Last updated on January 11, 2024

Image Credit: Roy Rachamim
Ruthie Berber
Senior Manager, Community
December 5th, 2016 | 6 minutes read

Why do you need an Instagram shop? The ability to sell on Instagram has become increasingly crucial in the modern marketing world.

Table Of Contents

Your brand has followers on Instagram that might not yet be buyers, but they should be.

If you have an Instagram shop, it makes you that much more accessible to the social media-driven consumers of today.

Let’s start with the facts:

  • 500 million users are on Instagram (and counting), a third of which, according to Yotpo Instagram data, have purchased items they first saw on the platform.
  • Instagram has the highest engagement rate by far compared to any other channel, with users staying an average of 192 seconds per visit.

How to Start an Instagram Shop

With the platform’s extremely high engagement rate and potential audience volume, it’s time to maximize your presence on Instagram and start seeing ROI for all your social media marketing efforts.

While on Instagram itself you can’t convert your account to a storefront, there are simple ways below to make your feed shopper-friendly and direct your followers to purchase.

We’ve curated Instagram marketing tips for transforming your Instagram followers into loyal shoppers.

Follow these simple steps and start leveraging Instagram’s benefits to sell online.

1. Curate Quality Images to Create an Instagram Shop

If your images are compelling, aesthetically pleasing and not too heavily edited, they will more likely resonate with your followers and encourage them to shop your Instagram.

Essentially, you’re using Instagram to entice viewers and compel their buying impulse, transforming them into shoppers.

Tell a visual story that your customers can relate to

Instagram is almost entirely a visual platform, so put an emphasis on the storytelling qualities of the photos you select to upload.

Let customers have a peak into the lifestyle around your brand, behind the product you’re selling.

Successful Instagram photos feature multiple products in use, so share a piece of your brand’s lifestyle and paint a personable picture of who your customers are.

Instagram users want to feel like they are being told a story, not sold a product. Follow this principle and you’ll have an unsuspecting Instagram shop.

2. Caption it Right

The wording in your caption needs to invoke the customer’s buying impulse, inspiring them to click through.

Make sure you post a useful, yet creative, description with each item, which can include basic information about the product, but should also appeal to the buyer’s imagination.

Use strong calls to action to inspire your followers to shop

Below, Food52 does a great job describing the cosy and warm feeling around the product in their photo, which inspires the viewer to want to recreate this moment from Instagram and shop online.

But they’ve also added a call to action that is both inclusive – inviting users to be part of their community with a common hashtag, and interactive – providing them with a chance to be featured by curating a photo of their own.

Example of Instagram product photo

Maximize your caption to increase customer engagement, by asking questions that customers can answer in the comments. You can also invite them to share a photo themselves or use your brand hashtag to be discovered.

Don’t be afraid to use hashtags so potential shoppers can follow your brand

According to myriad research: the more hashtags, the merrier, so channel hype around your brand by using a consistent hashtag for users to follow and tag.

Increase your visibility by tagging general words of interest associated with your product to bring viewers to your feed that are not necessarily following your brand.

Spread the Word: Users can buy what they see

Make sure your followers on Instagram know they can buy everything they see in your photos by clicking that coveted “link in bio”.

Shoppable Instagram banner

3. Make your Instagram Shoppable

While Instagram is ideal for increasing brand awareness and social engagement, the problem is that it’s difficult to navigate from an Instagram of photo of a product to the corresponding product page.

Right now, when an Instagram follower likes a cool photo of your product on your feed, the path to purchase is complicated: they’ll have to go to your store’s homepage and navigate through category pages and search without knowing the product information to find what they saw.

Direct interested followers straight to where they can purchase

Making your Instagram shoppable means offering your customers a mobile-first option to buy your products directly from where they are browsing your photos.

A Shoppable gallery showcases the Instagram photo alongside likes, tagged products, customer star ratings, promoted products and the number of purchases in last 30 days (if over 10).

Shoppable Instagram example featuring products

By adding one link in your profile bio, your customers will be seamlessly directed to an enhanced version of your Instagram feed, where they can purchase products directly from the photos they are browsing.

If you’re using Yotpo’s Shoppable solution, just paste the link to your Instagram shop into your bio. Yotpo will generate the shoppable feed for you, pulling all your product information including star ratings, as well as orders for every tagged product seen in the Instagram photo.

The Shoppable gallery initiates a buying process that influences consumer behavior and facilitates buying what they liked on the spot.

You need to convert Instagram users into customers when they browse your brand on the platform.

set up Instagram shop         Product tagged for Instagram shop

4. Showcase your Loyal Brand Fans

There is nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth marketing, so if you have fans who are outwardly fond of your brand, give them the space to do so.

Your customers are posting photos anyway, so show them that you value their loyalty to your brand and re-post their pictures on your own feed.

Besides, Yotpo data shows that 77% of customers want to see photos and videos specifically from past customers, especially compared to brand photos.

User-generated content inspires recurring purchases

If you want start an Instagram shop, you should be encouraging users to take and share real photos of the products you offer, and show off these photos wherever you can.

You should be utilizing the power of user-generated content across multiple platforms, but especially on your Instagram.

Shoppers time and time again claim that the use of customer photos helps them make purchasing decisions.

So display customer photos of your products proudly, especially since it builds confidence in your company for a new visitor as a form of instant visual social proof that others use and like your products.

User generated photos inspire sales on Instagram
This photo on MVMT’s Instagram belongs to a customer, taken on his holiday, and it blends right into a customer’s Instagram feed.

Besides sharing your favorite customer pictures from Instagram to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, you can also integrate those Instagram photos onto your website for a steady stream of fresh content, in the form of a shoppable user-generated gallery.

Instagram shop gallery

Hamboards mixes in Instagram photos from their happy customers on their site, fueling both new buyer confidence and a sense of customer community, while promoting their branded hashtag campaigns.

There you have it, how to start an Instagram shop in just a few simple steps.

Regardless of size, eCommerce merchants should start taking advantage of Instagram’s benefits to sell more online. Now your followers can shop Instagram, right from mobile devices without any hassle.

Instagram Shop Main Takeaways