Instagram Launches Shopping Functionality

03 November 2016

Instagram Launches Shopping Functionality

The way we shop is virtually unrecognisable compared to online shopping even a few years ago. The dominance of mobile browsing means that retailers have to make a much bigger effort at engaging customers at this point in their purchasing journey. Social networks that are predominantly online can have an important role to play in encouraging these mobile purchases.

Instagram has now announced that it is moving closer towards allowing sales through its app, with a launch of a new way of buying the products you love that you view on the social network. As of next week, 20 retailers will be testing a new process with selected US-based iOS users of the app, in which product information can be viewed on Instagram and clicked on to make a purchase.

The purchase will not be made on the Instagram site but instead on the retailer’s website. It is thought that there is currently no affiliate income or fee paid to Instagram to recognise these sales, but that is likely to change in the future.

With this new change, a new icon will appear in the bottom left of a photograph that contains products. The consumer can click on this icon and more information will appear about the products in the photo, including prices and a link to ‘Shop Now’, which will take the user to the retailer’s e-commerce website.

This new functionality will make it much easier for consumers to buy the things they view and love on Instagram. Rather than spotting a bag or scarf in a photo and then searching the retailer’s website, they will be led directly there to make the purchase much easier. It reduces the number of touchpoints needed and makes Instagram much more valuable for retailers.

The new features will work as follows:

Once the functionality has been tested with a smaller group of US-based iOS users, Instagram plans to learn from its testing and ultimately roll out the shopping connections to all users around the world.