Instagram wants to open up shopping features to creators who sell their own merchandise. Toward that end, the company unveiled guidelines on Tuesday to bring them into the fold.
In terms of who Instagram is courting with its Commerce Eligibility Requirements, the Facebook-owned social media company offered examples such as candlemakers, musicians and food bloggers looking to sell their own products. That makes it seem like a somewhat Etsy-like move — though unlike the platform for indie sellers, Instagram doesn’t want to be a merchants-only store.
According to the company’s blog, “any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product can use shopping tags to drive people to their web site to make a purchase. U.S. businesses that are part of our checkout test on Instagram can drive people to purchase directly in the app.”
What constitutes “eligible” looks simple as well. Merchants must tag products on Instagram from a web site they own and sell from, and the Instagram professional account must represent that store or web site. No scammers or serial affiliate linkers allowed.
The company wants sellers who have demonstrated trustworthiness and an authentic, established presence, including a “sufficient” following, though it didn’t specify a minimum number of followers.
Once approved, Instagram will notify businesses so they can start tagging their products. And rejections will clearly explain the decision, so they can fix the issues or appeal.
The guidelines will be effective July 9 for Instagram shopping, with plans to expand to other Facebook commerce “surfaces” — including Facebook Shops, Facebook Page Shops, Marketplace Stores and Live Shopping — in the future.