Instagram can be addictive in large part thanks to its visuals. In comparison to other social media apps, it probably takes the cake for best visual features from tiled feeds, stories, reels, and IGTV content that keep us hooked with every tap.
Creative business owners can use these features to set their business apart from competitors. Think of the visuals generated through Instagram as items in your store to lure customers. The idea is to make customers do a double take, or in virtual settings, scroll back up once they scroll past your profile.
But keep in mind that Instagram is not just for marketing. With the right mindset and tools, it can be the headquarters of a full-fledged online store complete with all the components that make up a traditional physical store.
If your business isn’t on Instagram yet then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. In February 2022, 19.3 million Filipinos were using the app, accounting for approximately 17% of the Philippines' population. Interestingly, most of them are aged 18 to 24—an age group with great spending power.
Want to start selling on the app now? Stick around to gain insights on building the parts that make up a great Instagram store.
First order of business is to craft your Instagram storefront.
This refers to choosing your profile photo and composing a well-crafted bio. Business owners should not take this step lightly as these components are what your customers will see first.
It’s true what they say: first impressions last. And if we were to compare this to real-world settings, your profile photo and bio is your facade—your first chance to convert a passerby into a customer.
It goes without saying that your profile photo should be on-brand. It should feature your business logo to make it easier for customers to identify your business.
Furthermore, to have the perfect Instagram bio for your business, you should clearly define your value proposition, highlight your brand voice and include a clear call to action. It should be able to capture your potential customers’ attention and convince them that you’re worth following.
Products displayed in a store drive conversions in brick-and-mortar retail. Mannequins, for instance, add value to retailers by drawing attention to must-haves in the shop. Haven’t you ever walked past a store and thought: “That shirt looks cute.”
For business owners on Instagram, products can be highlighted through curated posts, tailored stories and reels, and if you’re up to it, you can use the IGTV feature to share video content that's up to an hour long.
You’d want to focus on curating your feed though because this is one of the main things your customers will see upon visiting your profile on Instagram. It’s advisable to select a color palette and stick to it to give that sense of cohesiveness to your business.
For more interactive content, you can use reels. This feature was introduced to give users a way to create short, entertaining videos on Instagram. It’s similar to TikTok and has the potential to make your business an overnight sensation.
Stories, on the other hand, can be used for announcing product launches, as well as seasonal promos and discounts. This is a good strategy to get the word out considering stories have contributed to a 7-10 minute rise in the daily time spent by an average user of the app.
THE OPERATIONAL COGS
With the backbone of your business taken care of, all that’s needed is to get the operational aspects up and running.
Selling on Instagram without the operational cogs needed would be burdensome. This would require business owners to manually keep track of orders placed by customers and respond to a barrage of queries. Definitely not an ideal situation to be in as you could mix up orders and end up lagging behind.
ChatGenie became available on Instagram in early December and it has been operationalizing online stores since then. With ChatGenie, customers are able to browse through products, add to cart, check out, pay, and get their orders delivered all within a merchant’s Instagram page.
The entire process is streamlined making for a more effective store management experience for business owners and a more enjoyable shopping experience for customers.
In addition, what would normally be repetitive conversations about available products are simplified within the direct message feature on Instagram. There, merchants can answer questions about their product catalog while also giving customers a view of their carts and order history.
Don’t worry! You won’t end up coming across as a spammy chatbot since you’ll be able to set keywords to prompt specific actions with the ChatGenie Dashboard. You also won’t be hindered from communicating directly with customers so you can still talk to them like you would normally.
All things considered, Instagram can function like a regular store. The added bonus is, you can operate it from the comfort of your home. You don’t even have to worry about closing shop when the day ends.
You can also shop from the featured merchants' Mini App Online Store via Messenger here: Bibs Manila and XUGR.
Open your own ChatGenie-powered Instagram store now by availing our Starter Plan! Sign up here.