How to Use Instagram Shop Options for Your Small Business or Direct Marketing

With businesses around the world endeavouring to build and strengthen their online presence and marketing strategies, the new ‘Shop’ option rolled out on Instagram is highly beneficial and convenient for small and large businesses alike. It is a much-needed option for businesses that are struggling in the face of the pandemic.

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WHAT IS AN INSTAGRAM SHOP?

An Instagram Shop is a digital storefront which can be customized according to the preference of the brand, enabling customers to shop directly from the brand’s Instagram profile. The brand can choose which products to feature, the descriptions, the font, images and colours to be displayed. It is free and fairly simple to set up but the benefits that can be reaped are several. Brands can choose to showcase[MOU1] and sell any kinds of products as long as they comply with Instagram’s commerce policies.

This enables consumers to browse and get more information about the products in the app directly and can choose to buy the product either from Instagram itself or can complete the purchase on the website of the brand. It is noticeable that a majority of consumers buy products that are recommended by influencers. Instagram thus becomes a way to find new products.

Earlier, for companies to advertise or market a product on Instagram, it required the brand to use either bio links or the ‘swipe-up’ option on stories. The bringing in of this new option of Instagram shopping has simplified the entire process of marketing on Instagram. Instagram users are predominantly very active on the app and hence, this option becomes very useful.

The Shop features have enabled businesses to connect with the consumers widely and maintain good engagement. While it is also important for small businesses to invest time and money into other facets of marketing, the Instagram Shop option allows for large-scale recognition of the brand.

For the purchasers as well, the online shopping experience has been enhanced as these features have empowered purchasers to discover and purchase products with merely a few clicks. The major hindrances that consumers face in online shopping are thus eliminated.

HOW TO SET UP AN INSTAGRAM SHOP

1. First and foremost, your business should be eligible as per the standards laid down by Instagram to be able to set up Instagram shopping. An exhaustive list is provided by Instagram for the same.

2. Your brand’s account must be converted to a business account and relevant information pertaining to the business such as contact information, working hours, etc. must be entered.

3. The Facebook page of your brand should be linked to your Instagram account.

4. The next step is to upload a catalogue of your products.

5. Your account can then be submitted for review, which usually takes a few days. You will be notified if further information is required to be furnished.

6. On approval, the Shopping option can be turned on.

HOW TO USE THE FEATURES ON INSTAGRAM SHOPS

1. The important information with respect to the product such as the description and price are displayed on the ‘Product Detail Pages’. This page is also the landing page for any product-tagged images.

2. The ‘Collections’ feature allows for the business to categorize their products thereby making it more organized and curated.

3. The ‘Shopping Tag’ feature can be used to tag products that the business is selling on Instagram Posts or Stories by which customers can click and view the products featured in the Post or Story. Up to 5 products can be tagged in a single image. The feature also allows the seller to tag products in existing posts in addition to new posts. Tagging products is a simple task as it works the same way as tagging people on posts. It is a quick way for customers to get the basic details about the product such as its name and price.

4. The app also allows customers to browse through brands that they do not follow through the ‘Shop Discovery Tab’. This gives a greater reach to businesses and is also beneficial for customers to discover what they seek. Customers can filter the products to find exactly what they are looking for.

· WAYS TO OPTIMIZE SALES THROUGH INSTAGRAM SHOPS

1. It is rightly said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Since Instagram is primarily based on visuals, ensuring that the posts where the products are tagged are aesthetically pleasing would make it more likely that consumers would click to know more about the product and purchase it from your Instagram Store. Images or videos that are creative and stand out will draw more attention to the products.

2. Using hashtags is another way to increase the likelihood of the visibility of your page and products. Relevant and commonly used hashtags will draw potential buyers to your page even if they do not follow your page. It is also helpful when consumers are looking for something specific and make use of hashtags to discover businesses for the same.

3. Creative captions can further draw the attention of users and increase the engagement that your Instagram Shop receives.

4. User-generated content that features products from your Instagram Store can be featured on your page or stories as such posts boosts the credibility of your brand and products. It builds the trust of the consumers which is often a deciding factor for most consumers while shopping online in particular.

5. Collaborating with influencers will make your products wider-known and posts on their pages with your products tagged is a sure way to increase your sales.

Several brands have seen an exponential rise in traffic and revenue on their Instagram Stores as a result of these new features. The Insights option on Instagram can also give the business owner an idea as to what can be improved and modified and to understand the audience. Using these features can therefore, help businesses to grow exponentially and receive a dedicated following.

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