Instagram launches in-app shopping discovery function as it pushes into social commerce

Instagram launches in-app shopping function as it pushes into social commerce

Shopping is coming to Instagram, with the image-sharing app announcing that it is testing a way to let users buy the items they see in brand's photos.

Starting next week, the company will make it easier for Instagrammers to review, learn more about and click through to buy the items that interest them within its walls.

The Facebook-owned site has teamed up with a number of brands for the initial launch, including Kate Spade, Coach and J Crew, which will be given the ability to share posts that have more depth. The features will at first only be available to a select number of users on iOS devices within the US.

Posts from these special partner brands will have a 'tap to view' icon at the bottom left hand side of their photos, when tapped a tag will appear on products in the image and their prices. Instagram subscribers can then select these tags to open a more detailed view of the item they're interested in and if they want to buy they just hit a 'Shop Now' link which will take them to the product directly on the businesses' website.

Writing in a blog post, the company said that the move was down to the changing nature of how consumers are using mobile. Pointing to eMarketer research which noted that 84% of US smartphone users now browse, research and compare productions via their mobile browser or app, the social network said while browsing and discovery is easy on mobile, finding more information about the specific products isn’t always as simple for shoppers.

Instagram also conducted an internal survey which found that 21% of mobile shopping experiences took one day or longer to turn into a purchase. It has said that the new functionality looks to open up Instagrammers to "discovery," on the platform, adding: "This test gives our community valuable steps along their shopping journey before they make a purchase."

Commenting on the partnership, Mary Beech, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at Kate Spade said the new tool provided a "seamless shopping experience," adding that the possibilities for selling on the platform were "endless.”

Instagram has seriously upped its focus on advertising this year, kicking off with a mammoth expansion of its business capabilities last September to provide marketers with a new suite of tools to target customers. Since then it has been fully open to all brands big and small in 30 new markets, attracting the attention of over 200,000 advertisers.

Just a few months ago the platform published its long-awaited business profile pages, which are designed to allow owners to keep tabs on engagement levels and promoted posts.

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