How to sell on Instagram

Back in April I had the idea to open a shop on Instagram to sell some of the kids clothes (You can view my shop here). I'm not a fan of eBay for selling clothes as I simply can't be bothered to list them all, so our pre-loved clothes usually end up going to the local clothing bank. However I noticed I had a lot of unworn clothes still with the labels on which the kids had grown out of and thought I may as well make a little extra cash from it. I always have followers on Instagram asking where I bought Harry's clothes from so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to set up a shop on there in hope that they would sell. And so they did! Every single item I listed!

Instagram sales are becoming ever so popular over recent months so I thought I would share a few of my tips and what I've learnt from hosting an Instagram sale.

1. Set up a new account

It's best to set up a new IG account for your shop, after all we don't want to annoy our current followers by clogging up their feed with dozens of posts all in one go. If they wish to follow they will.

In your bio ensure you include all of the shop information, for example:

- What you are selling
- Where you will post to
- How to pay i.e PayPal

2. Take photos of your clothes

Ensure the photos are taken with a good quality camera or your iPhone, you may need to edit them to make them brighter but there's no need to take a long time doing this. Taking them against a white or neutral background will take away any distractions and keep the focus on the item itself. Before taking your photos make sure that all of the items you are selling are clean and look presentable.

It's a good idea to take your photos in the square format so it's Instagram ready and there's no need to crop them.

3. Decide how you'd like to sell your items

There are various ways to sell your items and here are two of the post popular ways:

Set price - List each item with a set price + p&p
Bidding style auction - State a starting bid price in the description of each item and a time the sale will close then everyone will need to place a bid along with their PayPal address. The highest bidder at the end of the sale wins.

I personally prefer a bidding auction as a lot of the clothes I have sold have been highly popular with my followers plus I pretty much got back what I already paid for the item originally.

4. Don't sell too many items at once

Keep the amount of items you sell to a realistic amount. There is a huge difference in selling 20 items of clothing rather than 100! If you do have hundreds of items to sell perhaps have a few sales over the course of the month instead to keep it easy to manage. I'd suggest keeping it to 20-50 items so it's more manageable - after all we don't want to be stressing out!

5. List your items with all the correct information

Make sure you list each item with all of the correct information, this may include:

- Description of item
- Condition of item (BNWT, like new, worn once, lightly worn)
- Size of clothing
- The price of the item or the starting bid
- When payment is required by
- Postage costs
- Closing date of sale if required

6. Be as organised as possible 

If you are hosting a bidding style sale then you need to be as organised as possible in order for it to run smoothly. I like to have all of my items of clothing washed, folded and ironed waiting in a pile on the table or wardrobe, along with plenty of postage bags, tissue paper and washi tape for packaging.

Have all of your images edited and ready to go in your camera roll, so you can quickly upload them all in one go.

When the sale has closed lay out each item of clothing with it's packaging and write who each item if for on a piece of paper so you don't get them mixed up. You can print postage labels and even arrange for a courier to collect them all to save you the hassle of going to the post office. I'd recommend checking out My Parcel Delivery to compare delivery prices and give you the best prices for sending your parcels. 

7. Make the rules clear 

After you have posted all of your items up, put up a "Rules" post to ensure people read it first. Note in your bio for everyone to read the rules before bidding. List all important details such as what day and time the sale ends, how they must bid, where you will post to, and any other details they may need to know. By having clear set rules up front it will help later on if you have any issues or complaints to deal with.

8. Promote the sale

If you want to sell your items you will need to promote them! This can be done via other social media platforms as well as your personal IG account. I would suggest creating a collage image of the items that are up for sale as well as placing your logo/shop image in the centre like pictured and sharing it. This way your followers can take a look at your shop and decide whether or not they'd like to buy anything. I tend to put up a notice a few days/a week before a sale is going live to give my followers notice and ask if they'd like to be tagged for a notification when the sale is up.

9. Make a deadline for payment requests

Set a specific deadline in which the buyer must pay for the items by. 24 hours is a realistic time, however do what works for you. If the buyer isn't paying up send a message and if no reply then ask the previous bidder if they would like to buy the item.

10. Have fun!

Lastly, there's no need for this to be boring! I had a lot of fun with my last auction and have another one going up soon. I actually really enjoyed it and I think that was mostly down to the fact that I had everything organised well before hand. I also enjoyed packaging all the items up and sending them.

Some other tips

- Sell in season! I find buyers are most likely to purchase something to wear right away - unless it's baby clothes!
- Use hashtags to promote your sale. #shopmycloset #babyclothesforsale #instasale #igshop are popular ones to use
- Always use PayPal for invoicing and receiving payment
- Be prompt! If you said you'll post all items 2 days after the sale has closed make sure you do and not 2 weeks later
- Get a delivery confirmation if possible

If you are organised and plan well you can make a decent amount to put towards a new wardrobe or something special. If you have children selling your clothes on Instagram is becoming hugely popular as children grow so quickly you always have clothes they outgrow every couple of months.

Have you ever sold your clothes on Instagram or thought of having your own Instagram sale? I'd love to know. 

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  1. I thought about it and tried but didn't have the time! I think I may start again! ill have a look into it. this is a great post. thanks for sharing Kerry x

  2. I hadn't ever thought of selling through Instagram - great idea and great tips too x

  3. Brilliant post. this could have helped me at the time I tried to sell some of Matthew's clothing.
    Now I just give them to charity including Chloe's clothes that don't fit her anymore because I am not that successful selling.

  4. Your posts are so helpful Kerry!!! I've got so many old clothes to sell but just can't be bothered. Maybe this is the way forward: how much did you charge for shipping? Say for a toddler tshirt or trousers? Xx

    1. Hi Alex, thank you I'm glad you find them helpful :) haha that's how I felt but then a lot of them had labels on so I thought may as well sell them lol! The standard rate for a small package is £2.80 which people are willing the pay. If it's something smaller then I could get away with a large letter around £2 and if it's more items then a larger package and around £3-4 :) you can do it all online before you send them so it's nice and easy :) xx

  5. Great post as always! As I know this baby will be my last I will probably think about selling some of his clothes via Instagram once he has outgrown them. I think it's a fab way of selling clothes... I often am eying up Harrison's outfits! hehehe!

    Kay xxx

  6. Love your tips Kerry! I've started selling over eBay but it seems to be a lot more hassle than via Instagram! Might give this a go! xx

  7. I always plan to do stuff like this never have time so always end up giving it away, never thought of instagram though good idea!

  8. This is brilliant, so many great tips. Thank you Kerry x

  9. This is such a good idea, I have so many clothes to sell and have been wondering the best way to do it! I might have to have a go. You must let me know when you're doing another auction, I missed the last one! X

  10. what a fantastic post. I never knew you could do this on Instagram!

  11. Oh wow never even thought of that to sell on sounds very interesting.

  12. I've never held an instagram sale they seem to go down amazingly though if you have the audience.

  13. Excellent post! It is a fab idea to have your own Instagram shop as I have previously sold clothes through other people's sites (like eBay and Vinted) but I forget to check my app to see whether there''s any action! I'm always on Instagram so this is a fab solution!

  14. I've seen lots of people selling on Instagram now and have also bought quite a few bits, I love that it comes up in my instagram feed and I don't have to bother with other selling sites ;) This is a really great tutorial :)

  15. This is a great post - thank you! I think I am going to have to have a go at this, I also use eBay and had never thought of instagram! I will be following your tutorial - thank you so much xxx

  16. Great idea. Will follow you :)

  17. What fab tips. I have never thought of selling on Instagram.

  18. What a great idea, I might give it a go ... how long did it take to build up enough followers?

  19. I had never thought of doing an instagram sale before - thanks for the tips

  20. What a great idea for doing an instagram sale

  21. I've sold quite a few things on IG. It's something I prefer over ebay!

  22. What a great idea. i would never have thought of using IG like this

  23. Fab tips, I didn't know you could use IG like that either.

  24. This is a great idea Kerry. I'd not thought of doing this, but I'm wondering if it would work for shifting toys. Fed up of ebay.

  25. Great tips there, not something I've personally done

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I love reading them all and will try my best to answer all of your questions. If you would like to contact me for a quicker response please feel free to tweet me at (@ohsoamelia_blog) or email me. Kerry