The Future of In-App Shopping on Instagram

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According to research conducted by AudienceProject, two-thirds of Instagram users in the United States go on Instagram every day. Not only are users perusing great content, they are engaging other users over their favorite online purchases.

Bar chart of "Frequency of Instagram use in the United States as of 3rd quarter 2020"
Image via Statista

Frequency of Instagram use in the United States as of 3rd quarter 2020

Daily: 63%

Weekly: 90%

Monthly: 97%

Source: AudienceProject

Additional Information: United States; AudienceProject; Q3 2020; 2,000+; 15 years and older; among Instagram users; Online panel

Though it is not the only platform to do so, Instagram has launched several new updates to help users connect with one another and with the brands that they love. The domination of influencer marketing over social media also contributes to a rise in social commerce, mobile marketing, and in-app shopping.

“When [Instagram users] were inspired by something they saw, they would take steps to find and buy it right away.”

Instagram Business

One of the most impressive displays of in-app shopping is Instagram Shopping. Here is a quick guide how it works, along with some of the leading strategies that brands can use when planning their campaigns.

What is in-app shopping on Instagram (IG)?

Instagram in-app shopping is the platform’s collection of s-commerce offerings designed to help users buy a product or service that they like without leaving Instagram.

As a channel primarily servicing influencers and creators, users engage one another with product recommendations. Instagram’s visual interface inspires consumers to reimagine their home, wardrobe, travel plans, and so much more.

IG marketers and eCommerce experts recognized this “view-to-be-inspired” trend and capitalized on it with in-app shopping features.

“In 2019, social commerce sales in the United States were estimated at 22 billion U.S. dollars. As social media’s influence continues to increase, U.S. social commerce is projected to reach 84.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2024 and accounting for 7.8 percent of U.S. retail e-commerce sales.”

Statista Social Commerce Research
Bar graph of "Social commerce Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the United States from 2022 to 2028"
Image via Statista

Social commerce Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the United States from 2022 to 2028 (in billion U.S. dollars)

2022: $51.84 billion

2023: $61.55 billion

2024: $73.08 billion

2025: $86.77 billion

2026: $103.02 billion

2027: $122.32 billion

2028: $145.23 billion

Details: United States; Research and Markets; Statista; April 2022

Projections shown above are most likely conservative, considering that many in-app shopping features hadn’t yet launched in 2019 (when analysts completed this study).

Ultimately, in-app shopping makes it easier for brands and influencers to create authentic content that drives revenue on follower newsfeeds. When a user sees something in an image or video that they love, they don’t have to take a break from Instagram to find it. In just a few clicks, the product that caught their attention is preparing for shipment, and the user is back to scrolling through their newsfeed.

What are the benefits of in-app shopping for brands?

The main advantage of IG in-app shopping is it makes social media shopping simple for the consumer.

Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is one of the most popular social channels for consumer inspiration. Rather than having to stop their social media activity to research a product online, Instagram provides the infrastructure necessary for that buyer to do business right then and there.

Furthermore, smaller direct-to-consumer brands can expand their online presence without having to build a new eCommerce website. Incidentally, medium-sized online retailers find this benefit worth the effort, too.

Lastly, influencers can generate revenues for their favorite brands on Instagram thanks in large part to in-app shopping features. 

How do you set up IG shopping?

If you’ve not already done so, you will need an Instagram account. From your Instagram account, you can set up a business account and establish administrators, as needed.

Create a Business Account

Creating an Instagram business account is free. And because Facebook manages Instagram, you have the option to launch your Facebook business page after creating an Instagram business account. You will need to have a professional account on Facebook to take advantage of Instagram Shopping.

From your Instagram account, you can go to your business page at any time by clicking the hamburger icon and selecting “Switch to Professional Account.” Because consumers are likely to research your brand if they’ve not seen you before, you should add all the necessary details about your business publicly on your Instagram page.

Set Up a Product Catalog

If you’re a Shopify or BigCommerce subscriber, your eCommerce platform has the option to integrate directly with Instagram Shopping.

But if you don’t have an online store with an IG eCommerce partner, you can choose to manually upload your product catalog. Visit the FB Commerce Manager to begin.

FB Commerce Manager screenshot
Image via Facebook

From the Facebook Products main page, select “Get Started.”

Screenshot of choosing a way to sell
Image via Facebook 

If you don’t have an online store, you can “Create a Shop” on Facebook/Instagram. But for those that already have an eCommerce shop, you should choose “Create a Catalog.”

The Future of In-App Shopping on Instagram 1
Image via Facebook

Select the product category from the list: Ecommerce, Travel, Real Estate, Auto, or Entertainment and media. Then click “Next.”

The Future of In-App Shopping on Instagram 2
Image via Facebook

When creating your catalog, you can include images, names, descriptions, and a link. Click “Create” to add products to your Instagram Stop.

What are the in-app shopping features in IG?

IG Shop

Your Instagram Shop is where customers can view your entire store within the app. Users can browse, add to carts, and complete purchases from your IG Shop.

instagram inapp shopping

You can link any product post from your page or partner’s page back to your IG Shop. If you run paid ads on Instagram, you can link your ad to your shop, too.


instagram inapp shopping

Image via Instagram

Not to be confused with non-business users using the Collections feature to save their favorite posts, Collections in your Instagram Shop allow you to categorize your products by type. You can create these Collections within your Commerce Manager on your Facebook Business Account.

instagram inapp shopping

Image via YouTube

Collections help shoppers save time when visiting your Instagram Shop. Make sure to select a relevant cover image and compose a concise description before publishing your Collection on your company page.

Product Detail Page

instagram inapp shopping

Image via Instagram

Product detail pages (PDPs) provide individual product descriptions for shoppers. If you’ve created product tags, every tag for that product will display on the PDP in carousel form. Shoppers can view the product on your website or checkout through Instagram.

Ads with Product Tags

instagram inapp shopping

Image via Instagram

Product tags allow you and your partners to add lifestyle content and shoppable ads featuring your most popular products. Making use of product tags also improves your ability to repurpose influencer or user-generated content into sponsored posts/ads.

When launching an influencer whitelisting campaign, product tags are key to conversions. You can use tags to include price tags for easy in-app shopping from influencer posts.

IG Checkout

When a consumer sees a tagged product in an image or video, they can immediately click the item, add to their cart, and checkout with Facebook Pay. If you’ve integrated your eCommerce site with your Instagram Shop, the experience is just as seamless.

Creator Shopping

instagram inapp shopping

After launching an IG-approved shop and adding checkout, your influencers and brand ambassadors can tag your products in their posts. Followers can click the tag and arrive at the Product Detail Page. 

Live Shopping

If you’re running an Instagram Live event, you can add your products and display product tags at the bottom of the Live screen during your event. Viewers can click the product tag and checkout within the app during your event.

What does in-app shopping on Instagram look like in 2021?

The end goal for Instagram is two-fold: to keep users engaged with one another on IG and to empower authentic creator-brand relationships.

To that end, marketers should expect Instagram to increase their shoppable post features for brands and creators alike. By empowering social commerce on their platform, Instagram developers increase user activity and allow shopping to become a social – rather than transactional – event.

These shoppable ad/post features further set influencer and social media marketing apart from traditional advertising. In-app shopping integrates with lifestyle content and creates a more authentic vibe for consumers.

How can brands use in-app shopping on Instagram in the new year?

Authentic Newsfeed Posts

It’s no longer necessary for brands to depend solely on polished studio shots. Instead, retailers can feature products in lifestyle images and videos. Doing so is more likely to inspire followers to convert, since lifestyle content is more compelling.

Instagram Stories

In-app shopping and product tags are available for Instagram Stories. You can add swipe-ups and stickers linked to the Product Detail Page.

Instagram Live

Brands have already been using Instagram and Facebook Live to promote new products or answer questions for shoppers. Thanks to in-app shopping features, Instagram lets you add product tags to viewers screens in real-time so that they can shop during your event.


One of the greatest benefits to in-app shopping on Instagram is the ease with which your influencers can integrate their content with your Instagram Shop. Now followers can shop an influencer’s pictures and videos with fewer clicks and speedy checkout.

Brands can get ahead of the game by leveraging the power of in-app shopping on Instagram.

Setting up an Instagram Shop is free. Currently, Instagram charges 5% per sale once at checkout. In other words, Instagram Shopping is a totally risk-free feature for eCommerce vendors.

Due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of use, brands that take advantage of Instagram Shopping can expand their reach and experience the many benefits of social commerce. 

For brand new DTC brands, Facebook and Instagram have the bandwidth to help you sell apart from setting up a separate eCommerce website until you generate sustainable cashflow. But even for established online stores, Instagram Shopping just makes sense.

Conclusion: Stay ahead of the game and pay attention to these top Instagram trends that will impact your influencer marketing in 2021.

Instagram updates have been prolific and impressive over the last year and a half. It’s likely that Instagram will continue to provide new tools for brands and creators to achieve deeper connections with consumers. “Getting in” while some of these new updates are fresh will help you and your team stay competitive and gain market shares in your industry.

Updated: March 2023

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Written by GRIN Contributor

GRIN is the pioneer behind the world’s first Creator Management platform built to support every brand’s journey to connecting with consumers through authentic creator relationships. Thousands of the world’s fastest-growing brands—including SKIMS, Warby Parker, Allbirds, Mejuri, and MVMT—use GRIN to make creators feel like trusted, empowered partners and work with them to build their brands into household names.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2024. All rights reserved.

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