Do you have a closet full of gorgeous clothes you wore once and then forgot? Or maybe you like to hunt through thrift stores to score name-brand, barely used items, but you end up with too many clothes for any one person to wear! One great way to turn your clothing collection into cash is to learn how to sell clothes on Instagram.
The most popular way to sell clothing on Instagram is to create a business account and build a community of followers. Other good ways to sell clothes on Instagram include selling clothes in an Instagram story and hosting a closet sale. Influencers and fashion bloggers often depend on their large following to promote and sell clothing.
In this article, you will learn the basic steps of creating a social media account for selling items. You will learn eight methods for selling clothes on Instagram. Finally, you will get the inside scoop on the legal ins and out of selling used clothing in this way.
Can You Sell Clothes on Social Media?
You can sell clothes through social media platforms like Instagram if you follow the appropriate procedures. The big advantage of selling items this way is that you get to build a connection with a community of customers in a much more personal way than you can through a brick-and-mortar store or even a traditional online e-retailer like Etsy.
Everything about a sale on Instagram has more personality to it than, say, buying a shirt on Amazon. Items for sale on Instagram tend to look more real and vibrant because of the fun pictures good sellers use to promote the clothing.
Also, because of all the work involved in selling an item on Instagram, most clothing sales focus on good-condition, name-brand, or vintage items rather than the sort of clothes you could dig out of the discount section at your local big-box store.
If you have highly sought-after clothing items of this nature to sell, you need to follow a few basic steps no matter what particular technique you want to use to market the clothes.
- The first and most obvious step in selling clothes on Instagram is creating an account on the platform. Instagram offers a business account that makes it easier to post items for sale. (If you want to use your personal account for the sales instead, check out the section on selling clothes as an influencer later in this article!).
- You also need to establish an online payment method, like using Paypal. Many of these payment platforms also offer business accounts you can use to track sales, profits, and so on.
- Of course, any time you post a new item, you will need to take good photos and provide a clear description of the clothing.
- And finally, you need to maintain reasonable pricing by determining the price point for each garment you want to sell.
Beyond these basic steps, you can sell clothes in several different ways on Instagram, like the difference between launching your own clothing brand vs using your pool of followers as a customer base for thrifted clothing sales.
How to Sell Clothes on Instagram: 8 Methods
You can sell clothes on Instagram in many ways, like with or without your own online store, selling used or new items, and via posts or your story.
1. Clothing Brand
If you want to launch your own clothing line or brand, you will need to establish your brand on Instagram. Almost all fashion and beauty brands have an Instagram presence, as this super-visual medium works especially well for these products. Creating a unique brand presence will also help you sell your clothes through Instagram.
- Craft your aesthetic carefully. Think about the color palette you want to use and even the kind of lighting that best matches your clothes–early morning light or soft evening light, for example. You can also ask yourself what word sums up your aesthetic, like “bold and bohemian” or “adventurous and athletic.”
- Find other clothing lines with a similar style and follow them for a few weeks to see what kind of content they post and how they promote garments to sell. If you sell running leggings, follow other athletic clothing lines. Do they post videos offering exercise tips, or do they show mini commercials of healthy-looking models jogging?
- Once you know exactly what visuals you want to offer, you will need to launch a marketing campaign. You can do this on Instagram without spending too much money by creating a few targeted ads. This will help you build your own following of the customer demographic that wants to buy the type of clothes you have to sell.
- Once you establish a footing, it’s all about content. You will need to consistently provide interesting, brand-oriented content to keep your followers engaged!
- Finally, keep it personal. Share snippets about yourself or your brand regularly, of course, but also take the time for thoughtful gestures like sending a thank-you note and a purchase to every customer. This makes buying from you a special, personal experience quite different from buying an item at a department store!
2. Resale Clothing
One of the most popular ways to sell clothes on Instagram is to sell resale items such as gently used name-brand or luxury items. When you set up a business account on Instagram, it gives you a special shop page that customers access by clicking on links in your profile. This means that every garment you post can have easy-access links allowing customers to purchase it!
One important thing to remember when selling resale items on Instagram is that this is not the place to sell cheap, worn-out, stained, or damaged clothing. Selling used clothing is fine, but you need to make sure every item is in good condition.
Plus, you want to ensure you will get enough of a return on investment for all the time you have to spend taking photos and marketing the garment. If you have a name-brand shirt you bought for $100, you can likely sell it used on Instagram for at least $30 or $40. But if you bought a t-shirt at Walmart five years ago for $10, is it even worth your time to try to sell it for two or three bucks on Instagram?
Once you know you have the perfect pool of high-end used clothing to sell, follow this step-by-step guide to get your first garments listed for sale on Instagram!
- You can easily create a new, separate business account on Instagram or switch your personal account to a business account if you want to keep your current pool of followers. If you already have an online shop, such as an account on Shopify or Etsy or a Facebook page to sell your clothes, you can also connect this account to them.
- Before posting pictures of clothes, you will want to take a minute to establish your presence via the business account. You can post a logo if you have one or select a few key images of yourself or your models that represent what you plan to sell. Write a bio about yourself or your products, too– all of these things will help customers connect with you.
- The next step is to take really, really good photos of each garment. You can find more tips for this process later in this article!
- You can add a written blurb for every picture you post on Instagram. This is your chance to list essential info like the brand, size, and year of the garment. You can often find all this info on the manufacturer’s tag inside the garment.
- Even if you list the manufacturer’s size in the product description, good sellers take the time to measure the garment and list those measurements. For example, on a shirt, you would spread it out flat and measure the length of the sleeves, the width of the waist, and the circumference of the collar to help potential buyers determine if the shirt would fit.
- Besides linking the photo to your Instagram shop page via a link in your profile, you can include product tags in the photos themselves to help customers quickly access easy items. As you create the post, a “tag people” option appears. When you tap this, you can choose “tag product” instead and type in the clothing brand. After this, you can search by descriptions to find the product and tag that as well.
- Finally, Instagram is not a static online store. You need to keep providing interesting content to build your customer base. You can think of this as not just offering a product to sell but offering entertainment and connection to your community of buyers. For example, if you sell refurbished thrift-store clothes, you could host a weekly story showing how you hunt for clothes at your local thrift stores to keep people engaged.
3. Without Website
You can sell clothes on Instagram even if you do not have an account on an e-store website like Shopify by communicating with customers via comments in your posts.
That said, the easiest way to sell items on Instagram is to provide a link in your profile that directs customers to an online store, as this makes the payment, tracking, and shipping much simpler.
- Make it obvious that customers should comment to make a purchase. You can do this by including a banner in the photo of each garment that says “comment to buy.”
- Give your customers clear instructions on how to use the comments to make a purchase. In the product description, you can list items such as “please provide your preferred color and size” to make sure you don’t have to hold a long conversation with each buyer.
- Another way to reduce confusion and wasted communication is to clearly list the price and the shipping terms in the product description.
4. On Instagram Story
A great way to highlight your clothing store or brand is to host a special sale via Instagram story. On Insta, you can create a post that shows up in the feed of all your followers or a story that lasts for only 24 hours and has interactive features. These days, you can also use stories to host live videos and engage directly with your customers!
Creating a post for a garment places it in your feed, where it stays forever (or until you delete it after someone buys the item!). Since it takes some time and effort to take photos and market each item, putting them in a longer-lasting post often makes more sense.
But if you want to host a flash sale or an interactive event with your customers, using the short-lived story can give you more bang for your buck. Some brands also use stories as a sort of “behind the scenes” view to make customers feel authentically connected to the brand or seller.
5. With Hashtags
You pretty much have to master hashtags to sell clothes successfully on Instagram. A hashtag is a descriptive word or phrase listed after a pound or hash sign (this little guy: #) that acts like a keyword to help people searching for similar items locate your garment. Instagram and Twitter use hashtags heavily because these platforms don’t have excellent search tools otherwise.
- One of the best ways to direct shopping traffic to your sale items is to use the same hashtags as other brands selling similar items. You will need to do your research here!
- You can also check the popularity of a tag you want to use by typing it into the search bar and then clicking on the “#” symbol in the results. This will show you how many other users have put up a post with that hashtag.
- You can list up to 30 hashtags per post, which gives you a good chance to catch the attention of people searching for many different things. (It does require time and research for every garment you want to sell, though–you can see why selling on Instagram is such a time-expensive endeavor!)
- As a general rule of thumb, you want to use a good mix of super-popular tags and niche tags that will catch the attention of your specific followers.
- On a story, you can only use three hashtags, so choose those with special care!
6. Direct Sale
Another way you can sell clothing on Instagram is to use the direct sale in chat option available to anyone with a business account.
- First, you have to enable this option in your business account by going to your professional dashboard. You will have to go through additional steps, such as linking your business account to your bank account.
- Once you do that, you can click on a chat message with a potential customer. Besides icons like the little paper airplane that indicates sending a message, you should now see a dollar sign symbol in the chat.
- You can tap on the dollar sign to fill out a payment request for the buyer. You will need to input the cost, shipping, and product description here to make sure the customer has all the necessary information (this gives you protection as a seller because the buyer can’t come back later and claim they did not know they were buying a size 6 dress, for example!).
- You then have to wait to see if the buyer completes the purchase by sending payment via credit, debit card, or Paypal.
7. Closet Sale
A closet sale is a great way to make a splash as an established seller on Instagram or to have a one-time sale as a regular user who just wants to sell a few items. Maybe you need to move and want to downsize your closet before you start packing, for example.
These tips will help you host an effective closet sale:
- Time limits make sales special. Publish the upcoming sale and how long it will last ahead of time. Holding a “flash sale” gives people a scarcity mentality and makes them want to jump on a purchase quickly!
- Likewise, clearly state how and when people need to pay you when they make a purchase.
- Like with any items you sell on Instagram, put your best foot forward by washing, ironing, or otherwise cleaning and prepping the garments. As a professional seller, you should still take great posed photos of each item, just as you would for a regular post. If you don’t feel comfortable putting up photos of yourself wearing the garment as a regular user, hang it up nicely in front of a good backdrop and take pictures of the flat garment.
- Do your best to provide all the relevant information in the text, like explaining whether the garment uses American or Asian sizing and if it has any wear and tear.
- It’s your job to make sure each item gets to the correct buyer, so make sure you keep track of customer shipping addresses as the purchases pile up!
8. As Influencer
If you have a large following or a contract with a brand as an Influencer, you can use different strategies to sell clothes on Instagram. An influencer is any social media user who can convince others to do or buy something because they promote it. It’s a lot like being a celebrity, except that celebrities get followers who like the content they produce, such as music or movies, while influencers build a base of followers on social media and always allow their followers access to them via that social media.
- The key difference between selling as an influencer and a brand or online store is that the influencer is selling their lifestyle, not just the item itself. Followers buy clothing or other items that the influencer wears or mentions because they hope that having the garment will make them look or feel like the influencer.
- This also means that an influencer can often sell clothes even if it is not clothes that make them famous on Insta. Suppose you follow an influencer who shares many house-cleaning tips and has half a million followers. If that influencer casually mentions that the best outfit for cleaning a house is a particular brand of jeans, anyone who wants help keeping their house clean might buy those jeans!
- Very high-profile influencers often have contracts with brands or companies to promote items for sale. The specifics will vary, but an influencer may agree to wear a certain garment in five photos and mention the brand once a week in a comment, for example. In this case, the influencer gets paid for the marketing, not via actual sales of the clothing.
- In some cases, using Instagram as an influencer can mean that you don’t want to set up a business account or that you want to turn your personal account into a business account. This way, you don’t lose your large pool of followers when you start selling clothes.
Is it Free to Sell on the Instagram Shop?
You do not have to pay any fees or processing charges to sell clothes on Instagram. This is a big advantage over using PayPal invoices or launching an Etsy shop!
Of course, you do need to factor in many other potential costs as a clothes seller, like shipping, paid ads to market your products, and your own time.
Is it Legal to Sell Clothes on Instagram?
You do not have to get a license or legal permit to sell on Instagram. You must ensure you provide clear and honest product descriptions and ship orders in a timely manner according to Instagram’s Commerce Eligibility Requirements. You need to keep everything above board and not try to cheat customers by selling a fake instead of a real luxury item, and you will not have any issues!
Do I Need a License to Sell Clothes on Instagram?
You do not need a license to sell clothes on Instagram, but in many cases, it is helpful to use a business account rather than a personal account. You need to create a business account if you want to promote a business or brand!
What Sells Fast on Instagram?
Top-selling items on Instagram change from season to season or year to year, but clothing, phone accessories, and makeup products seem to always land in the top-ten list of popular items to buy through this platform.
You can use many tactics to ensure a fast clothing sale on Instagram, including:
- Host a closet or flash sale with a time limit
- Use an Instagram story or reel to promote the clothing in a real-life setting.
- Learn what hashtags work and use a lot of them to help Instagram’s algorithm match customers to your products.
- Offer discounts when you can afford to
- Make sure you have a “call to action” like “click here to buy” or “use the comments to purchase” so customers don’t give up out of confusion!
How to Take Good Photos to Sell Clothes on Instagram
The most important factor in selling clothes on Instagram is taking good photos. Instagram is a visual social media platform that is all about how things look. Snapping a quick pic of a shirt spread out on your bed with your smartphone just doesn’t cut it these days!
- If you have no photography experience, search for YouTube tutorials or even sign up for an online course to master the basics.
- Consider the pros and cons of a “flat collage” style photo vs modeled clothing. If you have someone who can wear the clothes and make them look good, go for it! This helps buyers feel that they will also look good in the garments. If not, you can set up an attractive “flat” shot by hanging or spreading the clothes on a backdrop.
- As a pro tip, you can make “flat lays” of garments and accessories look more real by artfully placing tissue paper inside to give them some shape. Or get a mannequin and dress it in the garments! For a flat lay, shaped garments often look best spread out on a hard surface, while flowy clothing looks good on a hanger.
- Lighting changes everything. Get yourself some studio-style LED lights before you set up the first shot.
- No matter how you display the garment, take photos of all aspects of it, like the front and back, the tag, and an up-close of any details like a fancy pocket or a pattern in the fabric.
Is Instagram Good for Selling Clothes?
Instagram users buy and sell a huge amount of clothing annually, meaning that this social media platform is good for selling clothes. But like any sale method, it does have both pros and cons.
The pros of selling clothes on Instagram include:
- This social media platform has many users in the ballpark of 400 million people globally.
- Part of the reason for this vast popularity is that Instagram is meant for smartphones, not computers.
- Because of its super-visual focus, it is one of the top ways consumers shop for particular clothing brands.
- You can sell clothes on Instagram in multiple ways, without paying any fees to the platform.
- You can build a platform for a new fashion brand or focus on selling “pre-loved” clothes with equal success.
But you will also have to handle the cons of selling clothes on Instagram, which can include:
- Creating posts for the clothes you want to sell takes time. You need good photos, a clear product description, perfect hashtags, and product tags if you have an Insta shopping page. Plus, you often have to complete all this work for every garment!
- You need to develop a brand or vibe and remain constantly engaged with your followers on Instagram. This platform offers a much more personal way to connect with customers than an online store like Etsy or Amazon. This is a big advantage in terms of finding your perfect clients and making sales, but it also takes a lot of time!
- Not every client base uses Instagram. You need to know who you want to sell clothes to and reach those customers where they are at. Blue-collar workers may not often use Instagram to shop for work gear, for example, while minivan moms will spend much more time scrolling through Insta reels looking for outfit inspiration!
Instagram provides a visual, vibrant community that works super well for selling clothes. You can do this in several different ways, like creating posts, stories, or reels of the garments. You can also hold sales or issue discounts to get customers interested. Using hashtags and product tags correctly will help customers find your products.
No matter what method you use to sell clothes on Instagram, you must ensure you take excellent photos of the products. You also have to keep yourself relevant on the platform by constantly providing engaging new content and building your following.