Instagram Live Shopping: What is it & How to Use it to Drive Sales?

October 31, 2021
By
Jomel Alos

What is Instagram Live Shopping?

Instagram Live Shopping merges the practice of live selling and shopping—as you promote and highlight your products live, viewers can buy them without leaving the app.

The feature allows business accounts to tag products from their Facebook or Instagram Shop and display them during the stream. Users can watch either through the app or website, on their phone or desktop.

It's safe to say that the company was making strides towards Instagram live commerce and social shopping as early as 2016 when Live was launched. In 2017, brands could already tag items on their posts, though Instagram Shops and Live Shopping were formally released only in 2020 when. A year prior, in 2019, Checkout became available.

For now, both Checkout and Live Shopping are available to eligible businesses in the U.S.

Banner Image from Facebook.

The Advent of Instagram eCommerce

Instagram eCommerce
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There are good reasons why there is a demand for social e-commerce. Facebook reported that 83% of users discover new products and services on Instagram, while Hootsuite found that 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily. But, what can brands expect from Instagram's Shops and Checkout features?

  • Collections: Brands can curate a list of shoppable products accessible through the View Shop button on their profiles. These may also get featured on the Instagram Shop tab.
  • Feed Post Shopping: Tag up to five products on an image or video and provide buyers a direct route from awareness to conversion.
  • Stories Shopping: A sticker can be placed on items featured on a Story that followers can tap to learn more about or buy.
  • Reels Shopping: Creators can also tag products on these videos so that users can learn more about them inline.
  • Guides Shopping: Brands can make a list of their best-sellers or targeted roundups based on their followers' needs.
  • Shopping from Creators: Leverage influencer marketing by partnering with celebrities who will create Instagram shoppable videos or posts featuring your products. For now, only a few businesses and creators are eligible for this.

Live Shopping is part of Instagram Shops for businesses. It isn't surprising for a social media brand to get into the live selling game, considering how rampant e-commerce has become, even without a global pandemic that forced people to stay at home.

With Instagram live stream shopping, you can make the purchasing process smoother and connect with your prospects and customers. More importantly, it puts the spotlight on your product, so your followers can see how it can benefit them.

Here, we'll delve into how Instagram live commerce can grow your online business.

Benefits of Live Shopping on Instagram

Learn what Instagram eCommerce through live selling can do for your business.

1. Promote and Sell

Promote your products and sell them, all while entertaining your viewers. Live Shopping can improve your selling capabilities because it cuts down the time for product promotion, and you can do it for more than one item in a single stream.

This is important, as at least 80% of users go on Instagram when deciding whether to purchase something or not.

2. Real-time interactivity that builds relationships

More than 25 million companies use Instagram to connect with consumers, which is highly possible with Live Shopping—and in real-time, to boot. This interaction helps you get insights and feedback directly from them to address pain points, making it a great tool for building strong relationships and nurturing loyalty.

The live setting also leaves an impression of your brand's more human side. This transparency and authenticity can encourage viewers to stay engaged with you after the Live Shopping and trust you enough to convert.

3. Foster interest and consideration

Some 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand, and 75% of them will take action after seeing a post that interests them.

Instagram Live Shopping is your chance to highlight a product's features and interact with it so that the audience can learn about its benefits. You can also share a review or recommendation to further build the customers' confidence and see that the product is right for them.

4. Streamline the buying process

In line with keeping people's attention, a shorter path to purchase, in which the steps to checkout are minimized, is achievable through live selling. Make sure to move them down the sales funnel during the stream; ideally, they should have bought a product from you before your live sales on Instagram end.

5. Boost conversions and sales

Ultimately, this is what you want to happen during and after your Instagram live selling. Even if they can't see and test the product in person, what they are learning live is enough to convince them that your product can improve their lives.

In fact, research has shown that returns are 50% lower when a product is bought off a livestream than from a traditional e-commerce channel.

Live sales on Instagram puts your products in front of as many eyes as possible—that can be 500 million daily. Couple that with the right kind of engagement, and you can expect better results.

How to Start Instagram Live Selling

Here, you'll learn how to do social commerce on Instagram through Live Shopping. But before you begin, you must prepare and keep a few things in mind.

  • Set up your Facebook or Instagram Shop and enable Checkout. Have at least 30 products on your catalog three days before the stream. You'll need to tag the items so your watchers can buy them.
  • Know what your goals are. You may have several reasons to live sell, especially if you're following a marketing strategy. Prioritize and try to accomplish one per broadcast so you can align the Instagram live selling to that goal.
  • Have a schedule. Being consistent and regularly streaming helps you reach more people and build stronger relationships.
  • Promote your Instagram live selling. You can do this by sharing the schedule or link on your other social media profiles or to your email list.

Once you've done the preparation, simply follow this step-by-step to begin Live Shopping on Instagram.

Step 1: Open the Instagram app and tap Your Story in the upper-left corner.

Instagram Story button
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Step 2: Swipe left at the bottom of the screen to toggle Live.

Access instagram live from stories
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Step 3: Tap the Shopping bag icon on the left side of the screen and add the products you want to promote and sell.

Enabling shopping bag on instagram live
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Step 4: When you're good to go, tap the Live button.

live button to start instagram live shopping
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Step 5: During the live, you can Pin products on the screen so that viewers can learn more about or buy them. You can only pin one item at a time.

pinning products on instagram live shopping
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After your Live Shopping Instagram stream, you have the option to share it:

  • Turn it into a series of Instagram Stories. The stream will be divided into 15-second clips viewable for 24 hours.
  • Repost it as an Instagram video. The caveat is that it won't show the comments or reactions from the original stream.
  • Download it to upload on other platforms. Interactions will also not be available in this case.

Instagram Live Shopping Features

The following are other Instagram Live Shopping features to make your streams more enticing for viewers, helping your conversions.

Video customization

Use filters, stickers, or custom content directly while you are live. There are available presets for this, but you can also create your own and upload them to your live settings.

Images and videos

Share images and videos of your products on screen. This can serve as supplementary content to show viewers your products in action. You can even add multiple videos and make a slideshow.

Product launch

Instagram live shopping product launch feature
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This Instagram Shops feature allows brands to tag products and build awareness around new releases that will soon be available. For Live Shopping, users can set reminders for the products to be launched. An hour before, a countdown will be displayed, which will change to an Add to Cart button once the countdown expires.

Live Rooms

instagram live shopping rooms
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One of the newer features of the platform is Live Rooms, which allows the main host to bring in three more people or partner brands to their stream. With the feature, you can get more viewers and better engagement, as these influencers bring in their followers to your Instagram live selling.

To do this, start Live and select Rooms. From there, you can choose your guests, then tap Invite. You can either let them in simultaneously or one-by-one as the program moves along.

Pin topics and reactions

instagram live shopping pinned topics and reactions
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When you get a question or topic suggestion from your followers, you can add them during the broadcast and pin them. That way, viewers know what the current discussion is about. Live also allows brands to react to messages, helping create buzz around your stream and improve interactions between your followers.

Live Sale Instagram Tips

instagram live selling tips
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Drive and optimize Instagram Live sales with a few helpful suggestions.

Know what to say; ditch the script

Preparing the products and writing down the information to share is essential: which ones to highlight, what their benefits are, how to use them, what the prices are, etc. But spontaneity is also a key element in livestreams. It adds a human touch that helps you connect with the audience in a more natural way.

Mistakes or hiccups may be unavoidable, but viewers will appreciate your brand's authentic side. If you do encounter technical issues, apologize.

Be professional

Instagram gives off a more casual vibe among social media platforms, but it's important to look and sound professional when it comes to Live Shopping. You're speaking on behalf of your brand, and whatever you say will affect your business.

Being presentable—both in how you and your surroundings look—and using the right tone will determine how professional you appear. Make sure to check and test if all equipment is working well, too.

Generate buzz towards new or exclusive products

You can use Instagram Live Shopping to announce new product launches or exclusive offers to generate hype. Aside from exciting your community, it drives sales and rewards your audience, which helps in earning their trust and loyalty.

Do product tutorials

While product photos and videos are helpful, some consumers are more discerning when buying online. Livestreaming is a good opportunity to show how your products are used so that consumers know how they can benefit from them. A hands-on demo is better for engagement and can foster a spur-of-the-moment purchase.

Engage your viewers

A key advantage of live selling is it allows you to interact with your customers directly. They join the stream to engage with your brand, so listen, answer questions or comments, or even start a discussion, whether it's between you and the viewers or among themselves.

Make sure that your content fosters engagement, too, through likes, comments, suggestions, or feedback so that it can eventually lead to Instagram Live sales.

Don't sell; entertain

Selling may be your main purpose for going live, but know that viewers don't like to be seen as mere numbers. Brands need to balance out product-driven livestream with entertaining content. Here are a few ways to do so.

  • Share your story to let the audience know how your products can better their lives. Since humans connect more deeply when something touches their hearts, use genuine emotions when telling stories. This can also help you build strong relationships with them.
  • Host a Q&A. Help undecided viewers cast out any concerns they may have about your brand or product by letting them ask you questions. Promote your live stream as an Ask Me Anything session, so it drives views from people who are somewhat interested but aren't ready to close a deal yet.
  • Have influencers onboard. Consumers trust fellow consumers, so collaborating with a creator whom people see as credible can help build trust and increase the lifetime value of your current customers. Even someone who has less than 10,000 followers can provide ROI, as long as they are highly engaged with their followers.

Instagram Live Shopping Examples

Despite it being a relatively new feature, the following brands have found success in Live Shopping on Instagram.

Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics Instagram Live Selling
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The San Francisco-based makeup brand used Live Shopping to launch two new products, the Brow Microfilling Pen and They're Real! Magnet Mascara.

Benefit wanted to build interest and awareness before the launch date and maximize online sales. They promoted the launch on their Instagram feed and Stories, used a dedicated hashtag, and allowed users to set a launch reminder.

To drive demand, Benefit sold both products exclusively on Instagram for 24 hours after the launch and had beauty influencers post about them using the hashtag on their own pages.

The Brow Microfilling Pen sold out most of its shades within 72 hours, while one tube of They're Real! Magnet Mascara was sold per minute on average during the live shopping Instagram launch.

Jane

Jane Live selling on instagam
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Boutique marketplace Jane was founded in 2011. They sell a curated collection of women's fashion, accessories, home décor, and more, from small names to designer brands.

To increase awareness, conveniently reach consumers, and increase sales, Jane began using Instagram Shops in July 2020, including running a Live Shopping event featuring Valentine's Day items. Viewers were able to checkout the items pinned during the stream without leaving Instagram.

After finding success in livestreaming, Jane continued to host Live Shopping on Instagram monthly. Since the brand started Instagram Shops, it has done over 24,000 sessions (as of February 2021), earned $419,762 in incremental sales, and welcomed 680,618 new visitors (as of April 2021).

Tanya Taylor

Tanya Taylor instagram live sale
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Fashion designer Tanya Taylor started sharing the curtains, pillows, carpets, and other home essentials that she repurposed from excess fabric on Instagram Live only in 2021. The success turned into a public plea for an actual home collection that she eventually released a few months later.

Taylor's fun, creative outlet became a new concept. She shared behind-the-scenes of its creation on Instagram Live, answering audience questions about sizes, style, prices, and future collaborations. Eventually, she sold items from her first home collection through livestream, as well.

Instagram Live Selling with Flux Panda

While Instagram Live seems like a robust tool for live selling, it still has some issues and limitations. Aside from these features being only available for some businesses, the products have to be added to Instagram Shop and the checkout happens on Instagram as well. This limits the data collection you can potentially get if the sessions are happening in a platform that you own which also limits your opportunities to remarket through other channels.

With Flux Panda, you can go live on multiple platforms including Instagram, and drive users to your own website or app. It also allows you to record and save videos that you can either show to people who have missed the live or enrich your product feed.

If you are looking for an omnichannel live commerce platform that can help your brand grow beyond a single channel, try using Flux Panda so you don’t have to completely rely on any of them.

Need help? Contact our support team or write us at support@fluxpanda.com

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