Start Selling on Instagram Stories
Posted Oct 3, 2018 by Jesse Ness, Ecwid Team

Now Merchants Can Start Selling on Instagram Stories and the Explore Section

Just last week, Instagram announced that people have been tapping its Shopping tags at the rate of 90 million each month. This stunning response comes after product tags became available to most merchants only a few months ago.

In case you haven’t heard, recently, Instagram gave store owners the ability to tag their products in posts. When a user clicks on that product, they land on a product details page. From there, they can choose to buy.

Until this tags era, Instagram’s primary benefit for brands was providing product ideas to shoppers. Now the final sale can actually take place on Instagram after the shopper has gotten the initial idea on Instagram. This ability to buy through a seamless click path upends the social selling game.

After confirming that users are interested in buying on its platform, Instagram has now announced it is adding similar product tags to its Stories feature and its Explore section. The feature was limited to a few select businesses in the US, but product stickers in Instagram Stories are now available in 46 different countries.

Given the popularity of both features, merchants should consider exploring how product tagging there can drive sales and profits. The biggest reason? Tagging on these features is still FREE to merchants.

Product tagging in Instagram Stories

A product sticker in Instagram Stories

As you explore the ways Instagram can boost your sales, know that on Stories, “tags” (the name for prices placed on posts) are renamed “stickers.” Another difference is that stickers lead shoppers back to the merchant websites, where shoppers clicking on tags from a post in a feed can complete the sale right on Instagram. Sales are closed either way!

Start selling on Instagram

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Potential for Selling on Instagram Stories

Before considering putting stickers on your products in Stories, you should understand how the Stories experience differs from the feed experience.

Photos and videos placed in the Stories feature disappear within 24 hours, much the way rival Snapchat operates. Even with their short life-span, Stories did well for the 20 brands Instagram partnered with to test it.

Instagram’s users have topped 1 billion, and 400 million of them use Instagram Stories every day, according to the channel. An Instagram press release reports that their Stories users are busy “finding new products from brands they love” — a clear play for advertisers.

Instagram Stories stats

Statements like this have gotten tech journalists antennae waving. In a recent TechCrunch article, writer Josh Constine claims, “Instagram is embracing its true identity as a mail-order catalog.” We say: all the better for e-commerce merchants looking to reach defined target audiences. Maybe consumers need a giant product catalog in the sky that is easily accessed through social. Perhaps Instagram is onto something.

Merchants are free to add one sticker and choose the color to complement their photo or video on each upload in Stories. Tapping on the sticker opens a product details page. Another tap takes shoppers to the merchant’s website for checkout.

Selling on Instagram Stories, checkout

The product details page on Instagram

Selling on Instagram Explore Page

It’s not only Instagram’s feed and Stories where you’ll start seeing price tags placed on products. Instagram is also testing starting the buyer’s journey for its advertisers on its Explore page.

The Instagram Explore feature evolved from its previously existing “Popular” feature where Instagram posted its most liked content. Accessed through the magnifying glass placed along the bottom of the screen, the Explore page is a collage of photos and videos that Instagram funnels based to the page on your past engagements.

Selling on Instagram Explore section

Shoppable posts in the Explore section

The page is divided into categories: For You, Art, Beauty, Sports, Fashion . . . and now . . .  Shopping. In other words, the platform has created a individual magazine for each user, all with its own sections, the newest one being shopping. This new section only goes to Instagram users who’ve previously displayed an interest in shopping. Because these sections are shaped by each individual’s unique activity on the platform, no two Explore pages are identical.

Beyond funneling your own followed companies’ tagged posts there, it also sends tagged posts and stickered Stories liked by users you have liked. It’s this secondary sharing that should intrigue merchants.

We’re excited by the Explore page for merchants because of its viral potential. Instagram’s testing partners have been raving about how their posts that make it to the Explore page get more engagement than they’ve won on standard feed. It works like this: when enough followers like your Instagram post, it gets shunted to their followers’ Explore page. If those users engage with the post there, it could get shared to their followers’ Explore page and so on, multiplying to infinity.

Start Selling on Instagram Explore and Stories While It’s Still Free

Free digital marketing opportunities don’t come along every day. Jump on this one before it gets so popular Instagram can justify charging. Consider that there are 25 million Instagram profiles, but only 2 million active advertisers. Instagram wants to close that gap, and these tags and stickers are one step on the pathway to proving its value in reaching and selling to targeted audiences.

An Instagram store powered by Ecwid E-commerce gets you selling fast. When you use Ecwid to integrate your online store into your website, social media platforms and online marketplaces, you don’t need to understand or use coding. Our developers have done the hard coding for you.

All you need to do to start selling on Instagram Stories and the Explore section is fill out fields and click buttons. The process is the same as for setting up Instagram Shoppable Posts. More, no matter how many ways to sell online you need, you only have to upload products and make changes on the Ecwid dashboard, rather than going from Facebook to Instagram to Amazon, etc. One centralized dashboard sends the information to all your sales channels.

Get started

We hope you get this news in time to reap the rewards that come with being an early adopter of new free promotion opportunities on Instagram. By putting tags and stickers on posts and Stories, you’re entering relatively uncharted territory. But that’s where the money’s made. Whether you already sell on Instagram, or are just planning to, stay tuned for more tips!

What’s been your experience selling on Instagram? Don’t hesitate to share in the comments here— your fellow small business owners will relish your insights!

How to Sell in Instagram Stories

How to Sell in Instagram Stories

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About the author
Jesse is the Marketing Manager at Ecwid and has been in e-commerce and internet marketing since 2006. He has experience with PPC, SEO, conversion optimization and loves to work with entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality.
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