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12 Nov

Now, Shop Straight from Instagram

Instagram is loved. The popular photo-sharing application has millions of users who share life and food updates regularly. People are addicted to staying up to date on their friends’ lives, and Instagram helps them do this with ease. But, the humble photo-sharing app isn’t just for family and friends anymore. Brands too have jumped on the band wagon, and 50% of users follow at least one business on the app. This finding, coupled with the fact that 60% of users have reported discovering new products on the app, has led Instagram to roll out a trial shopping feature. A total of 20 American brands, which includes names such as Kate Spade, Levi’s and J. Crew, will be trying out the Instagram online shopping feature in the coming weeks.

How to Shop on Instagram
During the trial period, users will be able to tap on a ‘tap here to view products’ button that will be shown on images. Once they tap on the button, the names and prices of the products will appear in small price tag icons. On selecting an item by clicking on the price tag, viewers will be provided with detailed descriptions of the products. From here, users can click on the ‘shop now’ button, and Instagram’s online shopping services feature will redirect the user to the brand or retailer’s website from where they will be able to complete their transaction.

The Inspiration
Jim Squires, Instagram’s Director of Market Operations, recently said that this new online shopping feature was launched so as to mirror the way people are already using the app. It was found that most people follow brands looking for inspiration. Unfortunately, once they find it on Instagram, they then have to either be redirected to the retailer’s app or website, and they will once again have to hunt for the item they viewed on the picture-sharing app. This latest feature of Instagram shopping is an attempt to make the entire journey for the user easier and simpler.

The Way Forward
The 20 retailers who are currently testing this feature don’t have to pay the image-sharing app an additional fee for now. However, Instagram is looking at including an advertising element to this new feature once it is rolled out to more people. Currently, only select iOS users in the U.S. will be able to shop directly on Instagram. In the future, the app hopes to provide a ‘save product for later’ function as well.

It’s Time to Go Social!
While it may be some time before Instagram online shopping in India is available, the move is an important one for the application. Approximately 82% of smartphone users have reported that they are comfortable with browsing for items and even shopping from their phones. By integrating a ‘shop now’ feature directly into their app, Instagram has joined social media sites like Facebook, that are slowly but surely ramping up their e-commerce efforts.

Getting your brand on various social media platforms should be priority right now, as every platform will soon turn into its own e-commerce site, and Facebook and Instagram will be their own Flipkart or Amazon. As m-commerce is expected to increase at a colossal rate of 39.1% every year, it is no wonder that Instagram now lets you shop to your inspired mind’s content right from their photo-filtering app.

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