Instagram is changing the shopping game. Instagram is the one platform that keeps on trying to reinvent itself like Madonna does every few years. Are you ready for what comes next?

This is a guest post by Brian Roizen who is the Co-founder and Chief Architect of Feedonomics, a full-service feed optimization platform that optimizes product data for hundreds of channels. Feedonomics is our shopping feed platform of choice. We also have a webinar coming up with Brian June 10th, 2019: Maxing Your Online Visibility During Black Friday … now onto the article.

Ask any Millennial or Gen Zer where they turn to for visual inspiration, and more than likely, Instagram will be the answer. Studies have shown that 71% of Instagram users around the globe are under the age of 35 and of those users, the split is 50-50 between men and women. Instagram users, particularly those who follow fashion, health & beauty, and food, tend to have high engagement with brands in those industries.

While Instagram started out as a photo-sharing app, it has morphed over time into a platform for companies to build brand awareness. This is achieved by showcasing products using eye-catching photography and creating viral moments with Instagram Stories.

Recent developments by Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, have made it easier for users to shop on the platform. If you are a retailer or brand that wants to understand how this hot, new marketplace works – read on as we break it down for you!

Instagram Business

Retailers need to meet certain criteria before selling on Instagram.

  • Does your business sell physical goods?
  • Is your business located in a country set-up for this marketplace?

If “yes” to the above questions, then you will need to create an Instagram business profile. Secondly, your Instagram product catalog needs to be associated with a shop on Facebook. Once this has been reviewed and approved, then you can start posting shoppable content on Instagram.

What are Shoppable Tags?

Shoppable tags are an interactive tool to show users the item description and cost for each product. After you tap on the shopping bag icon in the lower left corner, shoppers are led to the company’s website to complete the purchase.

Checkout on Instagram

Instagram recently developed Checkout, a program that is currently in beta testing phase. When you tap on a product photo from a brand that has opted into this program, you will see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page.

The original shopping process takes you to the brand’s website to finish the payment process. With Checkout, once you place your order, you’ll get to choose your method of shipping, and then pay with your credit card that is stored on the Instagram app. This new shopping process is friction-free, allowing users to view, shop, and checkout with fewer clicks. All of this happens within the Instagram app!

Instagram is charging a “selling fee” to merchants each time a sale is made on their platform. There are currently over 20 brands participating in Checkout. Those brands include H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Nike, NYX Cosmetics, Prada, Uniqlo, and Zara. It is only a matter of time before additional retailers will be invited to participate, though.

Shop the Looks from Influencers

Instagram’s latest platform development allows you to shop the products that social media influencers and celebrities tag in their Instagram posts. Influencers like Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, and several others who opted into the beta test can now tag up to five items from one brand in either an image or video post, as well as in stories.

As Instagram continues to develop new shopping features, we see this marketplace evolving into a massive new business opportunity for retailers and brands. If you are looking to showcase your product catalog on Instagram, having a feed management platform will make it easier to manage hundreds or even thousands of products across multiple marketplaces. It will be increasingly important to be able to automate order management by pulling orders from Instagram, placing it into your eCommerce store, and sending the tracking number back to Instagram.