Instagram’s popularity is surging, but many influencers are still struggling to monetize the platform. While Instagram allows you to engage with followers in unique ways, it is not quite built to optimize sales and transactions. As retailers, you should constantly be looking for new channels to increase your sales, and Instagram is one of them. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make your Instagram account shoppable:

  •  Like2buy was the first solution to bring shopping to Instagram. The solution allows you to drive traffic and revenue from Instagram. It makes your posts clickable and enables you to tag several products per photo. Companies like @forever21 are using this solution. While the solution seems fitting for many larger retailers, pricing for Like2buy is not available on their website.
  • Linkinbio creates a landing page that resembles your Instagram feed. The obvious drawback is that your Instagram pics and videos are not actually shoppable, so it is highly recommended that you instruct people to click the link in your bio. This means extra steps, hence, you can hardly expect sky-high conversion rates. Visit @wsj to see it in action. Pricing is fairly straightforward with different tiers for different sizes of retailers.
  • Foursixty is another shoppable Instagram platform. The solution allows you to showcase specific Instagram galleries into your product detail pages. According to Foursixty, 92% of customers trust content created by their peers, so featuring that content in the point of sale will help inspire purchase decisions. It creates “Instashop”, reflecting the layout of your Instagram profile. See the similarities between @frankiesbikinis and their store to get a better understanding of how the platform works.
  • Shopify’s app looks great, but it requires having an online store powered by Shopify. Furthermore, it is not compatible with other ecommerce platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, BigCommerce or X-Cart. @bluerainboutique is a live instashop, powered by the app.
  • Ads by Instagram (photo, video, stories and carousel). On Instagram, clickable links are not possible in the caption or comments section. Instagram is not eager to send its users away from the app, unless you’re a paying customer of theirs. Ads by Instagram does support a “buy now/shop now” CTA, and those links can take visitors directly to your ecommerce store.

While none of these Instagram applications are free, they can provide increased sales for your business. If you’re looking for some no-cost options for monetizing your Instagram feed, here are a few hacks:

  • Clickable links in a direct message (DM). In DMs you can “legally” post clickable links on Instagram. Contact those interested in your product via a direct message. Or, preferably, encourage your followers to contact you. Don’t make your potential buyers guess. Write about it in the caption text.
  • Add a link to your store in your BIO. That’s the only place where you can post a clickable link publicly and for free. It goes without saying, the page must be 100% mobile-ready. No “that will do” excuses. 100% of the Instagram audience is mobile. And so must be the landing page.
  • Create a shortened link in a caption. Use goo.gl or bit.ly to make your “http://www.mysuperstore.com/category/productname.html” look shorter, like goo.gl/15ayr8 or even bit.ly/yourproduct. Specify this link in the caption for those who may want to type it manually. You can also offer to send a clickable link in a DM for those who don’t feel like typing it letter by letter is a good idea.

As you can see, it is not that difficult to make Instagram shoppable. As long as you have built a healthy, active community of followers you can begin to monetize your Instagram account. Here are a few other resources to visit to learn more about making Instagram shoppable:

Good luck on boosting your sales with Instagram!

The preceding post was submitted by Ksenia Emelyanova of X-Cart, a Pitney Bowes Shipping API partner. To learn more about X-Cart visit www.x-cart.com