How to start an Instagram store

Jan 29, 2016
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Written by Ananya Singh

Instagram is one of the most widely used social media platforms in the world. Along with this has come opportunities for businesses to promote and sell their products on Instagram. In this article, we’ll tell you how you can start your own Instagram store.

If you’re also wondering what other types of businesses you could start, you can also check out our comprehensive list of business ideas.

Visual marketing

You can easily advertise your brand through using social media’s modern amenities. Applications such as Instagram can be used for more than sharing photos of your dinner – it serves as an advertising platform mimicking the audience diversity of using billboards, but -here’s the good part- without the cost!

According to Instagram’s’ case studies: one of Taiwan’s leading online fashion retailers had a 10% increase in their website’s traffic through advertising on Insta. While Ben&Jerry’s increased awareness about their new flavours by 17% and reach 9.8 million people in the US.

Finally, your ability to click indie-hipster photos could be earning you some serious money #21stcentury-perks. A more recent growing trend is people using Instagram to sell their clothes directly.

Instagram offers tips for managing your visual content.

Furthermore, hashtags like #ShopMyCloset and #instashop, which currently have 925,298 and 5,515,167 posts respectively, allow you to find an array of clothing items. So as a potential seller, you may wish to add those hashtags to your product posts. You must allow the buyers to be able to comment on the posts, so you can know that they wish to purchase a product. You must work out how you will be finalising the purchase.

What does it mean to have “Instagram store”?

Instagram has transformed into an advertising platform. This has resulted in sellers using Insta to promote their products to the masses and hope that it will lead to sales.

Whilst it is worshipped in the media industry, Insta lacks a proper “buy” button that can be used by the customers to purchase a product they see in a post without actually leaving Instagram. Brands like Marc Jacobs and Chanel use insta to showcase their products rather than selling the product. However, there are ways business people use Insta to sell their products too.


Usually, services like Paypal are a method of taking payments. It is wise to set up an account with a reliable and trustworthy service that you and your customers will feel safe using. You may wish to ask your customers to leave their Paypal email address in the comments of a post as an indicator of their wish to purchase the product. Also, you may wish to leave your email address in your bio so the customers can contact you.

Note: Paypal keeps a portion of each invoice. Keep that in mind when pricing your items.

It is also a good idea to make a post about your shopping policies that includes information about shipping and returns.

Think about this: if you are serious about your online business, you may wish to consider making a website for your products towards which the customers can be directed, when they wish to purchase a product. You can have the link to your website in your bio. It will make the process of online transactions easier and more reliable for your customers.

Possible legal requirements for selling on Insta

When selling on Insta you may be wondering whether you need an ABN, we got you covered. The main question you need to ask yourself is whether your online store is a business or a hobby?

If you are dedicated to your online selling business (you even made a website for it) then an ABN is a must for you. It is important that you monitor the profits you are making. If your turnover is more than $75,000 a year (before GST) then you need an ABN.

Whilst anyone can apply for an ABN the guide mentions that you are entitled to an ABN only if you are:

  • carrying on an enterprise in Australia
  • in the course of carrying on an enterprise make supplies connected with Australia or
  • have undertaken sufficient activities to commence an enterprise
  • able to demonstrate that you have a business structure in place

Make sure to check your eligibility before applying for an ABN. You may also be required to register for GST. For further information, check LawPath’s guide on whether you need an ABN to sell online.

Don’t forget to comply with the T&C’s

Whether advertising or selling on Instagram, remember that Instagram has rules and policies that you must abide by. One such policy outlines: “You agree that you will not solicit, collect or use the login credentials of other Instagram users”. If you are conducting transactions via your online store and you are collecting the information of your customers, you may also want to consider creating a privacy policy to set out how your business will ethically and securely collect that data.

Create Your First Privacy Policy for Free

Create an account now to customise, print and download your First Privacy Policy in minutes.

Whilst according to the Australian privacy law, most businesses are not required to have a privacy policy, it is good business practice as it helps to create trust in your brand.

Finally, Insta’s policy states you must “Exercise common sense and your best judgment when interacting with others…”. However, Insta takes no liability if you incur damages through following a third-party’s link on Instagram.

Unsure where to start? Contact 1800LAWPATH to find the best lawyer for you to explain the complexities of social media law and help answer your legal questions. Or you can consult LawPath website for customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote.

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