Instagram Shopping: what it is and how the tag works

Wondering what Instagram Shopping is and how it works? Using the Instagram shop window, have you come across the message “Instagram Shopping not approved” and want to understand why?

And again… Would you like to link your Facebook catalog to Instagram but don’t know how to do it? And are you wondering whether Instagram Shopping and Facebook business managers can interact with each other and optimize your business?

If you are asking yourself these questions, you are in the right place. But do you want to go deeper and take your online business to new levels? In our comprehensive Social Media Manager course, we delve into the intricacies of social commerce, including mastering Instagram Shopping and its seamless integration with Facebook Shopping.

What is Instagram Shopping

The Instagram Shopping tag is the new function offered by the popular social network to sell physical items (excluding services and digital products) online.

Instagram Shopping, an Instagram Shopping tag or shop window, is the ideal solution for anyone who wants to sell their products directly on this social media platform.

The additional advantages that an online shop on your Instagram company profile gives you for the direct sale of your products are that:

  • In the online shop, you add as many products as you want without limitation;
  • you can ensure a better user experience and increase sales of your business;
  • sponsorship of articles is easy and straightforward;
  • you have better sales conditions;
  • facilitates seller-customer communication;
  • you can obtain statistical data easily (see views, clicks, and purchases for each of your products);
  • can be connected to major e-commerce platforms.

Generally speaking, if your type of sale is occasional in order to dispose of old things such as objects, clothing, or knick-knacks you have at home, you can use marketplace services. On the other hand, if your social presence is oriented towards the promotion of an ongoing business, you should prefer Instagram Shopping.

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Shoppable Post

The shoppable post, which began in 2018, is the type of post that the Shopping function of the Social acquired by Mark Zuckerberg allows to be published.

This type of Instagram post includes a product shopping tag that links the objects in the photo directly to the corresponding e-commerce.

instagram shopping page

How many times will it have happened to you to scroll through photos, catch a glimpse of the most varied objects (clothes, shoes, furniture, gadgets, motors, watches, etc.), and exclaim:

but how nice, I would buy it!

If you happened to want to go shopping on Instagram, you should know that the world’s most widely used social media of photographs makes your life easier by also providing you with its shoppable shop window. In fact, it is the shoppable posts that make this possible.

The service born from the partnership between Instagram and Shopify, the latter one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms in the world, was tested in America for about a year on a sample of selected companies. Following its success, the initiative has now reached nine other countries.

Companies are now increasingly using shoppable posts on Instagram because not only can they strengthen their brand identity by conveying quality images, but they can quickly and directly sell their products to users.

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What is shoppable content

Shoppable content is a strategy that combines visual storytelling with immediate purchase to increase effectiveness and make the user experience faster and more accessible.

“Shoppable content” literally means “purchasable content” and refers to all those media, such as photos and videos, in which it is feasible to select a product and buy it immediately after viewing it.

The need to raise the bar again in content marketing stems from market awareness: today’s companies have to interface with increasingly demanding customers, made so by the continuous advancement of technology and the consequent feasibility of having “now” and “immediately” everything they need.

All social networks are now shop windows, and in this light, every user would like to quickly get what catches his attention between one communication content and another.

The avenues offered by this communication model, guaranteed by Instagram Shopping, are infinite and powerful because they touch the emotional and dreamy chords of latent buyers. We are talking about products that fit perfectly into a story without distorting it, rather giving it value with their presence, and without interrupting it (unlike traditional advertising).

It is no coincidence that Instagram was born as the “social of inspiration”: this already seems like an excellent starting point to make the most of the creation of stories and content, opening the doors to many creative possibilities. Let’s see now how.

Can the Facebook catalog be linked to Instagram?

The answer is Yes! Instagram connects easily with the Facebook catalog. All you have to do is tick the Facebook business page to be joined, during the process of creating the Instagram shopping business profile. Then you can tag items with the Shopping tag.

The partners collaborating with Facebook and enabling the simultaneous configuration of social showcases are:

  • Bigcommerce (Shopify direct competitor);
  • ChannelAdvisor;
  • CommerceHub;
  • Quipt;
  • ShipStation;
  • Zentail.

Shopify also connects. This is an e-commerce platform that allows users, who pay a monthly subscription, to set up their own online shop. By going to this tool and adding an application, it is possible to connect the two services, so that all changes made in the shop are automatically carried over to the Facebook and Instagram shops.

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Instagram Shopping: how to activate it

Now that we have seen what Instagram Shopping is and how Instagram Shop works, I want to explain how to activate it.

In order to activate the Shopping tag on Instagram and sell products, you need to meet certain prerequisites:

  • a business profile linked to the Facebook company page;
  • an account configured from an IP address located in America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, or Brazil;
  • an approved Facebook Shop page (essential for linking with products in the “showcase” section).

If you fulfill all these conditions, you can start uploading shopping posts to Instagram and allow the purchase of your products directly from a photograph uploaded to Instagram. Functionality and convenience: these are the two big advantages of Instagram Shopping.

Creating a corporate Instagram profile

Creating a business profile on a popular social networking service is quick and intuitive. The steps to create it are:

1) Log in to your usual profile;

instagram homepage

2) Select “settings” and consequently “account” and “switch to a professional account“;

navigation menu settings

3) Choose the “company” option and press “next“.

creator or business

4) Indicate a category that describes exactly what your company is about;

select a category

5) Check the contact information;

update contact information

6) Connect to the Facebook Shop page or skip this step.

connect to facebook page

Once you have completed these simple steps, you are done: the social media site redirects you directly to the main home of the business account through which you can design and manage promotions (to promote yourself) and analyze all insights.

You have now successfully set up a business account and it only remains for you to link it to the Facebook shop window to open Instagram Shopping.

Having created your company profile before activating the shopping tag on Instagram and tagging products, you have to provide items. How? There are two possible ways:

  1. Associate Facebook Shops;
  2. Connect a Facebook Business Manager catalog.

Linking Instagram to Facebook showcase

Now that you have your company’s Instagram profile and are its administrator, you need to link it to the product catalog in the Facebook shop window in order to activate the shopping tag on Instagram. Here’s what to do:

1) Log in to a private account;

instagram homepage

2) Enter the settings and then click on “account”;

navigation menu settings

3) Then click on “linked accounts”;

how to linked accounts

Your Facebook shop window is immediately connected. Once you have completed these easy procedures, you have finally connected your Facebook catalog to Instagram and can apply to activate shoppable posts.

Instagram Shopping: connecting to Facebook Business Manager

As an alternative to the shop window, you can link a catalog in Business Manager with the list of products to be sold. This is a file containing information about the goods (ID, name, category, availability, product URL, image URL, and more).

Proceed as follows to add the catalog file in Business Manager:

  • Open Business Manager;
  • Go to “settings”;
  • Go to “People and Resources”;
  • Select “product catalog” then “add catalog”;
  • Generate a product catalog by assigning a name and indicating the type of articles and clicking on “create catalog”;
  • Add people to your product catalog (assigning them catalog management roles) or click on Skip;
  • Save changes.

Then from “catalog management” you select the catalog. From the “channels” tab you go to “shopping on Instagram” and then to “link profile” and “add new profile”.

business manager catalog

Your account has finally been connected to the catalog in Business Manager. Having connected Instagram to Facebook Business Manager you are now ready to activate shoppable posts and are ready to take advantage of all the benefits of Instagram Shopping.

Activating the shopping tag on Instagram

After you have completed all the previous steps, you have to submit your Instagram Shopping activation request. No, don’t huff and puff! There are more short and simple steps to follow to create your Instagram Shopping and get your online business off the ground.

Here’s what you need to do for your Shopping on Instagram:

1. Log in to Instagram and then go to “settings“;

instagram homepage2. Select “company“;

settings setup

3. Click on “subscribe to shopping”.

subscribe to shopping

At this point, your request has been submitted and analyzed. If the request is deemed suitable, in a couple of days the Shopping tag on Instagram is enabled and you receive an alert notification on your account.

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How the shopping tag works on Instagram

Now you have your own Instagram shopping! How to use the Shopping tag on Instagram? Once you have gone through the set-up procedures, making shoppable posts is intuitive and will allow you to sell your products on Instagram.

Tag shopping Instagram: making shoppable posts

The process of creating a shoppable post on Instagram and using the Instagram Shopping function is very simple. Follow along to find out what you need to do!

How to make the post

The shoppable post is created like any other post, but with a few more steps:

  1. Upload your image to Instagram: upload the photo, containing the product(s), just as you would any other image;
  2. tag products: once the photo has been added, select the option “tag products”;
  3. create the link with products on Facebook: once the item to be tagged has been selected, the list of Facebook products will appear; select the product to be linked and enable the tag. Thus, each product will have all the necessary info and the relevant price inside the picture;
  4. publish the post.

tag products shopping tag products

Use by the user

After publishing the post, the user recognizes the “shoppable” nature of the photo by the presence of the shopping bag icon in the image, bottom left.

A tap on this icon is then enough to make rectangular pop-ups appear within the photo, one for each tagged product, with the product name, characteristics, and of course the price. The user can now select the product he is interested in and view it in detail.

Finally, if the user wants to buy the product, he has to click on “Shop Now” and is immediately catapulted to your e-commerce page. Last step: the user proceeds with the payment.

In no time at all, the user recognizes and appreciates the speed of your service offered via Instagram Shopping, and in this way the likelihood that they will return to purchase increases. In fact, Instagram Shopping online allows you not only to acquire new customers while they are scrolling through their Instagram home page but above all to retain current ones.

buy more items

Is tag shopping not approved?

Things don’t always go our way and in fact, it can happen that the Shopping tag is not approved by Instagram.

If something is not working properly, you should see the words “Instagram Shopping not approved” or “your account has not been approved for shopping on Instagram” in the settings. To solve the problem, please check that you have followed the following steps properly:

  1. Comply with the Terms of Sale and Regulations (remember that you can sell physical items, excluding services and digital products);
  2. Is your business located in permitted markets? Remember that you must have the account configured from an IP address located in permitted countries;
  3. Is the shop window or the business manager catalog connected correctly? Try checking this by going to “settings”, then to “accounts”, and finally to “connected” accounts.

If you have complied with all the conditions imposed by Instagram Shopping, but the problem persists, I advise you to go to “settings”, click on “support” and then on “report a problem” or select “help center” and go directly to the Instagram help center. This way, Instagram will be able to provide you with the assistance you need to solve your problem.

Instagram Shopping: Advantages and Limitations

Shoppable Instagram Shopping posts offer great potential, especially for small and medium-sized companies that can really turbocharge their business and increase and consolidate their brand awareness.

Benefits of Shopping on Instagram

Let’s see together what advantages Instagram Shopping online can offer your business. Are you ready? Let’s go!

  • The use of a preferred shopping channel: 80% of mobile internet surfers use their smartphones to make purchasing decisions or engage with relevant brands. 34% also use it to finalize the transaction;
  • The identification of latent buyers: usually those who access e-commerce do so because they are looking for something because they have informed themselves beforehand and know exactly what they need. By using a post in which you first tell a story, you can also intercept those users who had no intention of buying the product shown. In other words, Instagram Shopping allows you to anticipate the user’s needs by building real imagery behind each product;
  • Creating a complete and direct experience: even the lazy user has no more excuses with Instagram Shopping. After seeing the product on Instagram, the user no longer has to type its name into the browser and then visit the relevant e-commerce site. In fact, Instagram Shopping virtually accompanies the customer for the entire duration of his or her experience and thus makes him or she desist from having second thoughts;
  • Fulfilling a growing and widespread trend: Instagram Shopping fits spontaneously and naturally into the user’s usual, everyday actions. A simple browse can turn into a shopping opportunity, even anticipating the customer’s own needs. The shoppable post did nothing more than realize a trend that is now rampant among users: using social media every day as shop windows or fashion magazines to browse through;
  • Inspiration: if you are really very good and creative in the realization of your content, the product itself takes second place to what the product represents and tells and this makes it much more interesting and attractive in the eyes of the user.

One risk you absolutely must not take is to use your Instagram profile as a surrogate for the official e-commerce platform! Having only Instagram Shopping is disadvantageous: this tool is instead an extraordinary support for your e-commerce site (a site in which you must continue to invest).

Limitations of the Shopping tag on Instagram

Less likely to generate sales: focusing on Instagram Shopping limits your digital sales strategy. Through social media, you can only capture latent demand!

People tend to use them for recreation and entertainment and not as a means to acquire material, digital goods, or services. Instead, by building your sales platform, you can, through Google, meet the conscious demand of people who really want to buy, and make a targeted, purchase-oriented search;

Far inferior user experience: the functionalities of e-commerce are far superior to those of social media and in this case Instagram, and you can improve the user experience at each stage of the digital customer journey:

  • In the awareness phase, you can intercept conscious demand by increasing conversion opportunities;
  • potential customers arrive at your online shop instantly without going through third parties (social or other intermediaries);
  • you could offer the possibility of registering in the reserved area to build loyalty to your shop by increasing your brand;
  • the user, by selecting a product, and reading reviews can become more convinced and make the purchase;
  • In addition, it can put the product in the shopping cart and continue to the checkout page in an optimal and customizable manner (One example is the command invented by Amazon: buy now with one click).

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