- Instagram is planning a shopping app that will stand alone from its main platform, The Verge reported Tuesday citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, had not at time of publication commented on the report.
- The dedicated app may be called IG Shopping when and if it is launched and would live separate from the main Instagram platform, according to The Verge. The specific launch timeline is presently unknown. The concept would allow Instagram users to browse goods from retailers they follow and use the app to make a direct purchase, sources told The Verge. It would also provide Facebook with yet another entrée into e-commerce.
- With a significant amount of online buying, selling and advertising already taking place on the platform, Instagram sees itself as in an ideal position to expand into e-commerce in a significant way, The Verge reported.
Social media shopping is gaining more momentum as trends in e-commerce continue to develop and evolve. Facebook is taking every opportunity to grow its importance as an e-commerce platform provider, now with Instagram. The social media giant, as well as other social platforms that might develop their own shopping apps, gains in all ways the longer it can keep shoppers on its platforms.
A standalone shopping app could enhance revenue generation, while providing a dedicated place on Instagram for e-commerce, an activity that is growing on the platform and in social media channels more broadly. It also provides a glimpse into the future of online shopping on social media, and it hints at how it might affect retailing.
Shopping capabilities on social media make it easier for companies to reach elusive younger demographics. For example, Gen Z is highly engaged with both mobile and social media, so retailers are looking for ways to meet them and sell to them there. Instagram is a very desirable platform because of the influence it has on purchase decisions. One recent study found that Instagram 72% the platform's users said they had made a purchase after seeing an item on the site.
CB Insights also recently revealed that Facebook filed a patent application for a messaging service using artificial intelligence that will allow users to place orders to merchants and complete payments within its Messenger chat app. The concept would help integrate and streamline online payments for consumers while creating a digital ecosystem that will keep users on its pages longer. Meanwhile, Pinterest is expanding its retail integrations with a new visual search tool called Pinterest Lens, as well as new Instant Ideas and Shop the Look features.
Athletic shoe manufacturers, in particular, have enjoyed great success in early efforts to sell products on social media. Adweek reported last week that Adidas sold out of a new shoe style featured on a Snapchat show. The company was the first brand to launch a product on a Snapchat show that was integrated with mobile commerce support, according to Footwear News. In May, Nike participated in Facebook Messenger’s beta AR run and sold out of the shoes it offered in less than an hour. Earlier this year, Nike was the first brand to sell a product directly through Snapchat and sold out of a special pre-release of the Air Jordan III "Tinker" shoe.