The evolution of Instagram was quite impressive. When it started off as a simple photo-sharing platform, it never expected such a strong adoption among brands. Today, it has become possibly the largest catalog of products and services in the world.
With over a billion monthly active users as of 2019, Instagram is primed to become a massive shopping platform.
Just last week, Instagram released an initial white paper explaining the details of their upcoming digital currency, Libra. When active, Libra plans to be the default medium for all transactions within Facebook’s family of apps.
Instagram also recently introduced the Shopping feature where products can be tagged on Posts and Stories. Once tapped, it will pull up a separate shopping screen with additional details.
Eventually the Shopping feature will include a Buy Now button, but at the moment they work with the brand’s external eCommerce website.
This function is currently available in Malaysia through Managed Partners. Managed Partners are marketing companies or apps that have the ability to implement Shopping onto your platforms.
But eventually Instagram will allow every brand the ability to manage their own Shops, so it wouldn’t hurt to have the knowledge right now. Here is how you can do it:
Start by making sure your brand and products are eligible for Instagram Shop. There are many limitations to selling on Instagram, including location, type of goods and account setup.
Here is a checklist you can go through:
Instagram has a table of countries either fully eligible or through Managed Partners in all regions around the world. If your country falls under Managed Partners, you will have to go to Instagram’s blog to find a list of partners like StitcherAds and Ad samurai.
2. Your business is required to sell physical goods.
It is Instagram’s requirement that all products sold in the Shop be physical. This excludes downloadable books, music or movies. It also does not allow services. Perhaps, we hope, this will change in the near future.
3. Commerce Policies
Selling products across borders is a tricky business, as not all countries (or sometimes even states) allow the sales of some products.
For example, firearms are not even legal in all states in the USA. And medical marijuana is still illegal in most parts of the world. Ensure that your products are legal in the geographic locations you plan to sell to.
4. Business Profile Required
In order to qualify for Instagram Shop, your Instagram account has to be converted to a Business Profile. If your account isn’t one yet, you can change it in the Settings of your Instagram account.
Instagram Business Profile also enables more information about your visitors with Insights, the ability to advertise, and a Contact Us button in its profile.
5. Connected to Facebook Page
Although not required, it is encouraged to connect your Instagram to Facebook Page. Having this connection will take advantage of the seamless connection Facebook is currently building between all its apps.
This will eventually make it easy for you to cross-post shoppable content on Facebook Stories, Messenger and WhatsApp.
Connect to Catalog Manager
Once you’ve set up and verified all of the above, it’s time to connect to your Catalog Manager. Using the same browser that is connected to your Facebook Page, go to facebook.com/products.
Here you can see and manage the products you previously created on Facebook Shop, and create a new one directly from the catalog. Only products created or added into the Catalog Manager will appear in the list during tagging.
Sign up in the App
Once you have completed the two steps above, it is time for the final mile. Head into your brand’s Instagram app. Go to your Profile Settings, tap Business and tap Shopping on Instagram. Follow the steps, and submit your account for review.
This process can take days. Once done, you will receive a notification from Instagram.
Now it’s time to start creating content. Your posts and Stories will now come with tags and stickers that can connect with your products. This only works with products that are already in your Catalog.
Start by creating posts or Stories with your choice of products. In the Tag section of Posts, you can then choose all the pre-populated products. For Stories, there will be a special Sticker that lets you choose your product.
You can add up to 5 products per image or video Post, and up to 20 products per carousel. Each Story can only feature one product Sticker.
The Future of Shopping
Right now, products are discovered in one platform and bought in another. When Instagram is done completing its entire ecosystem, a product can travel the Sales Funnel without ever leaving the app.
For this reason alone, brands that are not considering Instagram
as their social media channel should do so now. It pays to be one of the first
into the game before it crowds out.
 “Instagram Users Stats and Facts [2019 Update with Infographic].” https://www.soravjain.com/instagram-users-stats-facts-2019-infographic. Accessed 15 Jul. 2019.
 “Everything you need to know about Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency ….” 3 Jul. 2019, https://www.cnet.com/news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-facebooks-libra-cryptocurrency/. Accessed 15 Jul. 2019.
 “What markets have access to Shopping on Instagram … – Facebook.” https://en-gb.facebook.com/help/instagram/321000045119159?helpref=uf_permalink. Accessed 15 Jul. 2019.