Instagram has launched an updated listing of eligibility requirements for its shopping tools, which will enable it to open its eCommerce options up to more businesses and individual creators ahead of the broader roll out of its new Shops option.
As per Instagram:
"Whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merch or a food blogger expanding into your own cookware line, any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product can use shopping tags to drive people to their website to make a purchase."
The main change in Instagram's policy is the specification that the Instagram profile needs to be linked to an owned store or website.
"With this new policy, businesses must tag products on Instagram from a single website that they own and sell from, so that people have a consistent and trusted shopping experience."
In other words, you can't link to items on another platform, like RedBubble or Amazon - your items have to be on your own site. You can, however, connect through to your owned store via an approved eCommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, so long as it's connected to your Facebook account.
Instagram's also updating its sign-up flow, in order to make it easier for businesses to set-up their Instagram shopping tags, while it's also looking to improve its notification process for rejections of applications for Instagram Shopping:
"If a business is not approved, we offer a clear reason so they can take the necessary action or appeal."
Facebook announced the new Instagram and Facebook Shops back in May, with a view to expanding its eCommerce options in light of the impacts of the COVID-19 shutdowns.
But it's not just retailers that have been impacted by such - musicians, artists and various other creative professionals have also lost out on revenue generated via gigs, shows, markets and more. That's why Facebook is looking to open up its shopping options to as many business types as possible, and while not everyone will have their own eCommerce store to connect to, the range of options available is fairly comprehensive, and will provide a range of opportunities for many sellers.
That could also have a transformative effect on Instagram. Shopping tags have been present on the platform since 2016, so they're not likely to be a disruptive element, as such. But it could be the start of a whole new use case for Instagram, with people becoming increasingly accustomed to being able to purchase items based on posts and Stories as soon as they see them.
That could increase the impetus for more brands to list their items on the platform - and now, with these new requirements, it'll be easier to understand how to do so.