What if I handed you free access to a platform hundreds of thousands of targeted potential customers for your ecommerce shop?
And what if those targeted potential customers were some of the most engaged online?
And what if I told you that you could launch and grow your ecommerce business without:
Well have I ever got good news for you, friend!
This actually exists. In fact, you probably already know about this platform. You might even use it yourself. It’s Instagram.
And nope, this isn’t one of those “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” situations. Instagram is proven to be one of the most lucrative social platforms available online for retailers, ecommerce entrepreneurs and online business owners.
Need more convincing?
In this article, I’ll introduce you to 9 ecommerce businesses who have launched, grown, and even sold directly from Instagram. They’ve used the social network to drive massive traffic, sales, and brand awareness for their products.
Some of these businesses are small with few connections. Some are larger (and you may even be familiar with them). But they all have one thing in common: Instagram is a huge driver for their business.
And it can be a huge driver for yours, too. And I’m setting you up with all the tools and resources you need, 100% free.
Get our FREE swipe file to drive massive traffic and sales from Instagram, including our eBook and bonus material like our Instagram marketing plan and SOPs. Click here for the file.
But first things’ first. Let’s go over how they use the platform.
Unlike with many other social networks, Instagram marketing is unique and formulaic.
There are a few things that successful Instagram-focused ecommerce stores do to drive sales, traffic and brand awareness, and the best part is they’re not relying on Instagram ads.
Here’s what they all have in common.
When Instagrammers are browsing or searching hashtags, they’re not just going to follow or buy from anyone.
So if your bio looks bare or boring, they’ll more than likely weed your shop out.
Instead of letting your bio fall flat, create an attention grabbing bio that also gives your visitors a call to action.
Use emojis for a pop of color and to create lines of sight, use social proof like @ShopMatina has done (“The fastest growing online store featuring world-class apparel by Filipino designers”) and if you’re really serious, offer your followers discounts and brag about free shipping or any other perks you offer.
Your bio holds the one golden opportunity for a link on Instagram, so use it wisely.
Link back to your products, pages you’re featuring in your call to action posts(we’ll go over that next) and sales.
Your bio is dynamic on Instagram. It’s not a tree. You can and should change it often depending on whether you have a promotion, sale, or new products.
Once you’ve set your bio, you can start to create revenue-generating, sales-getting posts.
Other than one silly blunder I’ll get into in a moment, the number one mistake most people make when they’re promoting their ecommerce shops from Instagram is that they don’t do much promo at all.
They plop their shop’s URL into their bio link, and pull a #micdrop. Then, they wonder why it’s not working.
Here’s the thing:
Most people will see your bio only once or twice -- usually just when they decide to follow you. So while it’s important to have a compelling bio, the majority of the time your followers will just interact with you when you show up in their feeds.
That’s why you need to be at least a little more aggressive if you want to get serious about driving sales from Instagram:
Introducing the Call to Action post.
This is a term I learned from Nathan in his Instagram Domination course. A call to action post, is a type of Instagram post that is published for the purpose of driving sales and traffic:
Within the CTA post, you’ll publish a picture of your product, followed by a description that tells your followers to buy the item in the post.
Use your bio link to post a link directly to the the product in your store, and also use a link shortener to include the link in the post itself, directing your followers to copy and paste it or click your bio link.
A well-crafted call to action post can drive a significant amount of sales… especially if you don’t neglect my next point.
Can you imagine signing up for an email list where the business owner only sent you emails about their products?
You’ve actually probably been on a couple lists like this. Companies like Walmart and other gigantic retailers do this regularly. They also have incredibly low clickthrough and email open rates.
If you only post call to action posts on Instagram, that’s what you’re doing to your followers. Your Instagram audience isn’t following you to be bombarded with your products. They also sometimes want to see other content.
Create other engaging content that is related to your brand. Even gigantic retailers do this, like Madewell:
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a following like Madewell, your CTA posts should only make up around a quarter of your overall posts.
You’ll see how this worked for @MyTruWood to drive massive sales and traffic from Instagram by scattering their CTA posts into their regular content.
As you grow, you can get away with increasing that number to around half. Start small and if you’re jonesing for more CTA posts, satisfy that craving with my next tip.
Instagram makes it easy to collaborate with other accounts, and it’s this collaboration that can bring you the most benefit for the least amount of time.
Think about it: by collaborating with an account that reaches tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of targeted potential customers allows you to reach a hugely engaged subsection of your audience.
And on Instagram, that all comes for a fairly low cost -- or even free.
So identify some accounts that reach your target customers, and work with them to either:
For example, let’s say you sold dog toys in your ecommerce shop. Working with Instagrammers like @ThePupZone and @DogLoversClub would allow you to cast a net to hundreds of thousands of people who could be interested in your product.
Working with them for a small fee (usually less than $100) to publish a call to action post in their feeds can result in a lot of sales and followers for your own account.
As the owner of Coconut Bowls said,
“Working with influencers has been extremely valuable for us, where we send product to Instagram users to create great content for us. We don’t push them to promote or post about our products, rather we request that they simply take some photos of them using our Coconut bowls and send them to us. We have scaled this strategy as we have grown, we started working with 1-2 influencers per week, and now we’re doing 10 or more per week.”
But you probably work better with examples. I know I do. So now that I’ve shown you how ecommerce stores get traffic and sales from Instagram, I’m going to introduce you to just a handful of the businesses who use these methods (and how they use them).
You want an Instagram success story? I’ll give you an Instagram success story.
And on his very first day in business in 2014, Marcus saw sales of $5,000.
The best part is? He had no influence, no previous sales, and he didn’t even spend money on advertising.
Now, Marcus’ business is much larger than $5,000 in daily revenue with over 300,000 total followers and an international presence, all thanks to Instagram.
Posting a mixture of lifestyle content related to Portland culture, shots of customers wearing their products, and call to action posts promoting their gear, @PortlandGear dominates Instagram ecommerce:
@PortlandGear sells their product through direct call to action posts, announcing to their followers their pop-up shops and sales, and sending traffic to their new brick and mortar store.
They’re no longer 100% online, so if you’re not relating to this, I’m sure you’ll like my next example.
Want to start an ecommerce shop but have no idea where to start with marketing?
This next business, Coconut Bowls might be able to provide some inspiration. When the owner, Jake initially launched, he wanted to be able to find and show his products to potential customers without investing in paid ads. So…
“For the first 6 months, Instagram was the single marketing channel we used and we did not spend a dollar on advertising other than shipping costs to send product to people of influence within our target market.”
And this strategy seems to be working out for them. The account drives 3000 unique visitors to their site, and is our highest converting traffic source:
And when they do collaborations with bloggers and influencers, they can have more than 1000 visits from Instagram in a single day. One collaboration resulted in 60 orders overnight.
@CoconutBowls posts a call to action in every post to visit their website. When they collaborate with influencers, they request the influencer educate their audience about the brand.
“This is where many brands go wrong, they think that a photo or tag alone will drive new business for them, however it’s in the education and information that really drives action from people.”
This proves that you don’t have to cast your marketing net across every channel available. You can focus on Instagram marketing and still see a ton of success.
If you think Instagram is best left to the women’s clothing stores and jewelry shops, you’d be surprised.
They post product images to drive sales to their own feeds, but also leverage influencer accounts to drive sales by providing them with the image, description and a landing page.
For example, in this post, they worked with @Whole30Approved to post a giveaway with a discount:
Which resulted in 374 visits and 21 sales with an average order value of about $95.
Not bad, right?
When they work with influential accounts, they make sure the account is highly relevant to their brand (like @Whole30Approved) and post an engaging photo with a detailed description.
The best part is, working with these brands is far less expensive yet more effective than many other paid marketing channels.
Among excuses not to try Instagram to market your ecommerce shop, this one’s the most popular:
I don’t have a lot of followers on Instagram!
But Prep Obsessed kills that excuse for you right away. Prep Obsessed is a brand that started on Facebook with the Facebook auctions feature. But since then, decided to try out Instagram and ran a test ad to their 1,700 followers.
Even though the company had 25,000 Facebook fans, the post on Instagram brought in nearly as many sales as the Facebook post - falling short by only 10.
Prep Obsessed has used Soldsie, which is an app that allows you to increase conversions from
The good news is that it’s not hard to scale. You can rapidly grow your Instagram following (@PrepObsessed now has over 23,000 followers) to make even more sales, far easier than you can grow your Facebook or Twitter presence (and with far more benefit).
Want to sell online, but don’t have the technical know-how to start a website?
If even starting a Shopify store sounds complicated, and you don’t want to handle inventory, you can still get creative and sell directly off of Instagram without even bothering to set up a shop or deal with shipping like @Noihsaf.Bazaar did.
Noihsaf Bazaar helps people sell their high-quality used designer items and charges a small selling fee for each.
They post product directly to their feed:
And collect the fees via PayPal:
Creating an easy, hands-off system for ecommerce selling.
So far, I’ve shown you ecommerce entrepreneurs who sell location specific gear, bone broth, handmade wooden goods,and new and vintage clothing.
We’ve got a pretty decent spread as far as products go, but this ecommerce business is unique:
They generate more followers and feature their products and services by reposting before/after photos their customers post
With one post alone generating over $10,000 worth of revenue (and @LimelightExtensions only had a couple thousand followers at the time!), they post sales, discounts and product images to their feed and drive their followers to make an appointment at their brick and mortar salon.
There’s a silly assumption many people make about Instagram, and that’s that it’s for women only.
I’m about to debunk that myth. Because even men’s products do well on Instagram.
Like CIRCULR, a watch brand that showcases their products through Instagram:
And happen to sell both products for men and women.
Previous to starting CIRCULR, the owner owned one of the largest ecommerce agencies in Europe. He watched marketing trends rise and fall but has never seen anything as powerful as Instagram for building a brand, with clients who used Instagram to replace PR and were doing over $10 million from Instagram alone.
CIRCULR uses both product photography and video to promote their products and drive traffic to their shop for sales:
As Danny Buck, CEO told me:
“Growth will occur naturally from exceptional content. If you create something remarkable, it will gain in popularity and spread itself. A fake follower won’t buy from you so it’s pointless. Let people learn about you and follow you for the story you tell.”
There are a few different industries that do really well on creative platforms like Instagram. These industries or niches tend to be visual.
It makes sense, too. Feature appealing photography on your Instagram feed captures the attention of your followers and stands out among a sea of iPhone selfies.
That means that weddings, travel, food, pets and babies can stand to do very well on Instagram. As you’ve seen in earlier examples, you don’t have to have uber-professional product photography to win with Instagram, but it definitely helps.
The company uses a mixture of product images, lifestyle posts and even cute quotes their customers have submitted to boost their presence and sell their product on Instagram.
80% of their sales isn’t a bad number. What could you do with 80% more sales?
When the brand TruWood wanted to level up their marketing efforts, they went straight to Instagram, bringing in close to $1M in sales primarily through Instagram in 12 months.
Now, around 35% of their sales and traffic comes from their Instagram account.
They turned to Instagram for two reasons:
WIth every post, their goal is to get people to go from Instagram to their website, so we made use of the only place you can place a link to your website: the bio section of their page.
“Every post we made had a reminder to our followers that the link to our website was in the bio.”
They’d incorporate special discounts for influencers and “Instagram only” sales which encouraged followers to turn into customers.
“It takes a follower time to make a purchase, so our strategy was to gain followers and push them towards a sale over a longer period of time.”
They did so by investing in great photography and posting other content that resonated with their brand as well:
Every so often, they’d post a call to action post, which is where they drove most of their sales from.
Whether you decide to focus on Instagram to drive sales to your ecommerce store or would rather stick with Facebook or Twitter, there’s one thing you must to do succeed:
Go all in with just one social platform.
You’re the CEO, the CMO, and the CFO of your business. You don’t have unlimited time and attention to divide between Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, and anything else that happens to come out.
There’s a quote that says: “The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.”
Instagram is one of the most worthwhile, profitable social media channels to target for ecommerce businesses, but if you choose to run with it, you need to commit.
And I’m setting you up with all the tools and resources you need to do so. 100% free.
Get our FREE swipe file to drive massive traffic and sales from Instagram, including our eBook and bonus material like our Instagram marketing plan and SOPs. Click here to get it.
It’s that easy. You can install Sumo for free and get results in a matter of minutes.