Instagram has plans to make e-commerce easier


It’s amazing to think eBay was first founded back in 1995. That’s more than 20 years ago, or over two decades since, if you really want to make it sound like ages.

A lot can change in that length of time, but in many ways, when it comes to retail at least, that change has been much more gradual than many would assume. This year e-commerce sales are expected to hit $1.915trillion globally, but even that grand sum only accounts for 8.7% of all retail spend across the planet.

The point is, there’s still much work to be done if this sector wants to become the dominant way to buy, rather than the challenger, as it were. This is something the folk at Facebook-owned Instagram clearly understand given they have just announced news of ‘Shoppable Photos’, which will begin trials in the U.S. amongst a ‘limited number of iOS users’.

What this means, first and foremost, is that it’s going to be a fair while until we get sight of these here in Blighty, with the majority of users Stateside also having to wait, albeit for slightly less time than us. Nevertheless, we can’t see how this isn’t going to take off if current statements and predictions regarding what this feature will entail are anything to go by.

Here are a few points that really caught our eye:

*Initial tests will include some really high profile, high-follower brands on the network; Levi’s, J. Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, and Michael Kors are all names that have been mentioned.

*Photos of products for sale will feature more in-depth information on style and spec and clickable components.

*’Shop Now’ links will take shoppers directly from Instagram to product page on brand website.

*It will eventually be possible to like images and store them for a later purchase.

*Instagram will make no money from this to begin with- so expect a big push for brands to promote shoppable posts to users that do not already follow them (i.e. sponsored content)

*According to Social Media Week and TechCrunch, shoppable tags will eventually be included in video posts and photo carousels, opening up greater possibilities for showcasing moving parts, entire product ranges and more.

All of which sounds like a step in the right direction if you ask us. Instagram has been trying to bolster its position as a great, visually-led network for discovering things- whether that’s Cuba’s best beaches or up and coming designers- and therefore cementing itself as a bonafide shopping channel is logical. Not only is there enough differentiation between this and eBay to silence any ‘what’s the point’ naysayers, it fits in with the way the network is moving as a whole.

Take a look at this vid and see what you think…