February 10, 2014

Tips on Starting an Instagram Shop

As promised I finally got around to writing this post for ya'll. I shared how I like to sell so I can buy a couple posts ago and how I sell my kids clothes on instagram. I have been selling on IG for a year now and although I'm NO expert I'd like to share a few tips for those of you who are thinking about opening up an IG shop. Let's get started!

ONE// WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Of course you will need an instagram account to sell. I suggest you create a separate account from your personal one to sell that way your followers who aren't interested won't unfollow you and you won't be cluttering their their feed. Think of a name you would like for your shop and go ahead and create the account. You will also need the following:

-Shipping Scale
I STRONGLY recommend this because it is WAY cheaper to ship using paypal/usps rather than going to the post office. I purchased my scale on Amazon, it was about $17 and it's been very handy. You can find the scale I purchased here

-Poly Mailers
These mailers are perfect because they're lightweight and durable, I bought these on Ebay. I like 10x13 because they can be folded down for smaller items. Anything that is too heave or over 13oz I usually ship priority and use flat rate boxes. 

-Printer
Again shipping using paypal is much cheaper and more convenient. You will need a printer to print your labels.

-Paypal Account
This one is obvious since I've been mentioning it but I thought I would add it on the list just in case. You will NEED a paypal account in order to sell on IG. 

TWO// TAKING + EDITING PHOTOS
Once you gather what you need and you have your pile of items you would like to sell you will need to take pictures of these items. I like to use a plain white background for this so I just use a white curtain panel, lay it on the floor and use it as a background for my photos. I used to just lay them on the floor but now I prefer a white background instead. It's totally up to you but I find that it is easier to edit my photos this way. Once you figure out what you would like for your background it's time for pictures! I suggest you take a picture of everything in a nice and organized pile to use as a preview of what you will be selling. Here is a picture of some items I just recently sold...
 Moving on to editing!
Apps I use:

-Pic Tap Go
Seriously the best photo editing app in my opinion! I love it! I use this to brighten my photos for my shop. Here is a before + after of a picture I took of one of the dresses I sold...
-Phonto
I use this to add text to my photos and create graphics. 
THREE// POSTING
Once you have taken all of your pictures and they are all edited, it is time to post! If you are a new shop I suggest you wait to get a good number of followers before posting. 

A couple posts or graphics that are good to have:

-Bio/Photo
I would post a photo of you, your family or your kiddos and write an intro so people know who they are shopping from. 

-Shop Policies
Make a list of them. Look through other shops and see what theirs are and you can get an idea from there. 

-Feedback
This graphic is great so once you sell and ship your items people can come back and tell you what they thought. Other potential shoppers might look through it and see that you are a reliable shop and feel more confident to purchase something from you.

It's good to have a decent amount of followers before posting that way you have a greater chance of selling your items. In order to get more followers you can post a photo of a preview of the items you will be selling and say you will post at 500 followers or so. Then start following other shops! Some of them will notice and be kind enough to share with their followers. You can also do SHARE FOR SHARES which are just that, you share someone's shop and they share yours. Keep an eye out for shops who offer them and jump in when you can. I find I sell a lot more when I post in the afternoons but I've also had successful posts in the morning as well. Make sure you ask if there is anyone who would like a "TAG" when you post that means you tag those people right before you begin so that they get alerted and are ready to shop! 

When posting make sure to have the following info for each of your items...
-Price
-Does it include shipping? If not how much is shipping?
-Condition
-Size
-Brand

FOUR// PRICING + INVOICING
Prices are tricky. I can't really tell you HOW MUCH to charge. I usually just think "what would I like to pay for this?" and then add about $3 for shipping. Again pricing is different so make sure to look around and see what other IG shops are charging for items similar to what you will post. 
You can send invoices through Paypal. Once someone leaves their paypal e-mail on your post you can send an invoice. I don't really have much time to get into detail of HOW exactly to send an invoice. It's not very complicated but it's good to familiarize yourself with it before actually sending your first invoice.

FIVE// SHIPPING
Again shipping through Paypal is the way to go! So much cheaper and you can easily track everything you send. You can also schedule a pick up so you don't even have to leave your home. If you have never shipped through paypal before make sure to check out this tutorial which is VERY helpful.

SIX// HOW TO STAY ORGANIZED
Ok so running an IG shop takes time but it is worth it. I have made good money that I wouldn't have made by selling on Ebay or my local children's consignment shop. Like anything if you want it to be successful you need to invest in it and do it well. Now I don't post every week or every month for that matter because I sell when my kids outgrow things, it is not a business for me. It's more of a "I'm gonna sell so that I can buy the kids more clothes" thing. So as the kids outgrow their clothes I start making piles. When I have a good sized pile I get ready to sell. I take just one day to organize my piles, now I don't take ALL day just when I find time. Then another day I take my pictures + edit and then the next day I sell. I take it a step by day so I don't feel overwhelmed. That is the way I stay organized. I ship just once a week so I don't spend every single day printing labels and packing stuff. What works for me may not work for you but once you begin to sell you'll learn what works for you.

I hope these tips come in handy for those of you who've been thinking about opening an IG shop! 
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16 comments:

  1. I had no idea you could sell on instagram. Awesome!!!

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  2. This comes at perfect timing for me! I just opened a sale account @tmgcloset and am hoping to grow my followers and start posting! We'll see how it all goes :) Thanks for all the great tips! I'm ordering those poly mailers now!

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  3. Do you offer/recommend tracking? I know when I started selling on Etsy, I had several people claim to not have gotten items (even though they posted pictures holding their banners!!!) and I was forced to issue a refund.

    Thoughts?

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  4. I'm planning to launch an IG shop soon, so this is very helpful - thanks Cindy! I recently started following your shop and didn't realize you had a blog until today. Great timing for me to discover this! Thanks for sharing your tips. :)

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  5. This was so helpful! Thank you :) Hopefully my HomeSweetHofmann IG will grow and flourish once I put this tips into action!

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  6. This was very helpful !! thank you !!! I'm opening my Ig shop hopefully really soon ! I had a question when opening a Paypal account should it be a personal or business one? Thank you!

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  7. Thank you for the info. Soooo helpful! I am opening my silver jewelry shop Silverquest soon! I will totally benefit from all of the tips here. So blessed you shared them with us!

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  8. Thank you for the info. Soooo helpful! I am opening my silver jewelry shop Silverquest soon! I will totally benefit from all of the tips here. So blessed you shared them with us!

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  9. How do I get to your Instragram shop? You need a link from you blog page. I didn't know that Instagram had shops on it. This Social Media is on going. Always something new. Thanks for your simple, easy tutorials.

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  10. I'm back with another question. You said it is best to have a good number of followers before you post items for sale. How do I get followers before I start posting? I guess I need to see a shop on Instragram before I understand. How do you get followers? Do people just follow you because of the pictures you post? Please explain. Sorry to be such a newbie.

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    1. Hi Kaaren, I just saw your question. I would start following other shops and share with friends. You won't really get a large number of followers until you post a preview of what it is you are selling. I would also post a photo of yourself or your family linking back to your personal account so people know who they are buying from.
      Hope this helps! :)

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  11. If you have been selling on IG for over a year, than you sure are an expert! :) And your advices are really great! Have you also tried some Instagram selling tools? I know a lot of people use inselly.com to make their insta feed shoppable via PayPal (to avoid manual invoicing). It's also a marketplace for Instagram sellers. What would be your take on that?

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  12. I'm starting a boutique selling clothing that I purchased wholesale so I am charging sales tax.. Do you have any recommendations for how to keep track of sales and tax to stay organized with expenses?! Thank you for your help! This was so helpful and any other suggestions would be great! :)

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  13. I'm starting a boutique selling clothing that I purchased wholesale so I am charging sales tax.. Do you have any recommendations for how to keep track of sales and tax to stay organized with expenses?! Thank you for your help! This was so helpful and any other suggestions would be great! :)

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  14. This is GOLD!! Thank you SO much for sharing! This is exactly what I needed to read! :)

    - Alexandra

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I would LOVE to hear from you! :)