By: Kirsty Afful / May 31, 2017

Instagram shopping is expanding

Mobile has enabled shopping to become even easier, allowing you to browse and purchase items at your fingertips; whilst eating dinner, commuting to work or lying in bed. Whilst browsing is effortless, I am sure we have experienced the pain of not being able to find that item you must have whilst browsing Instagram. Fortunately, they are now expanding their shopping function to hundreds of brands in the apparel, jewellery and beauty spaces in the US.

Instagram has 600 million active users with about 80% following a business on the app. This new shopping capability enables marketers to seamlessly sell products to users compared to the alternative “see link in bio”. It also acts as a fantastic market research tool to discover what people are tapping into and how often, thus assisting in content creation.

Instagrammers want to explore and find new things from brands they love and businesses thrive from these opportunities and gaining valuable customers. Instagram wanted the shopping experience to be more immersive and therefore, in November 2016 they began to trial this new shopping experience. You may have noticed that for a small number of brands, their posts have an icon that makes discovery simple. When tapped, up to five products and their prices will be displayed, once selected this opens a new detailed view. This feature allows you to explore the products, explore more details about it and go directly to that product on the business’s website, meaning no more hassle trying to find and purchase those products.

The initial customer research, informed the first steps in developing this feature and during the initial phase, this authentic shopping experience on the platform has taken discovery to the next level for customers and has already benefitted US-based brands that have trialled it, such as Kate Spade and J. Crew. After rolling it out to these 20 brands, it hopes to explore ways that products are showcased and to progress to global expansion.

The expansion is set to take place over the coming weeks to US-based businesses, with international rollout planning to come in updates in the forthcoming months. However, no specific timeline has launched yet. Instagram is also yet to disclose when this will expand globally or if they will make it available to influencers or celebrities. The beauty industry is currently booming from influencers, beauty vloggers, and other social-natives to sell products, alongside big names showcasing brand’s products to spur customer interest. Therefore, shoppable social media has potential to target a huge population of shoppers, influencers, and marketers. This innovative new shopping experience can be the next big thing for the beauty business.

About Kirsty Afful

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