buy.

Users can tap on the tags to view more about your product or service too.

Remember to use a call to action in every post to make it more compelling.

Tell people to check out the link in your bio too to learn more about your business.

Once your shop is live, you’ll be able to start creating shoppable posts right away.

Shoppable posts are the perfect way to advertise your products to both followers and potential customers.

You can post organically or create an Instagram ad.

How to create shoppable posts

All you need to do to create shoppable posts is either create a brand new post or update an existing post with tags.

Watch our video on how to tag your products in shoppable Instagram posts, Stories and Reels:

You can tag photos or videos. So, choose something interesting and eye-catching that shows off your product.

For new posts, you can simply select Tag products in the post editor.

Next, choose your product from your Product Catalogue or insert the product ID or search by product name.

Double-check that you’ve selected the right product before you publish the post and then hit Done.

Now your feed post is shoppable!

How to create shoppable Stories

To create shoppable stories you will need to post a story and tap on the Stickers option.

From there you’ll have the option to select the Shopping sticker to tag your product.

Next, enter your product ID or search for the product name.

Publish the story and your story will now have product tags that users can click on directly from your story.

When thinking about what to post, make sure the photo or video is high-quality and creates value for the user. You don’t want it to come across as too sales-y.

Be authentic and let your brand’s story shine through.

Focus more on the post itself and let the products speak for themselves.

original acrylic painting by Jfritzart with product tags

Source: Instagram @Jfritzart

Try following the 80/20 rule when it comes to how often you make your posts shoppable. That is, only make 20% of your posts shoppable (in order to not bore your followers).

5. But create regular posts too

Of course, you don’t want to just show your followers only sales posts because this might come across as pushy.

We believe the 80/20 rule mentioned above is your best strategy for balancing shoppable posts vs. regular posts.

Try to aim for 80% regular posts and 20% shoppable posts.

It’s important to remember that with every post you should try to create value and not just post for the sake of posting.

Create content that is both engaging and creative.

Post content that you know your followers will want to share with their friends or repost.

That’s free advertising!

If you’re looking for some post idea inspiration here are a few we recommend:

  • Ask your users engaging or thought-provoking questions
  • Provide educational content in your niche
  • Give your followers a behind scenes peek at your business
  • Share your favorite thought leadership pieces

Or, for more Instagram post ideas, watch this episode of Fridge-worthy, where two of Hootsuite’s social media experts break down why this one furniture store is SO GOOD at selling rugs:

6. Get on the Explore page

Getting discovered on the Explore page is every creator’s dream.

That’s because it’s the key to increasing your organic reach.

What is the Explore page? It’s a public collection of photos, videos, reels, and stories that are tailored to each Instagram user.

Picture this: you’ve been thinking about buying a new pair of hiking boots and head to your explore page to browse content.

Suddenly your Explore page is full of hiking boots and similar products.

But wait, how is that possible?

Well, the Instagram algorithm is a fine-tuned machine.

It serves up targeted content to users based on their interests, search history, and user behavior data.

It’s intuitive and knows exactly what to show users. Giving them the right content, at the right time.

Here are some more of the benefits of showing up on the explore page:

  • Boosts engagement on a piece of content
  • Drives discoverability and new followers
  • Signals to the algorithm that your content is great and takes note of that
  • Increases conversions which mean more sales

Getting your posts in the Explore feed should be the goal of every post.

There is an art and science to getting on the Explore page.

Luckily, we’ve figured it out and put together some useful tips below on how to get on the Instagram Explore page:

  1. Know your audience and what type of content performs best
  2. Share engaging content that creates value for users
  3. Mix it up. Try out different formats like Reels or Stories
  4. Build an active community of followers that will engage with your posts and help boost them in the algorithm
  5. Post when your followers are most active online
  6. Use relevant tags that are medium-low volume to start
  7. Post content that resonates by digging into your analytics
  8. Consider using ads in the Explore feed
  9. Avoid any scheme tactics like buying followers or creating Instagram pods

7. Try live shopping

Another way to start making sales is by taking advantage of Instagram live shopping.

Instagram live shopping is a live, interactive shopping experience available to approved Instagram shops based in the U.S.

Live shopping lets you sell products directly on your Instagram live broadcast.

You can instantly interact with viewers, engage with potential customers in real-time and you can save your videos for later.

Basically, you can go live on Instagram anytime and promote your products while people are tuned in.

Going live is also another opportunity to grab people’s attention and tell a story.

And it’s a great way for customers to discover new products.

What are the other benefits of Instagram live shopping?

  • Interact directly with shoppers and show how to use a product or answer questions
  • Feature new products and promotions
  • Collaborate with influencers or creators
  • Schedule live shopping broadcasts

Before you go live, make sure you add products to a collection to showcase each product.

Product launch coming up? Schedule a live shopping experience to build awareness.

Or if you have a hot seller, you can feature that product by pinning it to your live broadcast.

Don’t be shy. Lives are a chance to show off your best-selling products and drive more product discoverability.

So, give it a try!

Plus, the algorithm loves when accounts engage with their followers. Bonus points for you.

8. Use Instagram Checkout

Instagram recently introduced a new feature for shop owners called Instagram checkout.

Only shop owners in the US have this feature right now but Instagram plans to expand to more countries later.

With Instagram checkout, your customers can buy products they love without having to leave the app.

It’s a safe and secure way to sell products directly on the app.

And users are more likely to make a purchase when it’s easier to buy and fewer steps are involved.

Happy selling!

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