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3 Reasons Why Retailers Should Sell On Instagram

Posted by Drew Melendy on Jan 28, 2020 11:21:25 PM
Drew Melendy

With Instagram's growing userbase and accelerated engagement rates, there has never been a better time for businesses to grow their brand presence, fan base, and revenue through the social platform.

While Facebook may be a step ahead in its user numbers and popularity, Instagram is quickly becoming Facebook’s contender. Don’t believe the hype? Take a look at these stats.

  The number of active US Instagram users will reach 125.5 million by 2023.
 90% of users follow at least one Instagram business on the platform. 
 Brands see 10x higher engagement rates on Instagram than they do on Facebook. 
 Over one-third of Instagram users have used the app to purchase a product online.

One thing is for sure. There are lots of opportunities to get your brand discovered and sell on the Instagram app.

Let’s take a look at what makes Instagram a powerhouse for building brand empires, and why you should incorporate it into your business strategy immediately.

Woman taking an aesthetic photo of some sunglasses so she can sell them on Instagram.

1. Visual Content Sells

While it is a constant battle to capture customer attention, one defining factor can make all the difference- your brands’ visuals. 

Without a doubt, visuals are vital to merchandising and branding. Instagram lets your visual content do the selling, since the customer’s primary focus is centered on product imagery instead of sales copy. 

Your photos and videos are more than just eye candy to your customers. Detailed product photography can highlight selling features for an item. Better yet, videos can show off curated collections of complimentary items or demonstrate a product in use.

2. Instagram Makes It Easy to Discover Brands

60% of people say they’ve found new products directly on Instagram. 20% of users visit an Instagram business profile every single day. What’s the defining factor here?

Instagram makes it easy for consumers to discover their favorite products and brands with a number of built-in tools. Let’s take a look at the different ways that businesses can use these to expand their reach on Instagram.

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Instagram Explore Page

The Instagram Explore Page curates real-time content based on user behaviors and specific interests. The algorithm that’s responsible for serving this highly personalized page is based on 

Posts liked by people whose posts you’ve liked
Accounts similar to ones that you are following
Posts that have garnered high engagement

Brands should strategically aim for a feature on the Explore page because it  exposes your business to new and highly targeted audiences. Unlike paying for Instagram ads to increase your reach, getting featured on the Instagram Explore page is organic and free.

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Since hashtags give users an easy way to look up topics that interest them, businesses can use them to make their content more discoverable. A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag!

Hashtags that are directly relevant to your industry and niche will be the most impactful. What are your ideal customer’s interests? If you're an apparel retailer, you’ll want to look a little deeper than #instafashion. General tags can snag you a few followers, but your best bet is to mix these with more niche tags for better targeting.

Adding branded hashtags will also help spread the word about your store, but you can use these to connect with brand ambassadors and get recognition from user generated content. Branded hashtags can be centered around your company name, a tagline, lifestyle, or a name of a product exclusively sold by you.

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Inspire Boutique's branded hashtag is #inspiredshoppers.

Hashtags are also useful for studying the competition. Take a look at brands that are crushing it on Instagram, get inspired, and take notes!


If you have a brick and mortar storefront, geotags can put you on the map. Quite literally, in fact.

Geotags attach your business name and your store's coordinates to your photos. By adding these, you can show up more with local audiences and drive foot traffic to your store. They're also helpful for discovering your brand's local influencers.

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Instagram Stories

There are over 500 million active daily Instagram Stories users. With 70% of Instagram users watching Stories daily, they give businesses the potential to reach their customers way more often and way more organically than other methods.

The Instagram app conveniently displays Stories at the very top of news feeds. These short and highly digestible videos are jam-packed with interactive features. Use stickers, tags, countdowns, and interactive polls to keep viewers fully engaged.

Accounts that acquire over 10k followers or use paid ads can use the “swipe up” feature to place links in Stories. Featured links can help you migrate Instagram users to other sales channels such as your Facebook page, Facebook group, your website, or mobile app. 

Related Reading: How to Use Facebook & Instagram Stories to Boost Business

Stories are also crucial for showing brand personality and authenticity. The internet has changed a lot about the way we shop. However, humans still prefer to do business more with those that we know, like, and trust over total strangers.

While your feed may be polished and curated, Stories show a less perfect, raw, and relatable side of everyday life behind the scenes. Customers can come to know and appreciate the people on the other side of the screen. 

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3. Businesses Can Sell Directly Through the Instagram Feed

Instagram is way more than a platform used to showcase product photos. Since the introduction of shoppable posts and comment selling, the platform has transformed into a full-blown e-commerce channel for many retailers.

Instagram Shoppable Posts

Instagram shoppable posts are a native integration that allows you to tag the products featured in your photos. When tapped, your customers can see a list of all these products and their prices. When an item is tapped again, it takes them to a product page where they can add it to their cart. With more than 90 million users tapping to reveal product tags every month, it's an effective way to get discovered and win sales.

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While shoppable posts can land you on the shopping section (aka Shop tab) of the Explore page, they do little in the way of garnering the engagement it takes to get there. Businesses must find a way to spark discussion or likes. That's where comment selling can help.

Comment Selling

Comment selling marries e-commerce with social media with an engaging twist. Sellers instruct their shoppers to comment "sold" on a Instagram post to claim the item. When customers comment to this way, it provides proof of purchase, which compels onlookers to purchase or face the fear of missing out on that item.

So not only is comment shopping fun and exciting for shoppers, but it also provides businesses boosted engagement and it can remove the looming threat Instagram removing like counts. Plus, it can provide a high return on investment with very little work when you automate it with a social selling software, like CommentSold.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Selling On Instagram Is Better With CommentSold

Once a customer comments “sold” on a post, they will receive an automatic comment reply that directs them to the link in the bio. When the customer clicks this link, it opens their cart and gives them an easy and secure way of paying for all of their items.

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In many instances, brands see success in switching between content that uses product tagging and comment selling. This gives you more opportunities to show up in the Explore Page's shop tab and to capitalize on the increased engagement that comes with comment selling. By using CommentSold, you can take advantage of both. 


The Takeaway

While it takes time and effort to start a new social channel, Instagram is one platform that deserves your time and resources. Instagram’s massive audience, tools, and integrations make it easier than ever to engage with new customers that are actively looking for brands just like yours. 

Remember, you don't have to learn everything about the platform in one day. The first step to meeting your new fans is as simple as getting started with a Instagram business profile.

Topics: Instagram, Comment Selling, Social Media

Smiling woman looking at all the likes she got on Instagram.