Instagram shopping is expanding to new businesses, including artists who want to sell merch.
Instagram’s new ‘Commerce Eligibility Requirements’ are a set of guidelines businesses must adhere to in order to qualify. For starters, the guidelines say the Instagram account must represent the brand or product. That means artists and creators need to have an existing website for each product.
Instagram shopping cannot be used as a front for affiliate network selling, in other words.
Instagram says eligible accounts must also demonstrate a “trustworthiness.” That includes having an authentic and established presence on the site with a “sufficient follower base.” The requirements also forbid misleading pricing and availability information and require a clearly stated refund policy.
The new feature will go live on July 9th in all markets where Instagram shopping is supported. Businesses can sign up now to be notified when they are approved to use the platform. If the business is not approved, Instagram will provide clear guidance on why. Instagram says it sees this new feature as a way to enable small businesses to sell products on its platform.
It means artists can sell albums, shirts, and other physical merch on Instagram shopping.
The move is a good one, considering Google is diversifying YouTube in the same way. Not too long ago, artist YouTube accounts received the ability to sell their merch on the site below their videos. YouTube takes a small commission from each sale, and artists get more eyes on their merchandise.
Facebook takes a similar cut in all Instagram shopping transactions – another way to monetize the platform. Supporting creators in this way also reduces friction for small-time businesses. Smaller merchants like Bandcamp may find it difficult to survive if the feature catches on.
Between Google, Facebook, and Spotify, music fans have little incentive to seek out artist websites. It’s a double-edged sword for any business looking to support indie artists outside of large corporate influence.