Have you always wanted to be the star of your own shopping channel? Good news: Instagram's new live shopping feature turns you into a shoppable star, baby!
Shop live has already made it big in China in recent years on platforms like TaoBao – like a 170 billion dollar market. Now Instagram has launched its own live shopping tool giving Instagram users the opportunity to get a slice of this delicious ecommerce cake.
With Live Shopping on Instagram, you can:
- Train your audience: Share recommendations and reviews, conduct product demos, and answer questions to help customers build confidence that this is the right product for them.
- Present new products: Live is the perfect way to share the latest and greatest about your brand with updates that drive demand in real time.
- Collaborate with other developers: Collaborate with other brands and developers to get live streams that will increase sales and demonstrate collaboration with products.
Read on to learn how to get started with live shopping on Instagram and how to maximize the success of your stream.
Bonus: 14 time-saving hacks for Instagram power users. Get the list of secret shortcuts that the Hootsuite's own social media team uses to create thumb-stopping content.
What is Instagram Live Shopping?
Instagram Live Shopping allows developers and brands to sell products during an Instagram Live broadcast.
Think of it as an update to the old school TV shopping networks – just more authentic and interactive. Instagram Live Shopping allows you to showcase your products, interact with your fans, and collaborate with other brands and developers.
Instagram Live Shopping is available for all Instagram Business accounts that have checkout functions. These users can mark a product from their catalog to be shown for purchase at the bottom of the screen during a live broadcast.
Earlier this year, Instagram launched Shops that allowed approved accounts to upload a product catalog and create a digital e-commerce storefront right in the app. The live shopping feature uses the same product catalog to focus on your best purchases during a broadcast.
Who can use Instagram Live Shopping?
To broadcast an Instagram Live shopping experience, you must be a US based brand or creator with access to Instagram Checkout.
To buy an Instagram Live shopping experience, all you have to do is be an American Instagram user in the mood to drop a coin.
If neither describes you, stay tuned: it is likely that this feature will roll out globally in the future. Stay up to date with the latest Instagram updates here so you don't miss out when the news is released.
How to set up Instagram Live Shopping
Before you can start your Instagram Live Shopping stream, you should already have set up your Instagram shop and your product catalog. After all, you can't label products if you don't have any products. (We're pretty sure this is the first rule of ecommerce.)
Do you need help creating your catalog? Read our step-by-step guide on setting up your Instagram shop here. Note that you can create collections of up to 30 products in your catalog to access a curated category of goods.
Once you have your products in the system, you can start your Instagram Live shopping experience as follows:
- Tap the camera icon in the top right corner
- At the bottom of the screen, switch to Life
- Tap shop
- Select the products or the collection that you want to showcase
- Tap the broadcast button to go live!
- Once you get started, you can pin one product at a time to the screen
While watching, fans can tap feature products to view the product detail page or proceed with the purchase. Let the shopping spree begin!
Tips for live shopping on Instagram
The raw, unedited nature of a live broadcast makes it a different buying or selling experience than simply sharing a product on your feed or via Instagram Story.
Use the intimacy, interactivity and authenticity to make live shopping something special.
Display a new product or collection
Making a big announcement is all the more exciting when it's live.
If you have a brand new product or collection that is breaking down, make it an event by sharing all the details on a live broadcast. They can answer questions from fans and personalize the launch the first time you put a product on sale.
Instagram even has reminders of product launches to build anticipation and set alerts for users.
Offer a product tutorial or instructions
Sharing pictures and videos of your product on the Instagram feed and stories is great, but a live interactive demo or tutorial is even better for engagement.
Seeing a product perform in real time is a great opportunity for fans to understand what you're selling or to get inspiration to buy.
And as a seller, that direct line with your audience is a unique opportunity to ask for feedback or answer questions while demonstrating what your product does best.
It's great to have a predictable schedule and plan events in advance, but impromptu live meetings are also special.
The best thing about Instagram Live is that it's so real and authentic. Maximize "Anything Can Happen!" Surprise your followers with flash sales and surprise demos.
These impromptu broadcasts are an opportunity to reward fans who are paying attention … and having a bit of fun while you're at it.
Team up with other makers
Broadcasting it live is a great opportunity to promote with another Instagram influencer, brand, or developer.
You can have a special guest hosting a live shopping event with a curated collection of their favorite products, or offer a special VIP price to fans of another brand. There are many possibilities for cross-pollination here.
Try questions and answers
Hosting Q&A on your live shopping feed is a great way to help address reluctant shoppers.
Marketing a live stream specifically as an "Ask Me Anything" session brings out the curious folks who may not have taken the plunge yet. And because it's such an intimate and casual environment, you'll instill trust in your viewers in ways that a more polished feed post might not.
Turn things on
Instagram Live's shopping feature is absolutely an exciting tool for brands – but don't forget there are other ways you can use Live.
Selling to your audience all the time is a surefire way to burn them out. Ideally, you'll balance product-driven live streams with content-driven moments. Make these shopping moments something special – an occasion! – to keep people curious and excited to tune in.
For brands and developers with checkout capabilities, live shopping on Instagram is another extremely helpful ecommerce tool to have in your toolkit. Store your virtual shelves and get the show going – your fans are waiting for you.
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