Instagram “shops” are more common than you may think, and they’re a great way to hold quick virtual yard sales or auctions without the eBay fees. I’ve managed to get rid of a ton of clothing that had been stuffing up my closets over on my shopwonderforest Instagram page. If you’ve been thinking about doing this yourself, here is a basic guide to getting started:
Start a new account
Firstly, you’ll probably want to start a new IG account. Your current followers probably won’t appreciate you clogging up their feeds with clothes or items for sale if they didn’t “opt-in” to begin with. Having a separate account for this will allow anyone who is actually interested in shopping your sale stay on top of things and not end up annoyed.
Your new account should list your terms in your bio. For example, where you ship to, how long someone has to pay after “winning” an item, etc.
Take great photos of your items
You don’t have to spend a ton of time on this, but I do recommend that you make sure you are taking photos in a bright room and on a subtle background. I’ve seen some shops that have dimly lit photos with the items photographed on a busy bedspread, and unfortunately the setup can take away from the actual item you’re trying to sell. The item should be the focus and it should be clear of any other distractions.
When I take my photos, I use my DSLR and import them into Photoshop for a little brightening, then finally export those to my device. You don’t have to take these extra steps (I’m just a little too much of a perfectionist?). Shooting with your device is totally fine if done in great lighting. Take them in square format to avoid having parts of the item cut off when you upload to Instagram.
Advertise your new shopping account
If you have a following elsewhere, make sure to advertise that you’re selling stuff over at your new account. Your followers and friends will be the first to want to check out what you have. From there, getting noticed by people who haven’t followed you can be a little challenging, but isn’t impossible. Check some of the hashtags on Instagram like #shopmycloset #closetsale and #clothesforsale to find other shops selling items. I’ve found that most other IG sellers are happy to follow other shops if you follow them. You can also check their own followers and start liking their individual photos to get noticed by more people.
I’ve found it important to use hashtags when selling your stuff. You want more people to find your page, obviously, so including a few hashtags in the descriptions helps a lot! You can use the ones I mentioned above, as well as ones that match the style of item you’re selling (i.e. #vintage, #boho) and the brand (i.e. #urbanoutfitters, #topshop).
Describe your items
When you post your items, you’ll want to have them nearby when you actually go to post them. Write up a short description, state the size/brand and any other important features your shoppers should know. Your price is totally up to you, but I’ve found that including the shipping cost within the price of the item works best. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck adding on shipping costs for each order. It’s just nicer for the buyer to actually see the final cost up front.
Listing your items
It’s best to list your items in “batches”. I wouldn’t just go and list 30 items at once unless you want to sacrifice losing some followers. Break up your posts into segments and only post a handful at a time. Alternatively, you can announce on your page a certain time and date you will start posting. I’ve seen other shops do this with a lot of success because people are actually standing by waiting to see what they have.
Selling your items
So you’ve set up your page and have your items ready, now how do you sell them? Many sellers list the item and state that the first person to leave their Paypal email address wins. Others sell auction style, meaning they will set a starting bid, and people can increase bids to win the item. I recommend the first option unless you are selling something that might be of high interest.
When somebody leaves their Paypal email address, it’s up to you to email them an invoice. You can pop over to Paypal and go to the Invoicing page to send them one.
When it’s time to ship, you can easily go into the invoice page and click on the details to view the full transaction. At the bottom of the page will be a “Print Shipping Label” link that will allow you to easily generate a shipping label. Pack it up, and ship it out! Try to do this in a timely manner!
Personally, I like to delete the item from my feed after it has sold and shipped. This keeps it clean and allows people to browse only what I have left. It’s frustrating sometimes going to Insta sale pages and spotting an item you like, only to see it’s already sold. Delete those items, they are just taking up space once they’re gone ;). Plus, it allows you to keep track of the stuff you’ve shipped out.
I hope this little guide will help you sell your stuff on Instagram! If you have your own IG sale page, I’d love to see it! You can follow my Wonder Forest closet sale page to see what I’ve been listing too!
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