8 Instagram Shopping Tips that Drive Ecommerce Sales

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For an ecommerce business, no social media platform comes close to Instagram in terms of helping businesses drive sales and engagement. In fact, if you’re not on Instagram or your profile is outdated, your existence and legitimacy will be put into question. But making the most of Instagram as a sales channel is easier said than done.

With millions of other businesses and social media content creators to compete with, how can you stand out? On a platform like Instagram, where content is king, it’s no longer who has the biggest marketing budget or brand name but rather who can tell the best story.

The Potential of Instagram Shopping for Ecommerce Businesses

Instagram has come a long way since its first launch. Apart from its advertising tools, which debuted over a decade ago, you now have Instagram Shopping tools built specifically for ecommerce businesses like yours.

Case in point:

A well-established footwear brand Palladium has an Instagram presence and the company has reached 267k followers on the platform, so it's no wonder that it has established an Instagram shop to showcase its products along with descriptions and prices to help interested followers and visitors buy from them without leaving the app.

Palladium Instagram store

Source: Palladium

Over the last few years, Instagram shopping has gained in popularity. Today, Instagram users discover and buy products on the platform. Here are three main reasons why Instagram has great potential for ecommerce businesses:

  • The Instagram community is large and engaged - Instagram doesn’t just boast the numbers, but the quality of the audience here is also top-notch. Instagram has the highest average engagement rates, particularly in retail, compared to other social media platforms. Instagram has an average engagement rate of 1.58%, while Linkedin, which follows at second place, has 1.08%.
  • Instagram is a perfect visual platform for showing off products - When it comes to marketing on digital platforms, not only are you competing with other businesses, you’re also up against your audience’s extremely short attention spans. Instagram’s highly-visual nature makes it easier to create thumb-stopping content. Now that Instagram has expanded its features to become a hub for starting ecommerce businesses for clothing brands and other consumer packaged goods, you can transform your regular Instagram profile into a digital storefront.
  • The platform offers seamless in-app shopping - Today’s shoppers expect instant gratification, which means the shopping experience must be as hassle-free as possible. When you set up an Instagram Shop, you can allow your customers to browse, learn more about your products, and even check out without having to leave Instagram or open another page.
  • People discover and buy products on the platform - Instagram has become an integral part of the customer journey, with many shoppers using the platform to discover and research new products. A survey of ecommerce shoppers has revealed that a whopping 89% have purchased a product after seeing it on Instagram for the first time.

In a nutshell, Instagram is a perfect place to reach your potential customers and encourage them to buy, so it's important to know and implement tactics that drive ecommerce sales. In this post, we've gathered eight handy tips.

1. Make Good Use of Instagram Reels for Products

Video is easily the most engaging content format across all social media platforms. So, if you want to capture your audience’s attention and convince them to try your products, video is the best way to go. Reels, in particular, is still the most popular and engaging content format that the platform continues to promote.

When it comes to ecommerce businesses, vertical engaging videos like Reels give brands everything they need to showcase their products from all sides. What’s more, Reels can appear on the Explore page where your content reaches a wider audience of people who don't follow your profile.

While creating Instagram Reels can certainly be time-consuming and difficult, easy-to-use video editing tools can make video creation easy and fun.

For example, Reel pro Rana Hajiyeva used a video editing app called Videoleap to create an eye-catching video promoting her favorite products by La Roche Posay and VICHY. The app has a library of premade, customizable templates and AI tools which helped Rana create a simple yet interactive Reel, making it look as if she was scrolling through a web page in real life

Nurenss Instagram post

Source: Nurensss

Pro tip: Remember to add Product Tags to your Reels so customers can quickly shop while viewing your content.

2. Encourage Impulse Buying with Instagram Stories

The appeal of Instagram Stories lies in its ephemeral nature. Since your audience knows your Story will expire in 24 hours, they will be more inclined to view it immediately. Take advantage of this customer behavior and schedule Instagram stories that integrate sales and promotions into the content.

Take a look at this example by Crest:

Crest stories

Source: Crest

Since Crest posted this Story as an ad, it won’t necessarily disappear after 24 hours. However, people who view the Story won’t be able to go back to it after they’ve viewed it unless they get targeted again. Coupled with the big "$50 off" title, customers are likely to take action immediately after seeing the Story ad.

Stories are an excellent way to trigger your audience’s fear of missing out (FOMO). To remind your audience to check your Stories, create an Instagram Highlight of your past promotions.

3. Merge Offline and Online Shopping for More Sales

The reason for merging the offline and online shopping experience is simple—it improves the customer experience and, as a result, boosts your sales.

You don’t want to have "online only" or "in-store only" customers, because this will limit their instances of purchases and interactions. You want omnichannel customers, or customers who interact with you across all your platforms.

Take note: omnichannel customers usually spend 15 to 30% more compared to those who only support you through a single platform. But how do you drive your online customers in-store and vice versa?

Of course, it’s a no-brainer to offer online exclusives and in-store exclusives to drive traffic to both your brick-and-mortar and your ecommerce store. However, you have to come up with more sustainable approaches to create a consistent experience as your customers move through your different marketing channels and touchpoints.

One way to get your in-store customers to interact with you through your online channels and social media pages is by integrating dynamic QR codes into your in-store marketing materials. Why focus on dynamic QR codes? You can always change the information behind it without having to reprint the code itself which makes it perfect for marketing campaigns. Moreover, you can find a QR code generator and make it with ease.

These QR codes can lead to your social pages, review forms, online catalogs, and more. Using QR codes is an effortless way to get customers to take action, because it’s so easy to do.

At the same time, you can use a code to redirect Instagram followers to dedicated landing pages, just like in the example below:

BookTopia post with a QR code on Instagram

Source: BookTopia

Getting your online customers to visit your brick and mortar is a bit easier, since many shoppers still appreciate being able to try on or see products in person before making a purchase. Nevertheless, another excellent way to merge the online and offline shopping experience is to offer in-store returns and exchanges.

4. Offer Your Instagram Followers Unique Deals and Discounts

Nobody likes missing out on a great deal, especially if these deals are packaged in a way that makes the customer feel special. Offering your Instagram followers unique deals will incentivize them to shop and interact with your brand on the platform more regularly.

There’s nothing like an "exclusive" deal to get shoppers excited about a brand or a product. So offering follower-only discounts is a great way to boost your conversion rates on Instagram—it might be the final nudge a follower needs to convert into a customer.

Blackbough Instagram profile


Swimwear brand Blackbough Swim takes "exclusive deals" on Instagram to the next level by creating a Close Friends list for its most loyal customers. It's a relatively new feature that allows users to add selected people to the list and then make exclusive content visible for this list only (posts, notes, reels, stories). Those on the Close Friends list are privileged to be the first to know about new designs, releases, and sales.

You can also create a Close Friends list of all your most engaged followers and reward them with exclusive content and deals only they can see. This will drive more sales, boost brand loyalty, and encourage repeat purchases.

5. Provide Seamless Instagram Customer Care

Without proper Instagram-based customer care, it’s impossible to achieve business growth. A single negative customer experience can quickly ruin a brand, even if the said customer has had multiple positive experiences with you previously.

Glossier story

Source: Glossier

Since the creation of social media, people expect brands to be responsive on whatever platform they’re in. Most of your customers are already on social media, so it makes sense to be the most convenient and accessible channel to receive customer care. That’s why Instagram has created tools to help businesses provide a better customer experience:

  • Quick replies - Respond to predetermined FAQs instantly.
  • Question stickers - Allow your customers to ask burning questions and respond through your Stories.
  • Contact buttons - Give your customers the option to easily contact you through other channels if preferred.

While all customers would appreciate an instant response, the rule of thumb would be to respond not more than 24 hours later.

You can use Jivochat’s Instagram chatbot to ensure no messages are missed and for useful functionalities like a better search bar so you can easily find specific DMs using keywords. If you have multiple team members handling customer care, you can even assign messages to the responsible person.

Pro tip: Aside from the default inbox of Instagram, you can also filter your messages to make them more organized using the filter icon found on your account’s inbox.

6. Turn Your Happy Customers into Brand Advocates

While it’s always good to acquire new customers, nurturing existing ones can bring you more value in the long run. Not only are repeat customers easier to sell to, they are also likely to spend more than a new customer—67% more!

Plus, existing customers don't just bring value through their purchases, they can also bring in more sales by becoming your brand advocates.

A brand advocate is someone who promotes your brand to their networks through word-of-mouth, personal posts, or creating instagram reels with brand mentions on their social media pages. Despite the number of advertising tools and channels available, word-of-mouth is still considered the most powerful form of advertising today.

As a result, ecommerce brands try to encourage their happy customers to become brand advocates. When it comes to Instagram marketing, one of the most effective ways is to create a branded hashtag for product mentions and repost the best visuals to your feed. Check out how Aerie does it:

Aerie Instagram profile

Source: Aerie

If you want to find potential brand advocates for your brand, it's important to build your following on Instagram first and then create a series of posts where you can describe the benefits of being your brand advocate.

Here’s how you can turn customers into brand advocates:

  • Share user-generated content - Sharing UGC on your pages shows customers that you appreciate them while motivating them to post more.
  • Invite them to exclusive events - Offer free tickets to an online event and give customers a tour of your office, invite a select few to product launches, run a Q&A session with niche experts, and more.
  • Add them to your Close Friends list - A simple and effective way to make a customer feel special.
  • Invite them to a referral program - Reward them for every successful referral. The reward doesn’t even have to be big or grand, as long as it encourages them to recommend your brand to more people.

You can also make good use of social media tools like Meltwater that allow you to identify users who interact with your brand frequently, segment them, and organize potential brand advocates for your marketing campaigns with a few clicks.

7. Recommend Your Products with Influencer Endorsements

Your target audience prefers influencer posts more than regular branded content. In fact, 69% of consumers report that they trust influencer posts more than information coming directly from a brand. If there’s one marketing tactic to invest in, influencer marketing should be at the top of your list.

Make sure to partner with someone who specializes in your niche. They don’t even have to have hundreds of thousands of followers. As long as they have an engaged audience, they’ll be of value to your brand.

Bea Fabregas Instagram post

Source: Bea Fabregas

Even legacy brands like Nike invest in influencer marketing to build a stronger connection with its audience as they realize that relevant influencers can maximize your campaign and even boost sales.

Like it or not, influencers have more persuasive power over customers than brands do. When a loyal follower sees a recommendation, they are more likely to take action.

8. Sponsor Contests to Give Away Product Freebies

Contests and giveaways are excellent growth hacking techniques to build your following on Instagram. Instagram contest posts yield an average of 64 times more comments and 3.5 times more likes compared to regular posts.

Here's an example from Kiehl's, showing how they give away product freebies on Instagram:

Kiehl's Instagram post

Source: Kiehl’s

There are several ways to organize a giveaway that drives sales.

First, you can find a relevant business with a similar audience and solid Instagram presence (in terms of following and engagement) and offer them to sponsor a giveaway with product freebies, providing participants with a chance to win your products and test them for free.

Second, consider adding "purchase" as a qualifier to incentivize your followers to buy from your store. If your goal is to drive sales, you can ask users to spend money on your products within a selected timeframe in order to enter your giveaway. There's no need to ask participants to share their order details in the comments, but they need to be ready to share this information privately if they win the prize.

The more they spend, the more entries they get. Since your ultimate goal is to drive more sales, you may not want a simple "like and comment" giveaway, which typically gets the most engagement but doesn’t guarantee conversions. Of course, if you require customers to spend to qualify for the giveaway, your prize must be worth it.

The downside of requiring "purchase" to enter your contest is that you may not receive as many entries. If you want more people to participate, you can run the regular "like, comment, and tag" contest but offer small discounts for every entry. A discount is the perfect reason for potential customers to spend, while the contest may capture more leads or drive more traffic to your store.

The Wrap-Up

The integration of ecommerce tools on Instagram has enabled businesses to simplify the customer journey, allowing them to get entertained, browse, and shop without ever leaving the app. Now that the shopping experience is so convenient, the challenge lies in trying to stand out and competing with the millions of other businesses and creators on the platform.

Remember to take advantage of the tools available—whether in-app or through third-party platforms—and focus on the customer experience above all. As always, use Instagram analytics to study what works and what doesn’t, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different content.

With these tips, you can boost your sales and build a loyal following on Instagram and beyond.

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