What is that Instagram Shopping Bag All About?

Historically, “shopping” via Instagram was often a time consuming and, sometimes, frustrating experience. Brands could use the platform to show the picture of a product but then the consumer would have to click a link to the external website and search through all of the company’s offerings in order to find the product that had been presented in their Instagram feed.

Instagram has inserted themselves into the customer journey, becoming the intermediary between brands and consumers. The platform has a new feature that now allows for direct contact between brands and consumers, helping businesses market their products in a more authentic way.

In-app purchases are now possible via shopping tag links displayed on posts within Instagram Stories. As far back as 2016, shoppable Instagram posts were piloted by a select group of brands. As of June 2018, retailers meeting established requirements can utilize the shopping tags to directly link products in Instagram Stories to a purchasing opportunity.

Businesses are still not allowed to include clickable links in captions but brands can now add shoppable tags within Instagram posts and can tag up to five products per post. The shopping bag icon is shown in thumbnail pics. Hovering over it shows consumers basic details such as pricing, clicking on the shopping bag icon shows full product details and descriptions. From there, a “Shop Now” link seamlessly takes the consumer to a brand’s product page to allow the item to be purchased. Instagram is not charging for use of shoppable tags, for now, and will, instead, realize revenue as brands advertise their shoppable posts in order to insert those posts into the feeds of non-followers.

Consumers no longer have to leave the Instagram app in order to purchase featured products as traffic flows directly from the Instagram platform to businesses’ e-commerce sites. The user experience is smooth, even when moving between parts of the process. It goes without saying that this new feature makes it even more important that a brand’s Instagram account matches the look and feel of the company’s website and product landing pages. Nothing will stop a sale more quickly than a confused customer who thinks he has been redirected to the wrong site.

There are a number of criteria required in order to use shoppable posts.

Businesses must:

Have the newest version of Instagram as well as an Instagram business profile.

Have a BigCommerce or Shopify account.

Random piece of information - BigCommerce was the first e-commerce platform to integrate with Instagram’s new feature.

The Shopify account needs to be a basic plan or higher. Click here for more information regarding requirements.

Have an active Facebook shop. The new Instagram feature syncs with a brand’s Facebook product catalog in the Facebook shop. It will only connect to one catalog if a business has multiple catalogs.

Sell physical products that comply with Instagram’s commerce policies and merchant agreement as outlined below:

          1. Services on Instagram Shopping

          Policy: Instagram Shopping posts may not promote services


          Home services, such as construction, painting, plumbing or lawn care

          Travel services, including airline services, hotel accommodations, events and car rentals

          Personal care services, such as hair styling or spa services

          Financial services, including accounting, insurance, banking, and loans

          Veterinary or animal-related services

          Medical, cosmetic or personal wellness treatment services

          2. Additional Restrictions on Instagram Shopping

          Policy: Merchants may not sell the following categories on Instagram Shopping:


          Medical supplies

          Automobiles and fuels

          Dangerous machinery

While available in a number of countries, U.S. based businesses need to use English language settings and accept only U.S. currency. Brands should also understand that there is an approval process during which Instagram ensures that there are no violations to their policies. Each tagged product is approved separately but the process should not take an overwhelming amount of time so long as businesses adhere to the Instagram policies.

Instagram also communicates that businesses should create at least nine shoppable posts on their business account in order to activate the Shop tab for consumers. Click here for more tips directly from Instagram.

In addition, the Instagram shopping tag feature includes analytics regarding impressions and click-through-rates so brands will have access to data such as which posts have the most product clicks and which tags are most popular. The direct path from Instagram to a business’ e-commerce page will provide much stronger information regarding the performance of that platform as a marketing tool.

It is predicted that Stories will soon overtake news feeds in popularity for social media sharing. With 400 million people using Instagram Stories every day, shoppable posts will certainly be a game-changer for businesses involved in e-commerce, regardless of the size of the brand. Instagram acknowledges that the shoppable tags are not a finished product. The feature will be tweaked as Instagram responds to feedback from consumers and retailers.

Contact Strategy Driven Marketing to learn more about how you can give your customers a new way to shop your brand and for all of your e-commerce and marketing needs.