Instagram ups shopping capability in e-commerce power play

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 2 November 2016
Instagram's new shopping feature

Instagram is going all in on e-commerce, with the Facebook-owned photo sharing powerhouse launching a trial which will allow consumers to better peruse products within its ecosystem.

According to the social media player this new offering, which looks to be a hybrid of the platforms' carousel ads and tagging options, will allow users to “review, learn about and consider the items that interest them”, as opposed to just driving them to purchase right then and there.

US-based retail brands including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker are all involved, with 20 brands in total currently utilising the new offering. It is not yet clear if and when the product will come to Australia.

Instagram's shopping product will kick-off in trial form, and was developed because the business discovered more than 84% of smartphone users in the US browse, research or compare products via a web browser or mobile app. However the vast majority of purchases take a day or longer, with only 21% of purchases made within a day.

As a result, the platform learned it needed to give its users and the brands that utilise Instagram more options to showcase their products.

Each post will have a tap to view icon at the bottom left of a photo. When tapped, a tag will appear on various products in the post-showcasing up to five products and their prices.

Once a tag is selected a new detailed view of the product will open. This functionality will bring product information to the consumer earlier in the journey, all without having to leave the Instagram app to search. Then, if the consumer taps the 'shop now' link from the product details view, they’ll go directly to that product on the brand’s website, making it easier for users to buy the product they want.

Speaking to Ad Age, Jim Squires, director of market operations at Instagram, said: "This is a very early, simple test.

"This is behaviour that already happens on the platform. This just gives more depth to the experience,” he added.

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