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With over two billion monthly active users, Instagram currently ranks as the fourth most popular social networking platform in the world. Its popularity makes it an attractive platform for savvy business owners who want to drive sales.

According to a 2023 HubSpot Instagram engagement report, up to 79% of businesses leverage the power of Instagram’s shopping tools. You, too, can use these tools to sell items online and boost your social media presence.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to sell on Instagram. We’ll show you how to create an Instagram business account and set up Instagram Shopping for your small business.

Let’s dive in.

Benefits of selling on Instagram

Instagram is one of the world’s leading social media platforms, and for good reason. It offers unique shopping features to help you achieve your sales and marketing goals.

Here’s a glimpse at the primary benefits you can enjoy from selling on this platform:

Brand exposure

Internet users spend an average of 3.46 hours on their phones every day. Being a mobile-first and highly visual platform, Instagram gets a chunk of this time.

Whether you’re running a small- or large-scale business, Instagram allows you to reach a global audience, giving your brand the visibility it needs to succeed.

Targeted advertising

Instead of displaying your ads to the general public, Instagram allows you to focus on your target audience. This ensures your ads are seen by people who are more likely to buy what you’re selling.

You can create targeted ads based on specific criteria such as age, gender, location, behavior and interests. This leads to higher conversion rates and increases your return on investment (ROI).

Ecommerce features

Instagram shops let businesses tell their brand stories and drive product discovery. You can create a shop and add product catalogs and collections, all within the Instagram app.

With Instagram Checkout enabled, customers can shop directly on your business profile without leaving the app. This convenience makes online shopping less of a chore and more of an exciting experience.


Instagram is a free video and picture-sharing platform, so you don’t have to pay anything to start selling products or services. However, if you enable Instagram Checkout, you’ll need to pay 5% per shipment or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8 or less.

So, unlike other platforms that charge monthly subscription fees, Instagram allows you to cut down on startup costs, helping you run a profitable eCommerce business.

Analytics tool

With Instagram’s built-in analytics tool, keeping tabs on your performance has never been easier. This tool gives you an overview of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as estimated reach, impressions, accounts engaged and profile activity.

The insights you gain from this tool will help you understand your audience so you can optimize your marketing strategy for more conversions.

Eligibility requirements for Instagram commerce

Eligibility requirements for selling on Instagram.

With fewer barriers to entry, Instagram commerce is an excellent option if you’re looking to strengthen your online presence and boost sales. However, you must follow specific rules for selling on Instagram.

Comply with Instagram’s policies

Instagram has policies that guide users’ activities to create a safe online community for everyone. Take a moment to review Instagram’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines before you start selling on this platform. You should only set up an Instagram storefront if you agree with these policies. Violating any of these policies may cause your account to be disabled.

Represent your business and domain

Instagram requires linking your shop to your website for direct purchase. Your business account must represent the website you’re linking to. To confirm this, Instagram will ask you to verify website ownership. Although domain verification is a multi-step process, you should be fine if you have access to your website’s admin panel.

Be in a supported geographic region

While Instagram Shopping is an innovative feature, it isn’t available in all markets. To access this feature, your Instagram business account must be located in one of the 20+ supported markets for Instagram Shopping. However, Instagram Checkout is only available for businesses in the United States.

Demonstrate trustworthiness

To protect its customers and reputation, Instagram disables accounts that are used for fraudulent activities. Demonstrate trustworthiness by delivering on your promises, selling quality products and providing excellent customer service.

Provide accurate information

Accuracy can help you build authenticity. It’s one of the strategies you can use to demonstrate trustworthiness and drive sales. You can provide accurate information by ensuring your product descriptions, videos and photos reflect the actual condition of your products.

What to sell on Instagram

Things you can sell on Instagram

You can sell most physical goods on Instagram. However, Meta — Instagram’s parent company — provides a great guide on things you can’t sell on Instagram, like alcohol and adult products.

Now that you know all the rules for selling on Instagram, here are some of the most profitable items to sell:

Phone accessories

The global population of smartphone users is estimated at 4.6 billion in 2023 and is expected to surpass 5.1 billion by 2028. This makes phone accessories a profitable niche market. Phone covers, selfie sticks, screen protectors and chargers are high-demand accessories to sell on Instagram.


Everyone needs clothes, so whether you decide to sell new or second-hand clothes, you’ll find consistent demand for these products. You can decide to sell sportswear, suits, blazers, sneakers and even seasonal clothes like swimsuits and holiday-themed dresses.


People buy gifts on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas. There’s an endless list of gift items you can sell as long as the products you choose aren’t banned or illegal. Popular gifts include flowers or branded items like cards, t-shirts and water bottles.

Fitness accessories

Fitness accessories you can sell on Instagram.

With more people working out from their homes, the demand for fitness accessories continues to surge. From yoga mats to resistance bands and everything in between, there’s no shortage of accessories to sell to fitness enthusiasts.


Services are an excellent way to create a recurring stream of income without holding inventory. Unlike physical goods, you don’t need to look for suppliers. Passion and expertise are all you need to get started. High-demand services to sell on Instagram include web design, consulting and marketing.

Baby products

UNICEF reveals that over 134 million babies were born globally in 2023, with 3.7 million births in the United States. These stats indicate the evergreen nature of baby products. Products you can sell in this niche include toys, diapers, strollers and clothing.


As people move into new homes and offices or renovate their existing spaces, the demand for new furniture increases. Beds, couches, tables and closets are only a few examples of profitable furniture to sell on Instagram.

Kitchen accessories

A kitchen is one of the most important rooms in modern homes, making kitchen accessories high-demand items. Popular products in this niche include knives, tongs, chopping boards, measuring cups and whisks.

Organic skin care products

Organic skin care products contain natural ingredients grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or herbicides. These products don’t cause skin damage or irritation, making them highly sought after. Examples include organic lip balms, facial oils, moisturizers and exfoliating scrubs.


Artworks are decorative items that add visual appeal to homes and commercial spaces. There are numerous artworks to sell, as long as your chosen products don’t violate the rules for selling on Instagram. Artworks to sell include figurines, paintings, stained glass designs and sculptures.

How to sell on Instagram

How to sell on Instagram.

Instagram connects you with a global audience interested in your offerings, helping you maximize sales. However, to increase your success rate as a business owner, you must follow the right approach to Instagram commerce.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Choose products to sell

The products you sell determine your overall profitability. While there’s a long list of things to sell online, you must ensure the products you choose are in high demand.

Here are other factors to consider when choosing new products to sell on Instagram.

  • Expertise: Choosing products or services you’re knowledgeable about helps you position yourself as an expert in your field.
  • Demand and competition: Consider the market demand for the things you want to sell. Items with high demand and low competition generally fetch more profit than low-demand items.
  • Niche: Instead of serving the general public, focus on specific products or services that serve a smaller market segment. For instance, focus on shoes instead of all fashion products.

2. Create a business account

To create an Instagram business account, you must create a regular account and convert it to a business account.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to your Instagram profile by tapping your profile photo in the bottom right corner.
  • Tap the hamburger menu (i.e., the three horizontal bars) in the top right corner of your profile.
  • Open Settings and privacy > Account type and tools > Switch to professional account.
  • Choose a category that best suits your business, then select Business.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your Instagram business profile is ready.

3. Build your following

How to build a following on Instagram.

Growing your Instagram following requires hard work and consistency. In addition to creating a content calendar, here are other best practices to help you accelerate your growth:

  • Optimize your account by uploading an eye-catching profile picture and writing a compelling bio.
  • Create and maintain a consistent content calendar.
  • Engage with customers by responding to comments and direct messages (DMs), commenting on their posts and reposting user-generated content.
  • Market your Instagram account offline and online to create brand awareness.
  • Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility.

4. Set up your shop and create shoppable posts

Shops are accessible to businesses in supported markets. However, from April 24, 2024, shops without Checkout with Facebook or Instagram will no longer be accessible.

Here’s how to set up your Instagram shop:

  • Create a Facebook page and catalog.
  • Visit Commerce Manager to create your shop. If you’re already selling on an eCommerce platform, click Sync a partner platform to import and sync your products.
  • Choose your checkout method > Next.
  • Select your Instagram business account or create a new one, then click Next.
  • Select your product catalog (this step will only be visible if you already have a product catalog).
  • Review your shop details and click Finish setup.

Once you’ve set up your shop, follow our in-depth Instagram shopping guide to create shoppable Instagram posts.

5. Enable Instagram Checkout

Instagram Checkout enables customers to buy directly from your Instagram shop instead of your business website. However, this option is only available in the U.S.

Here’s how to enable Instagram Checkout:

  • Navigate to Commerce Manager and select your shop.
  • Click Settings on the left-side menu.
  • Choose Checkout method on the bottom right side.
  • Choose the Facebook and Instagram Checkout method.
  • Click Change > Confirm.

Once you’re done, your checkout method will be updated immediately.

Best practices for selling on Instagram

Best practices for selling on Instagram.

By following the right steps, you can set up an Instagram shop if you’re eligible. However, if you want to accelerate your brand’s growth and overall profitability, here are the best practices to implement.

Use high-quality visuals

A high-quality visual on Instagram generally conforms to the following standards:

  • It truly reflects your business (e.g., actual product images).
  • Images are in the recommended resolution, and reels meet Instagram’s reel upload requirements.
  • Visuals are taken in well-lit environments so that the products are visible.

Visuals that meet these standards are more appealing to Instagram users and are more likely to attract customers, ultimately increasing engagement rates.

Use relevant hashtags

According to a 2023 HubSpot report, hashtags account for 19% of the impressions brands receive on Instagram. Before you use hashtags, conduct keyword research to ensure your chosen hashtags will drive traffic to your post. More importantly, ensure it’s not banned by Instagram.

You can check if a hashtag is banned by typing it into the search bar. When it appears on the results, click on it. Banned hashtags will not have a follow button but will have a message about recent posts that used it being hidden.

Our post on how to use social media hashtags has great pointers for using hashtags on Instagram.

Publish engaging reels

The reels algorithm doesn’t operate on the same premise as the Instagram feed. Reels aren’t bound by time, which means a reel you created last week can blow up two months from now, since it’ll keep showing up on people’s feeds based on interest.

Reels have a limit of 90 seconds — make each second count. To make your reels more engaging, use trending music, write compelling captions, encourage audience interaction and use appealing visuals.

Share Instagram stories with clickable links

Some stickers allow your Instagram stories to become clickable. Using these stickers, you can link a story to a product page on your website. This way, potential customers are only a few clicks away from placing an order.

Market your brand

How to market your brand on Instagram.

Influencer marketing and paid ads are the most effective ways to market your brand on Instagram. Instagram influencers have a massive social media following and can sway their followers’ purchasing decisions.

In addition to influencer marketing, consider including Instagram ads in your social media marketing strategy. Instagram helps you reach people with specific interests or behaviors through targeted ads, increasing your chances of making a sale.

Tell behind-the-scenes stories

Sharing behind-the-scenes activities enhances trust by enlightening customers on your hard work to bring them the products they love. These stories add a human touch to your business, making it easier for customers to connect with you emotionally.

Write a compelling bio

The Instagram bio space lets you describe your business. In just a few words, you can tell your customers what your business is about and how best they can engage with you. Adding your store URL to your bio lets users visit your website directly from your Instagram profile.

Post user-generated content

User-generated content is a brand-specific image or video created by an unpaid user. When potential customers see actual buyers using your products, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.

Many customers will let you share their content on your page if you seek their permission. Always seek the customers’ permission before posting their content to avoid legal issues.

Final thoughts: How to sell on Instagram

With billions of global users, Instagram is one of the best social networking platforms for selling products online. To increase your chances of success on Instagram, build a fast-loading website that reflects your brand’s personality.

WooCommerce hosting with Bluehost allows you to set up a functional eCommerce website that prioritizes speed and security, getting your business off the ground with minimal fees.

Sign up for our WooCommerce hosting to build a user-friendly website that delivers a superior shopping experience.

How to sell on Instagram: FAQs

Is it legal to sell on Instagram?

Yes. Selling on Instagram is entirely legal. But unlike traditional businesses, you don’t need a license to sell. You only need to follow all the rules for selling on Instagram. Otherwise, your account might get disabled.

How much do I need to sell on Instagram?

Selling on Instagram is free. However, sourcing products to sell involves financial resources — unless you opt for dropshipping, which doesn’t require you to hold any inventory.

Why did Instagram reject my shop?

If Instagram rejects your shop, you may not be eligible to use this feature. Read through Instagram’s commerce eligibility requirements to learn about the conditions you must meet before you can start selling on the platform.

Do I need a business license to sell on Instagram?

No. You don’t need a business license to sell on Instagram. However, Instagram requires you to adhere to its terms of service and community guidelines. This ensures a positive shopping experience and provides a safe place for other Instagram users.

How do I get my account verified?

You can verify your Instagram account by submitting a request for verification. The verification team will review your request and determine if you qualify. Once your account is verified, you’ll receive a ‘verified’ badge that demonstrates your authenticity.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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