Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping

Every month, 90 million fingers tap on an Instagram shopping post to learn more about products.

For brands and businesses, using Instagram shopping posts is a great way to showcase your products and use your Instagram feed to drive more purchases.

Not only can you easily introduce and educate your followers about your products with shopping posts, but you can guide your followers to make a purchase with just a few taps!

You want to make sure you’re using Instagram shopping posts as effectively as possible — we’re talking beautiful imagery, great captions, and sales pitches timed to perfection.

Want to learn more about how you can drive more sales with Instagram shopping posts?  

In the following guide, we’ll take you through the steps to get set up with shopping on Instagram and reveal a few handy tips and tricks to seamlessly integrate your shopping posts into your feed.

instagram shopping

Table of Contents:

  1. What are Instagram Shopping Posts and Should Your Business be Using Them?
  2. How To Set Up Shopping On Instagram
  3. What If Your Account Isn’t Approved for Instagram Shopping?
  4. Instagram Introduces New Shopping Channel in the Explore Page
  5. 8 Tips for Creating Instagram Shopping Posts that Convert into Sales
  6. Track and Measure Your Instagram Shopping Posts with Instagram Analytics

What Are Instagram Shopping Posts and Should Your Business Be Using Them?

In a nutshell, Instagram shopping posts make it easier for people to shop the products they find on Instagram by “tagging” products in posts.

If you’re a brand or business with a physical product, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to introduce your products to Instagram’s 500 million daily users!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Instagram Shopping Posts

Instagram Shopping Posts Act as a Virtual Shop Front:

Aesthetically speaking, an Instagram shopping post can seamlessly fit in with your Instagram feed and your brand’s overall look and feel.

You can create Instagram shopping posts in your profile feed or your Instagram Stories, and you can choose any image or video you like as an Instagram shopping post.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Instagram Shopping Stories Posts

So you’ll be able to maintain your editing or image style, and not have to compromise your Instagram aesthetic to create a shoppable post.

Once you set your account up for Instagram shopping (we’ll cover this in detail below!) it’s really simple to create your first shoppable post. For feed posts, you can tag up to 5 products per image or up to 20 products in a carousel image post. And just like a regular Instagram post, you can add filters and write a caption.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Instagram Shopping Stories Posts

In Instagram Stories, all you have to do is tap the sticker icon and select the “product” sticker. You can even customize the color of your sticker before sharing your story.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Stories Product Tag Example

Instagram Shopping Posts Tap into an Already Engaged Audience

Firstly, you’re going to be sharing your Instagram shoppable posts and stories with your followers who are already interested in your brand and products.

When your shoppable post appears in your followers’ feeds, all they have to do is tap the shopping bag icon on an image to reveal more info about the product.

If a user taps on the info box, they’ll be directed to a URL where they can shop and purchase the product!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Instagram Shopping Posts

When it comes to shoppable posts in Instagram Stories, there are over 400 million accounts globally tapping through stories each day, and one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses! So you know you’re going to be showing off your products to an engaged audience from the get-go!

Finally, while it’s still in testing stages, there is a chance your shoppable post will appear on Instagram’s Explore page. More on this later in this post!

Instagram Shopping Posts Give Your Followers an Easier Way to Shop

With just a tap, your viewers can get quick access to details about your products, including their price — so you’re making it super-easy for your followers to make a decision on a purchase.

After tapping on a product tag in their feed or product sticker in stories, viewers are taken to a product description page on Instagram. And from there, they can decide if they want to “View on Website,” which will take them to a dedicated product page where they can make a purchase.

Plus, viewers can keep browsing other products you featured in shopping posts or stories from the Instagram product description page! It really is a streamlined way for your followers to shop your range and collection.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Instagram Shopping Posts GIF

While there are lots of different ways for brands (especially ecommerce brands) to weave sales opportunities into their Instagram marketing strategy, having Instagram shopping posts in your feed is a feature you definitely want to take advantage of!

And the good news is that it’s pretty easy to get set up with sharing shoppable posts.

If you’re looking for more info and inspiration on how to make sales from Instagram, check out this video we created with three super-successful ecommerce brands that have great strategies for their Instagram sales:

How To Set Up Instagram Shopping For Your Account:

Ready to start sharing Instagram shopping posts with your followers? Let’s get started!

There are a few steps to go through before you can share your first shoppable post, but here’s everything you need to do:

Step #1: Check That Your Business and Account Fulfill Instagram’s Requirements

Instagram has some fairly strict requirements when it comes to getting set up with their shopping features.

This ensures that only genuine retailers and ecommerce brands are able to make sales via the app.

Here are some of the requirements needed (and you can find more details on them here):

  • Your business must be located in one of Instagram’s 46 approved countries for Instagram Shopping. Approved countries include Canada, US, Puerto Rico, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, South Africa, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Poland, Greece, and many more, but it is worth checking the country limitations before starting the process to get set up with Instagram shopping.
  • Your Instagram account must be for a business that primarily sells physical goods. You must also have a business profile on Instagram and comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policy.
  • Your Facebook Business Page connected to your Instagram account cannot have country or age restrictions.
  • Your Instagram business profile must be associated with a Facebook catalog for your products.

Step #2: Connect your Instagram Business Profile to a Facebook Catalog for Your Products

If you meet all these requirements, you’re ready to move onto the second stop, creating a catalog for your products.

There are two ways to do this:

Option #1: Add a Shop Section to Your Facebook Page

Go to your Facebook Business Page, and click the Shop tab. If you can’t see the Shop tab straight away, you may need to change your Page template to the Shopping template — just follow these steps to do that.

  • Click “Set up Shop” and agree to the Merchant Terms.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Facebook Shop

  • Enter your business address and click Next.
  • Choose a currency for your Facebook shop and enter the email address associated with your business page. Then click Next.
  • Add the tax registration number for every state/country that you have a business presence in.
  • Click Finish and you can then start adding products to your shop!

Option #2: Use a Product Catalog on Business Manager

  • Go to the Business Manager account that owns the Facebook Page linked to your Instagram business profile.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Facebook Business Account

  • From your Business Manager account, create a new catalog or identify an existing catalog you’d like to use with shopping on Instagram. If the catalog you’d like to use is in another Business Manager account, make sure the two accounts are partnered.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Facebook Business Account

Note: If you’re using Shopify or BigCommerce to manage your product catalog, you can choose to set up a shop on Facebook directly through those platforms! It’s a really easy way to manage all your online shop and product catalogs in one place.

For more info on how to connect your business profile to a Facebook catalog, check out our in-depth guide here!

Step #3: Your Account Will Be Reviewed by Instagram

Once you’ve set up your Facebook shop or connected a product catalog on your Business Manager account, Instagram will review your account before granting access to the shopping features.

It’s a nail-biting time as the review process can take a couple of days. Or if you’re setting up everything from scratch or adding a new catalog to your existing shop, the process can take a little longer as the whole catalog needs to be reviewed by Instagram too.

All you can do is sit back, relax, and wait for Instagram to give you the green light for Instagram shopping!

What If Your Account Isn’t Approved for Instagram Shopping?

Don’t worry! There are other ways to guide your followers to your online store if Instagram hasn’t given you the green light to access the shopping features right now.

From building out a great content calendar, to sharing the right kind of content on your Instagram Stories, there are tons of ways to generate leads on Instagram.

One feature you can try out is Linkin.bio by Later. To help you drive traffic to your website, and make sales from your Instagram posts, Later has created a feature that allows you to link each and every post on your feed to a specific URL, like the link to where you can buy on your business’s online store!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Linkin Bio

Linkin.bio works as a landing page that resembles your Instagram feed, and if a viewer clicks on your post in your Linkin.bio feed, they will be taken to a specific URL you set when scheduling and posting that photo.

When people click the link in your bio, they’ll then be able to browse all your products and shop your feed!Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Linkin Bio

So if Instagram shopping isn’t available to you right now, setting up a Linkin.bio profile could really help you direct your audience to your product shopping pages, and generate sales. And it only takes a few minutes to get set up!

If you’re currently on a Later paid, you can start using Linkin.bio today. For free users, you can upgrade here.

Step #4: Start Posting to Instagram With Product Tags

Congratulations! You’ve been approved by Instagram and you can now start adding product tags to your Instagram posts and stories!

Here we’ll look at the steps you need to take to add shoppable product tags to your posts:

How to Add Product Tags to Your Instagram Posts

Ready to add a product tag to your first post?

Start by uploading an image to Instagram as you normally would. Add your filters, edit the image, write a caption, and add hashtags and location tags if you like.

Once you’ve done that, tagging products is basically the same process as tagging other Instagram users in your posts. And it happens in the Share screen once you’re happy with your caption, edits, and filters.

Tap the Tag Products section and then select the products in the photo you want to tag.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Tag Products

Next, enter the names of the products you want to tag in your image, and then select them as they appear in the search results.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Tag Products

Once you’ve added all the tags you want (you can add up to 5 in a single image post), just tap Done and share your post!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Tag Products

How to Add Shopping Stickers to Instagram Stories Posts

The shoppable stickers for Instagram Stories are similar to regular Instagram shoppable posts: you’ll be able to tag a product from your catalog and users can tap for more info, like the name of the product, price, and description.

For Instagram Stories, the shoppable stickers can be placed on both images and videos, and there are 4 different types of stickers to choose from: a shopping bag icon, a sticker with the product name in rainbow or grey, and translucent text (similar to the current hashtag and location stickers).

Here’s how to add a shoppable sticker to your next Instagram story:

  •  Open the Instagram Stories camera and take a photo or video or select one from your camera roll

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Stories Product Tag

  • Next, tap the stickers button and select the new “product” stickers.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Stories Product Tag

  • Now you’ll be given the option to select a product from your catalog.
    Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Stories Product Tag
  • Once you’ve picked a product, you can change the color of the sticker by tapping it and move it wherever you’d like on your story.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Stories Product Tag

Just remember that you can’t edit the product name in your story. If you want to rename a product, you’ll need to do it from your product catalog and manually change the name there!

One of the biggest bonuses of Instagram Stories’ shoppable stickers is that you don’t need to have over 10k followers or be verified to use it!

So regardless of your current following or business size, you can add shoppable tags to your posts and make it easier for your audience to shop your products!

Instagram Introduces New Shopping Channel in the Explore Page

Earlier this year, Instagram launched topic channels in the Explore page that allows you to browse content based on your specific interests, like Sport, Fashion, Travel, Music, and more.

And now, Instagram has included a Shopping channel to help you find product-related posts from the brands you follow and brands that Instagram thinks you might like.

This opens up a huge opportunity for online retailers and e-commerce brands to tap into new audiences and show off their products to a really wide and engaged audience of over 200 million people each day!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Explore Page Channel

Instagram has said they’re continuously looking for ways to improve how people shop on the app. And while Instagram product tags and shoppable stickers are huge assets to brands, the new shopping channel on the Explore page could really help bridge the gap between product discovery and purchase!

So it’s more important than ever to create awesome Instagram shoppable posts that appeal to your audience and show off your products. And to help you do just that, we’ve rounded up 8 of the best tips for creating great shopping posts!

8 Tips for Creating Instagram Shopping Posts that Convert into Sales

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Shopping Posts Are in Line with Your Overall Instagram Aesthetic

You’ve probably been working hard at creating an Instagram aesthetic that reflects your brand style and looks curated and cohesive across all your posts. So don’t disrupt that gorgeous flow with a shopping post that stands out against the others!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Aesthetics

Make sure that the images you pick as your shopping posts are in line with your overall Instagram aesthetic. That means applying the same tone, editing style, content, or filter to your shopping posts so they can seamlessly fit in with your feed!

Tip #2: Use Photoshoot Images to Create a Lookbook With Carousel Posts

Did you know that you can tag up to 20 products in a carousel post that has 10 photos?

That’s a huge opportunity to show off your photos from a recent product shoot.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Carousel Example

A carousel post can act as a lookbook for a new collection or special campaign launch. So don’t be afraid to experiment with a carousel post and have all your products tagged in each image.

Tip #3: Double Check All Your Shopping Tags Links Go to the Right Products

This might seem like a simple tip, but there’s nothing more frustrating than a broken link, especially if you were looking to make a speedy purchase.

Instagram shopping tags are all about helping users shop faster and without fuss, so spending time auditing all your links and testing the post once it’s live can make a real difference to your audience’s experience and your business sales!

Tip #4: Space Out Multiple Products Tags in One Image

Remember the space on your phone screen is small, even if you’re viewing an Instagram story.

So if you’re tagging more than one product in a single image post (you can tag up to 5), make sure they’re evenly spaced out so they don’t overlap and obstruct the information on the tag!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Tag Example

If you’re struggling to easily fit in product tags to your post, remember less is more! You can always tag the other items in another post further down the line, or make a carousel post!

Tip #5: Use Descriptive Hashtags So Your Products Are ‘Searchable’ and ‘Followable’

The Instagram algorithm pays attention to your Instagram shopping post too, so you want to make sure you’re optimizing them.

Having descriptive hashtags is one way of making sure your post is ‘searchable’ on the Explore page or appears in the new Shopping channel. Plus, a user can also follow a hashtag, so there’s even more opportunity to have your products discovered by the right people.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: HashTag Example

If you use hashtags effectively on your Instagram shopping posts, you’ll soon start to see an uptick in engagement and conversions as more people discover and follow your posts.

Don’t know where to start when it comes to hashtags? Don’t worry! Our Instagram Hashtag Strategy Guide will help you plan, and implement a hashtag strategy for your brand that will grow your engagement and boost the effectiveness of your Instagram marketing campaigns!

Tip #6: Try Out User-Generated Content For Great Shoppable Posts

If you have some UGC content that your followers shared that feature your products, why not use them as shoppable posts?

User-generated content (or UGC) is a great way to show off your brand while letting customers be the spokespeople for your products!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: UGC Example

Just make sure you’re legally re-posting another user’s content before you share it to your feed. We have a whole blog post on how to legally repost user-generated content on Instagram to help you!

Tip #7: Spread Out Your Shoppable Posts Throughout Your Grid

We understand how exciting it can be to get a new feature on Instagram — and sometimes that excitement can turn into over-use of that feature!

In the case of shoppable posts, it’s better to phase them in, and spread your Instagram shopping posts across your feed and stories.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Tag Example

That way, your followers and audience won’t feel like they’re being hit with a sale pitch, and the shoppable tags can integrate smoothly into your overall feed!

Tip #8: Use Instagram Stories Videos to Show Your Product in Action

Want to demo your product or show it off in real-time?

Instagram Stories videos are a great way to integrate shoppable stickers to your product posts and show off just what your product does or looks like IRL!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Video Example

Particularly good for clothing brands, jewelry, or anything that can be personally styled, it’s a fun and easy way to capture your product from all angles and give your followers a sneak peek of what it might be for them once they purchase!

Track and Measure Your Instagram Shopping Posts with Instagram Analytics

One of the most important steps of an Instagram marketing strategy is measuring the success of your campaigns and posts.

And while success is measured differently for every brand and business, it’s really important to check in with your Instagram analytics and see how well your post performed.

When it comes to Instagram shopping posts, you’ll want to keep a close eye on how your audience reacted to your post. Did they engage more or less? Was the tap forward rate higher than usual with your Instagram Stories post with a shoppable sticker?

Try to find the patterns that metrics that relate to how your audience responded, and if you can pinpoint any kind of shoppable post that did better than others. Perhaps it was video demo in Instagram Stories that worked well for your brand, or your audience resonated more with user-generated images with shoppable tags attached.

If you tap View Insights below the image in your post, you’re able to see all the business insights for that post.

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Instagram Insights Example

Or if you want to access the metrics behind your account’s performance, Instagram Insights allows you to sort top shopping posts, on various metrics:

  • Go to your profile page
  • Tap the bar chart on the top right corner

Best Instagram Analytics Metrics: Instagram Insights

  • Tap See More in the Posts section
  • Tap the header of the next page and filter the posts with tagged products by metric.
    Understanding Instagram Analytics: Content Filter

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the metrics behind your account, don’t worry! We have an Instagram Analytics Strategy Guide that will help you start tracking your account’s performance and make better decisions about your strategy. And it’s completely free!

Later also tracks tons of Instagram metrics for your account, even on the free plan! You can learn more about how your posts are performing and discover which type of content gets the most Instagram engagement!

And if you’re on a pro plan with Later, you can track and measure how many clicks and traffic you’re getting from Instagram using Linkin.bio!

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping: Later Analytics Linkinbio

We’ve covered just about everything you need to know to get started in the world of Instagram shopping.

Just start by taking the first steps to be an approved retailer with Instagram, and then you can begin creating awesome posts with tagged products for easier Instagram shopping for your followers!

And remember to track, measure, and learn from all your shoppable posts so you can always grow and improve your strategy for the future.

Ready to drive traffic and track sales from Instagram? Start using Linkin.bio today for just $19/month! 

Written By

Nikki Canning

Nikki is part of the marketing team at Later and has worked in digital media in London, Dublin, and Sydney. She loves strong coffee, cuddly puppies, and planning her next travel adventure. Follow along on Instagram @nikkitravelled.