Shoppable Instagram: Best Practices to Turn Followers into Customers

By Tinuiti Team

*This article was written by Ronit Epstein, Marketing Communications Manager (Yotpo)

Instagram is a key platform for building brand recognition and cultivating a loyal, engaged client base. Instagram’s over 500 million users are especially engaged.

In fact, of all social channels, traffic to eCommerce stores from Instagram stay longest onsite, making them the most likely to convert from followers into customers:

Moreover, Instagram users are highly likely to make purchasing decisions based on their experiences on the platform.

In an extensive study by Yotpo regarding the how to sell on Instagram, 72% of customers said seeing Instagram photos of a product increases their chances of buying, and 38% of customers said they frequently purchase products they find on Instagram.

The opportunity to greatly boost site traffic and revenue through Instagram is tremendous, with one obvious obstacle: Instagram bans URLs except in a user’s bio, making shopping through an Instagram feed seemingly cumbersome, requiring potential customers to close your Instagram and go searching on your site for something they liked.

Thus, in order to truly benefit from your Instagram marketing strategy, it is necessary to implement a shoppable Instagram.

Below we discuss how to create and maintain an effective shoppable Instagram, the key benefits of doing so, and best practices to get you started.

What is a shoppable Instagram?

As Instagram does not allow clickable links in photo captions and their new shoppable feature is still limited to twenty large retailers, the simplest way to sell through Instagram is to set up a shoppable gallery, which is a parallel site linked in your Instagram bio.

This link will take customers to an augmented version of your Instagram feed, which contains clickable images that lead to different product pages where they can purchase, or links to these pages directly in captions.

Here’s an example by Spirithoods:

shoppable instagram


In their bio, they include a quick link straight to their shoppable Instagram gallery, which leads here:



Their shoppable Instagram is identical in theme, content, and design to their original Instagram, but hovering over any image provides a “quick shop” option, and clicking leads straight to a product page, like this:

On the product page, customers can see the original Instagram photo that drew them in, plus other views, all the product info they need, and immediately add the item to their cart.

Why use a shoppable Instagram?

There are several clear benefits to implementing a shoppable Instagram gallery:


Further, there’s a clear risk if you don’t have a shoppable Instagram: potential customers see an item that interests them, but with no clear way to buy, lack the initiative to go to your site and search for that specific product. Without a shoppable Instagram, you lose easy sales and waste many of the benefits you cultivate by building your Instagram to begin with.

A shoppable Instagram gallery is the linchpin of your overall visual marketing solution because it is the direct link between your entire Instagram curation strategy and the final sale.

Best practices for a successful shoppable Instagram:

The number one principle of Instagram strategy is to use customer content as much as possible:

One of Instagram’s greatest strengths as a marketing tool is that, if you use it effectively, you inspire customers to create and share content featuring your products. Just as you should carefully curate and feature these customer photos on your Instagram, you should follow through and do so on the shoppable side, as well.

According to Yotpo survey results, 77% of consumers said that authentic photos from customers affect their purchasing decisions more than professional photos from stores do.

This is one of the top Instagram benefits: customer photos tap into a phenomenon called social proof, which describes the way humans respond positively to what others enjoy, and avoid what others dislike.

In fact, according to an A/B test of 5,723 visitors to a top eCommerce site, including Instagram photos on a popular product page increased orders by 24.3%!

Thus, just as you should make your Instagram shoppable to increase traffic, you should feature your Instagram UGC (user-generated content) in your shop and shoppable gallery to connect with customers and boost sales.

Lyfe Tea does this very effectively in their shoppable gallery:

On the left is the original customer submitted photo with a caption featuring the customer’s Instagram, and on the right is an image leading to the product for purchase. Combining customer authenticity with a quick buy option is a winning combination for raising and converting customer impulse.

Here are a few more tips to remember:

Link to the correct page: Impulse buys are the goal with a shoppable gallery, so it’s important to link directly to the page where customers can purchase the featured product. If you choose a shoppable instagram tool that allows only one link, it’s key to choose an image that features only one product, to avoid customer frustration if the product they prefer is not linked, as BirkSun did:

Mind your posting times: As with all social media platforms, the day and time you post items to your shoppable feed will impact their reach. Fortunately, this is where your tool’s analytics feature can really help your strategy.

Promote beyond your bio link: Send an email blast, create a special Instagram post with text-overlay, and of course, remind customers in photo captions that your Shoppable Instagram is available. Make sure your followers are reminded that it’s easy for them to shop the items they see and love.

Recap: Successful shoppable Instagram galleries

Your followers are ready to shop, it’s time to give them the opportunity!

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