Instagram developing shopping-specific app
Written by Peter Walker
Instagram is planning to launch a new standalone app dedicated to shopping, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Verge has reported that the app may be called IG Shopping and will let users browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow and purchase them directly within the app. Instagram has so far declined to comment.
There are no details on when it might be launched, as development is still ongoing.
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at parent company Facebook, recently told an earnings call that more than 25 million businesses already have Instagram accounts, and 2 million of them are advertisers. Meanwhile, 80 per cent of Instagram users follow at least one business.
The move would directly challenge existing e-commerce platforms like Shopify, adding tools to help merchants sell to a wider audience via social media.
Instagram began testing a shopping feature in November in 2016, rolling them out in March 2017. Companies can tag posts with individual products, allowing users to shop directly from photos. The company is currently testing a feature that lets users shop from Instagram stories.
Patrick Munden, global head of retail at e-commerce consultancy Salmon, said Instagram’s proposed expansion is really just the tip of the iceberg for many brands looking to tap into social media platforms’ younger audiences.
"Amazon had previously partnered with Snapchat for much the same reasons, offering up their products to younger people who look to emulate celebrities and influencers," he stated.
Salmon's research this year found that 29 per cent of Millennials in the UK and US use social media to actively purchase products.
“Fortunately for Instagram, they hold a significant share of the younger market - particularly those 16 and over, the platform’s key target audience – and the brand name to boot," Munden continued. "It will be interesting to see how the app will be deployed separately or if it will be integrated into Instagram’s main app, like IGTV earlier this year."