Attention, UK Businesses: Instagram Shopping is Here!

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Instagram Shopping has finally hit the UK! Learn how it can bring your products to more of your customers (and your business to new heights).

With about 500 million subscribers logging in each day, Instagram truly is one of the biggest and most popular social media platforms in the world. Unsurprisingly, this has not escaped the radar of business owners and marketers all over the world, especially in the UK.

About 53% of small businesses in the UK view Instagram as a tool to grow their business — in fact, one in three small business owners in the UK say they built their business using it!

The business potential of Instagram is indeed hard to ignore. And now, a highly useful feature for selling on Instagram — one that, a year ago, was only available to our friends in the US — is in the hands of UK business owners: Instagram Shopping!

If I sound really excited about this, it’s because I am. (Seriously.)

I was one of the lucky few who got invited to a special preview of Instagram’s Shopping feature at the Facebook London offices. (I even made a video — check it out, right here!) In this blog post, I’m going to share everything I learned (so that you can be just as thrilled about it as I am).

Simultaneously launched in the UK, Australia, France, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Italy, and Spain, Instagram Shopping is set to change the way businesses engage with their customers on the highly visual and aesthetic social media platform, just like it did in the US.

You know how you can tag people on your Instagram posts? Now, thanks to the new Shopping feature, you can tag up to five of your products on a single photo (the limit goes up to 20 on multi-image posts), making it easier for your potential shoppers to see all the info they need to know about your products AND buy them, too.

Let that sink in for a bit: The entire shopping experience made seamless, with just a few taps on their smartphone screen.

Now, when your followers see one or more of your products that they feel like buying, they won’t have to search all over your site to find their target/s anymore. All they have to do is click the tag, look at the product details on your product’s page on your site, and proceed with buying it directly from you, in one hassle-free process.

The modern-day shopper is more meticulous and careful about making purchasing decisions. Your customers want to know everything they can before they commit to buy — and when they do decide to buy, they don’t want to go through a ton of hoops just to do so. This makes Instagram Shopping the perfect tool for small business owners who’d like to see their carefully crafted posts and updates bring in more sales.

You’re probably wondering, though: “How can I get in on this Instagram Shopping action? Where do I sign up?” Fortunately, it’s a pretty simple and straightforward process.

How to use Instagram Shopping

As a business based in the UK, all you need to do is to have an Instagram business profile. You need to be selling physical goods, too, and you have to have a product catalogue up on Facebook (or an integration partner) to be able to use the Shopping feature.

Now, for the simple, 10-step process in creating Shoppable organic posts on Instagram:

  • Step #1
    Make sure that you have the latest version of the Instagram app installed on your device.
  • Step #2
    Sync your product catalogue with Facebook Shop. You don’t have to input your products manually, as Instagram pulls the Facebook product feed through.
  • Step #3
    Select ‘Options’ on your Instagram business profile, scroll down and select ‘Products’.
  • Step #4
    Authenticate your Instagram business account through your Facebook business account.
  • Step #5
    Choose which of your product catalogues to sync with Instagram.
  • Step #6
    Once set up, upload a photo as you normally would. On the Caption page, you will find options for tagging both people and products.
  • Step #7
    Select ‘Tag Products’. In the search bar, type the name of the product.
  • Step #8
    Move the product tag to the appropriate spot on your photo.
  • Step #9
    Instagram will pull in all the product catalogue information from your Facebook account, including a link back to your website from the photo. Up to five product tags can be added per single photo, or twenty tags per multi-photo upload.
  • Step #10
    Click ‘Share’ — now, your shoppable Instagram post is live! Congratulations!

What Instagram Shopping can and can’t do

As of today, the Instagram Shopping feature can only be used by UK businesses that sell actual merchandise or products — tangibles such as jewellery, food, makeup and accessories, clothes, shoes, and other goods. Businesses that offer services, such as hotels, cannot use the functionality in their posts.

With Instagram Shopping, you can take advantage of various insights such as how many people actually tapped on the tag/s, how many viewed product details, and how many clicked on the ‘Shop Now’ button on each post.

However, since Instagram Shopping takes your followers directly to your site where they can purchase your goods, the feature cannot provide insight on how many people actually purchased something on your website.

Tips on making the most out of Instagram Shopping

Now that you know what you can expect from Instagram Shopping, here are some best practices that will help you net excellent results:

  • Tip #1
    Create at least nine Shopping posts on an Instagram business profile. This will activate the Shop tab for your audiences.
  • Tip #2
    Don’t shy away from trying different Shopping formats. You can use the carousel for your multiple product shots, or you can focus on tagging single images to draw attention to specific products. It’s up to you to find out what works best for your business.
  • Tip #3
    Tag multiple products on your posts. This will help your followers explore and browse your posts to see what you offer.
  • Tip #4
    Make sure you tag the right product! There’s nothing more irritating for an Instagram shopper than to tap a product hoping to get information about it, and then be led to an entirely different item listing instead.
  • Tip #5
    Use the Stories feature to show your audience that they can now shop your posts. No kidding — around 250 million people use Stories each day, and a third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses. The Stories functionality is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase your business’s visibility, so go for it!

Are you excited to try the Instagram Shopping feature? I’m sure many other business out there are, too! Leave a comment below if you have any questions about how to successfully integrate the feature into your strategy, or if you want to share your experiences in using it.