How to sell products on Instagram

This is the ultimate step-by-step guide on how to sell products on Instagram. For small to large businesses.
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Instagram shopping offers easy access to millions of potential customers. Here’s how to set up your shop and meet the criteria to start selling.

Instagram is a powerful sales engine. Since Instagram Shop was launched in 2019, millions of people have used it to discover and purchase new products. In fact, 130 million people tap to reveal product tags in shopping posts each month. Likewise, two thirds of marketers say that launching a product exclusively on Instagram is better than launching elsewhere.

Instagram graph on selling exclusively on instagram Source: Hubspot

These results aren’t surprising if we consider the 1.3 billion users Instagram boasts today, 90% of whom follow a business account. So, whoever is your audience, you’re likely to find them on Instagram.

Instagram can sometimes feel overwhelming with all the new features coming out each month, but it’s easier than you may think to get started. Keep reading to find how to set up your Instagram shop and how to optimise your content campaigns for a stellar conversion rate. 

How to sell products on Instagram

Instagram makes it very easy for any business to be able to sell via its platform. However, before you go through all the steps to set up your Instagram shop, double check these three things:

  • You already have an active website with real products. Instagram wants to work with established businesses only, so you need to have an online presence before you proceed
  • Your business and products comply with Instagram’s commerce policies (otherwise your shop application will be rejected)
  • You’re operating in a region which is eligible for Instagram shopping

How to set up an Instagram shop 

Before you’re able to showcase your amazing products to your Instagram audience, you first need to set up your Instagram shop. You need a few things to do this:

  1. Get a business account – this is easy to do (and free) if you just go to Settings –> Account –>Switch account type
  2. Set up an Instagram shop – again, head to the Settings menu and click on Creator and then Set Up Instagram Shopping. You can also set up your shop using the Meta Business Manager
  3. Set up your catalogue – the next step is to connect your catalogue to your shop. You can use the Commerce Manager available in the Meta Business Manager to add your catalogue from Facebook. Here, select the type of business you are (online retail store, real estate, auto etc.) and start adding your products. If your products are already listed on a third-party ecommerce platform, you can connect that catalogue here
  4. Add your website – Instagram requires all businesses to have a live and active website, so you’ll need to include that here and go through Instagram’s domain verification process
  5. Set up your checkout (available only in the U.S.) – this allows customers to buy directly on the platform during product launches or while they’re casually browsing your catalogue
  6. Get your shop approved Instagram needs to approve your shop in order for you to be able to sell. So, go to Settings –>Sign up for Instagram Shopping –> Submit. This may take a few business days, but it’s worth the wait

How to sell on Instagram (promotional tactics) 

Congrats! Now that you have your shop set up, it’s time to start selling.

Create shoppable posts

Shoppable posts are one of the best ways to help people discover your products and make a purchase right there and then. They support product tags, which work the same as when you’re tagging a person. Only this time, the tag shows the viewer the product price and takes them directly to checkout. 

Use stickers

Stickers are excellent for driving engagement on regular stories and they work just as well on your product stories. They work the same way product tags work on feeds – they let your viewers get directly to your product.

Post when your audience is active

Different countries behave differently when it comes to hanging out on Instagram. For example, users in the UK are most active after midnight. That said, the perfect time to post seems to be 8pm with an engagement rate of 12.8% (which is 7% higher than the lowest engagement rate of 5.8% at 5am).

Make use of story highlights

Stories usually disappear after 24 hours, but you can choose to highlight certain stories that feature your best-selling products or your newest collection. These appear right underneath your profile photo, so they’re excellent for getting extra visibility on the products you want to push most.

Get creative with your content

It’s important to experiment with different types of content to see what your audience best responds to. Rather than just featuring your products in the best possible lighting, try to take your audience on a journey. Show them behind-the-scenes videos of how you make the products or do teaser content before you do a product launch.

Use Instagram Live

Instagram Live had the biggest return on investment (ROI) compared to any other type of content. Lives are also great for gaining new followers and growing awareness of your brand, so make sure they feature in your sales activities on the platform.

It’s worth noting that Instagram removed the live shopping option as of March 16, 2023, which means you won’t be able to tag your products during live streams. That said, you can still use live broadcasting to show off your products, invite guests, and conduct an FAQ.

Instagram shopping tool ROI Source: HubSpot

Instagram shop fees

Instagram doesn’t charge any fees for setting up a shop and selling on the platform, which is why it’s ideal for businesses of any size. That said, if you’re using a third-party ecommerce platform, they may charge you outside of the platform.

How to sell on Instagram without a website 

Instagram prioritises quality over anything else, so they want to see that you’re an established business before you start selling to their audience. This means that the platform requires you to have a website with product listings that are available for purchase.

How to add products to an Instagram shop

You can either add your products via your Facebook catalogue or your third-party ecommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce. In order to do this, go to your Commerce Manager and click on the Category Overview section. In the right-hand corner, select ‘Add’.  

adding items to Instagram shop

Then you have a few options of how to add your products, like manually, using a spreadsheet or integrating your ecommerce platform. Choose whichever applies and follow the steps to the finish line.

By using the Commerce Manager or your Instagram app, you can also select which products appear in your shop or hide certain products if you no longer want them to appear.

Instagram shop button

As of February 2023, Instagram removed the Shop tab from their homescreen, which means there’s no longer a shopping-only dedicated space on the platform. That said, Instagram still supports Instagram shopping, and brands can continue to promote their products via reels, stories, and photos. 

The ‘view shop’ button is visible once a user visits your profile directly from their mobile app. There, they’ll be able to see all your collections and products.

How do I accept payment on Instagram? 

Customers can pay via Meta Pay, which allows them to enter their card and personal details once, and then shop across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Instagram accepts all the major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Customers can also pay via PayPal. 

Do I need a trade licence to sell on Instagram? 

Instagram doesn’t require a trade or business licence as long as you comply with its commerce eligibility criteria

  1. Comply with its policies
  2. Represent your business and domain
  3. Be located in a supported market
  4. Demonstrate trustworthiness
  5. Provide accurate information and follow best practices

How many followers do you need to open an Instagram shop?

As long as you comply with the criteria above, Instagram doesn’t care how many followers you have. You can set up a shop even without any followers provided you’re a legitimate business.

Final remarks

It’s never been easier to reach millions of people with a few clicks of a button. Instagram, as one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, makes it particularly easy for brands and creators to connect to their audience, showcase their brand, and grow their business. 

Setting up your shop on Instagram shouldn’t be intimidating. It may take you a few days to get set up and verified, but the wait will be well worth your while. 

Are you ready to give Instagram a try and see those sales skyrocket? VAMP is a creator platform that helps hundreds of businesses and creators make their social media dreams come true. Head over to our pricing page and get started for free.


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