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How to Create a Shoppable Feed on Your Instagram

April 5, 2018

Shopping on Instagram directly from your feed is now available in the UK after finally being rolled out across selected accounts. Already running in a similar fashion in the US for retail businesses such as Kate Spade, J Crew and Warby Parker, it was predicted unlikely to hit British soil until towards the end of this year (2018). It has in fact launched towards the end of last month, and in the words of Instagram will provide the following benefit:

“Give your customers a new way to shop. Shopping on Instagram turns your business into a visual shopfront for our community of 800 million to explore your best products with a single tap.”

Instagram launched the new UK feature in a fun Instagram Story…

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British retail giant Marks and Spencer were one of the first three companies taking part in the UK test phase roll-out and excited to start using the new function,

“Instagram has always been a great platform through which to showcase our products and engage with customers. Shoppable posts take this to a whole new level. They are simple to create, easy for our customers to use and enhance the Instagram experience,” stated Erin Roy, head of M&S digital marketing.

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So what can your business do to prepare for Instagram Shopping?

So you now have an overview of the new programme, but what can you do to prepare for this new function and maximise your current accounts for shopping?

Our preferred method would be to convert your Instagram account to a Business Account and then set up a Shopify Account. Although the Shopify services are all paid for, you can choose the option to best suit your budget and even the Basic account will allow you to use the Instagram Shopping feature once it comes in. You will then need to connect Shopify to your Facebook account, specifically the Page Product Catalogue. Make sure these are linked to Shopify correctly. Also, make sure that you have physical products listed in your Facebook catalogue, as Instagram will use the products from there. All of your products will need to be listed and labelled with name, price and a link to the product on your website. In addition you will need to choose from the listed categories and update accordingly.

Now you’re getting started! Your business will need to be approved for shopping on Instagram which can take a few days (at least) to be authorised, so make sure that both your business and account are following this specific set of Instagram requirements:

  1. Make sure you have the newest version of Instagram.
  2. Sell physical goods that comply with the merchant agreement and commerce policies.
  3. Be currently located in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain or Brazil.
  4. Your Instagram account must be converted into a business account.
  5. Your business profile will need to be connected to a Facebook catalogue and can be managed through either Business Manager, Shopify, BigCommerce platforms or you can do this directly on your Facebook Page.

Once all of the background work has been done, you just need to wait for your Shopping account to be authorised. As soon as you can see Shopping under your Business Profile you’re good to go and can start ‘Tagging’ your products.

  1. Go to your profile page
  2. Tap the ‘Get Started’ alert in your profile (alternatively, tap ‘Options’ or the gear wheel)
  3. Tap ‘Products’ and then ‘Continue’
  4. Select a product catalogue to connect to your business profile and then you’re done.

You’ll be able to tag up to 5 products per single-image post or up to as many as 20 products for multi-image posts. The process is this simple:

  1. Select your photo, add a caption / effects / filters etc and tap ‘Tag Products’ on the Share screen
  2. Tap the products you wish to tag in the photo
  3. Then, enter the names of the products you want to tag and select them as they appear in the search box
  4. Tap ‘Done’ and ‘Share’.


What can you expect from the Shopping on Instagram Programme?

“Instagram is already a significant driver of Shopify’s merchant store traffic, so being able to convert said traffic right on the platform instead of brand-tipping, could result in a big boost of additional sales.” – Shopify via TechCrunch

Once the function is up and running on your account, you will spot a shopping bag icon (the ‘tap to view products’ pop-up is in the bottom left corner in a post; or on the top right of a post on the grid / feed page). Tap the image to view the product details (e.g. name, price of product etc). Then, tap the product details tag and you will go through to another page where you can see more information and a large picture of the product. You can then tap the ‘Shop Now’ button and you will be taken directly through to the product on the brand website to be able to directly add the product to your bag and checkout.

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The major benefit to this new shopping experience is how seamless a transaction it is, and with very few steps along the customer journey, there’s less chance of an abandoned cart.

Safe in the knowledge your transaction is taking place on the company’s website, this part of the shopping experience is carried out outside of Instagram, they are simply the tool in which to direct you to the product.


What else can I do with my Instagram account to generate sales?

Add a link in your bio – use a multi-link app such as Linktree. You are able to set up a page for your business using this method that bypasses Instagram’s limiting one link feature. So any Instagram posts can point in the direction of the link for further reading and information. Also, if you use product codes, include those in your post description to make the shopping process as simple as possible for your customer.

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Boosted posts – it’s likely this year we’ll see more of a drop in organic reach on Instagram, so some form of paid advertising on the platform will become the norm.

Allocate more time to Instagram than Facebook – with the likely eventuality of Facebook Pages being lowered in organic reach, Instagram is the social media platform to watch. With the recent “hashtag follow” update (you can now follow a hashtag as you can an account), there has never been a better time to conduct some hashtag research to make sure you appear in users feeds. Create a simple and easy-to-remember ‘brand hashtag’ and suggest to your followers that they use it, you’ll become more discoverable to a wider audience.


I’m sure you’ll agree that Shopping on Instagram is an exciting new feature for 2018 and pretty simple to use. If you need any help setting up your Instagram or Shopify accounts or with further marketing for your business, contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve your digital marketing goals.


Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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