Instagram’s New Commerce Rules For Businesses Are Now Live
A wider range of small businesses and digital creators will now be able to sell on Instagram thanks to some new and looser commerce eligibility requirements that went into effect today.
These new eligibility rules for Instagram Shopping applicants were first announced via a blog post on June 23, but they were held from going live until July 9.
Chief among the new requirements: Businesses will need to provide a website where they own and sell “at least one eligible product” in order to use shopping tags on Instagram.
While this excludes sellers who solely use third-party marketplaces like Etsy, or run sales through an affiliate network like Amazon Associates, businesses that don’t normally sell physical products but do have an online following will now be able to take advantage of Instagram for eCommerce revenue.
Per Instagram, the rules include a few more requirements:
- Accounts must have demonstrated trustworthiness through avenues such as “an authentic, established presence” or by “maintaining a sufficient follower base.”
- Accounts must operate out of a supported market.
- Product information must avoid misleading pricing or availability information. In addition, refund and return policies must be stated.
Beyond the eligibility requirements, Instagram is also updating its onboarding process for new business accounts as well as alerting old accounts to the revised rules.
New Rules Aim To Benefit Small Creators
In its announcement post, Instagram specifically mentioned small-time creators as benefiting the most from the new commerce requirements:
Whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merchandise, 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.
All told, smaller businesses that don’t specifically sell physical goods will be able to better tap into their Instagram followers for additional revenue. Previously, businesses that wanted to sell products via Instagram Shopping had to “primarily” peddle physical products, according to the marketplace’s old seller requirements.
In addition, these new rules come at a time when creators and social media influencers are being taken more seriously not only as professionals but as small business owners too.
“2020 will be a watershed year for investment in businesses around the creator economy,” the CEO of the creator networking platform Influence.co, Neil Robertson, told TechCrunch in November 2019. “Influencers and creators are small businesses and if you think about all the things that small businesses need these days to succeed, they will be repurposed for the influencer marketing space.”
More recently, San Francisco startup Karat announced last month the launch the Karat Black Card, which is aimed specifically at those with large swaths of social media followers.
“This is a new type of business, a $15 to $20 billion industry, and there are millions of creators and they make lots of money,” Karat co-founder Will Kim told Forbes. Kim’s fellow co-founder, Eric Wei, added in an interview with Crunchbase News that influencers have “the same business pain points as everybody else.”
Of course, Instagram is part of Facebook, which has come under fire recently for a lack of action towards civil rights injustice. Dozens of companies have signed on to boycott the social media behemoth’s ad platform in response to these claims.
However, for many small businesses and creators, Facebook and its services serve as a lifeblood to reach customers — per Bloomberg, research by Deutsche Bank shows that 76% of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from small- and medium-sized businesses. Meanwhile, Instagram can be quite lucrative for eCommerce shops — a 2019 survey by VidMob found that 34% of Instagram users had made a purchase through the social media platform.
Integrate Your Business With Instagram Shopping
Is your small business set up to sell on Instagram yet? If not, check out how you can reach a wider audience by following Merchant Maverick’s guide to using shoppable Instagram posts.
For those just beginning to tackle the wide world of eCommerce, give our guide to building an online store a peruse.