Influencers — and just about anyone else — can soon make their Instagram accounts shoppable

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Influencers — and just about anyone else — can soon make their Instagram accounts shoppable
Instagram; Paige Leskin/Business Insider
  • Since 2018, Instagram has let approved brands and businesses sell products right from their profiles with shoppable posts and checkout features.
  • Instagram announced Tuesday it was loosening the restrictions on who is eligible for Instagram Shopping.
  • Starting July 9, any Instagram user with a business account (rather than a personal account) — including influencers and small sellers — can apply to Instagram Shopping.
  • To be eligible, users have to comply with other criteria: That includes having a connected Facebook page, selling physical goods, and tagging products from a single website they sell from and personally own.

Millions 0f Instagram users will soon be eligible to make their posts shoppable and turn their accounts into small businesses.

Instagram announced Tuesday it will open up its Shopping features to a wider group, allowing everyone from influencers and small Etsy shop owners to sell products right off of their profile pages. Starting July 9, as long as you have a business account — rather than a personal account — you may be able to apply to use Instagram Shopping.

It's worth noting you have to apply, and be accepted, to take advantage of these Instagram Shopping features. Beyond having a business account (which you can switch your account to for free), Instagram requires accounts to "primarily" sell physical goods, and users must connect their account to a Facebook Page and Facebook's business manager. Under the new requirements, eligible accounts must link out to products on a website they both sell from and own.

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Today's expansion of the shoppable capabilities to more users could mean Instagram is trying to become a lucrative direct-to-consumer launchpad for influencers selling merchandise, one-person businesses starting out of their home, and even MLM sellers. If it's successful, Instagram could become a player in the industry, rivaling platforms like Etsy, Fanjoy, and Redbubble that independent sellers use.

This is the latest step Instagram is taking to turn its platform into a go-to place for brands, businesses, and influencers to make money. In a study published in late 2019, more than one-third of surveyed Instagram users said they had bought something directly from a shoppable ad on the platform. Brands have clamored to Instagram in recent years to take advantage of new e-commerce features on the platform that boasts well north of 1 billion users, as well as a heavy presence among Generation Z.

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Instagram first teased last year it was testing its shopping features with influencers and creators, allowing a select few to be able to link out to products in Stories and posts on their feeds and use the Checkout feature to purchase products directly within the app.

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Instagram debuted Shopping in 2018 as a way for users to browse, purchase, and order products from brands, exclusively, all without leaving the platform. This May, Instagram added Shops, which allows brands to build virtual storefronts into their accounts for an easier shopping experience.

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