How to Use Instagram to Increase Sales for Your Online Retail Business

how to use instagram to increase sales for online retail business

There’s no doubt about it — Instagram is one of the best platforms to grow your business today.

Now more than just a photo and video sharing platform, Instagram has built an ecosystem of features that allow your followers to browse and shop all in one place. With 90% of users following a business and over 130 million users tapping on an Instagram shopping post every month, you have an audience that’s willing to spend.

Below, we’ve outlined tried and tested tips to help you use Instagram to increase sales for your online retail business.

Establish a Brand Look and Feel

Posting great photos is not enough to stand out on Instagram; you need to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Kora (@fromkora), a New York-based doughnut shop that started as a humble operation from a tiny Queens apartment, has achieved a cult-like following despite its online-only presence.

how to use instagram to increase sales for online retail business
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The doughnut shop was able to amass a 10,000-person waitlist thanks to their unique style of doughnuts, which the team is able to capture on their Instagram page. The Kora branding shines through in their photography style and color palettes.

When planning your feed, it’s a good idea to utilize your brand’s logo colors as a base for icons and filter choices. This way, when users scroll through Instagram, they can easily identify your post without even having to look at your username.

To help you come up with a filter that’s uniquely yours, you can use photo and video editing apps like Instasize that allow you to combine and tweak filters to fit your branding needs.

Feature Your Customers

A model or influencer can make any product look good. Sure, partnering with someone famous may increase your follower count, but before someone turns into a customer, they would want to visualize themselves using your products. This is where user-generated content (UGC) can help you.

72% of consumers say if they have a good experience with a brand, they will share it with more than 6 people. You can encourage your customers to leave feedback and reviews after using your products. Or better yet, to take photos of themselves with your products. Track your tagged photos and ask permission to use them on your feed. UGC is a powerful tool that can help you build brand loyalty and increase shopper confidence.

Slow fashion swimsuit brand from the Philippines, After Dawn (@swimafterdawn), regularly shares photos of their customers wearing their pieces. UGC like this creates a more authentic buyer experience. Unlike regular marketing material, which can be heavily filtered or photoshopped, real customers will always be honest.

Tag Your Products

If you’ve signed up for Instagram Shopping, one of its features allows you to tag your products so that when followers tap on your photo, they see product names and prices.

how to use instagram to increase sales for online retail business
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Maison Flaneur (@maison_flaneur), a small shop that sells items from all over the world, sets up Instagram shopping by tagging their products on posts. Because their feed is a mix of dreamy settings and beautiful flat lays, tagging products helps their followers identify which items are for sale.

Shopping tags allows your customers to learn more about your products with ease and without having to leave the platform. Barbour (@barbour), a manufacturer of outerwear for fishermen was able to increase their sales by 42% and their website traffic from Instagram to 98% since they enabled shopping tags.

Once you’ve set up Instagram shopping, you can easily tag your products on your posts by following these steps:

  1. Add post as usual
  2. After adding your caption, effects, etc., tap on Next.
  3. Tap on Tag Products. You can tag up to five products per single-image and video posts and up to 20 products for multi-image posts.
  4. Use the search bar to find the products you want to tag.

Always Include a Clear Call to Action (CTA)

If you want to drive your followers to your website, tell them to click the link in your bio! Don’t let your content go to waste by forgetting your CTAs. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your followers will automatically click on your website. If you don’t ask, then you probably won’t get what you want.

Once they get there, have them sign-up for your email list. You can even use email platforms to automate your efforts and segment your audience.

If you have an Instagram Business account, you can add CTA buttons to your profile. Today, you can add up to three buttons: Book, Call, Start Order, and Reserve.

To add a CTA to your profile:

  1. Tap on Edit Profile
  2. Go to Action Buttons
  3. Select a button
  4. Choose from the list of partners applicable to you

Aside from the action buttons on your profile, don’t forget to add CTAs in your captions. Make use of the single link allowed on your bio to lead your followers to specific landing pages you want to push.

Pro-tip: Don’t make every single post about making a sale. Balance your feed out with engagement posts.

Get Started

Instagram is an exciting place to be for any business, but it’s also extremely crowded. So utilize these tips to help you cut through the noise, stand out, and increase your sales. But always remember to keep testing and tracking your results! Once you find out what works for your followers, the numbers will follow.


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