Instagram is testing new ecommerce features with 20 retail brands in the US, letting them tag products in photos with a “Shop Now” button.
The new tool is designed to give users an easy way to move from discovering products in posts to shopping for them.
Under the new scheme, brands can tag products appearing on in-feed images, supply product information and redirect consumers to their websites with “Shop Now” buttons.
The pilot will run throughout the holiday season with 20 select US retailers, including high street shops J. Crew, Coach and Macy’s, alongside digital-native brands like Warby Parker and JackThreads.
Instagram is testing two things: how consumers interact with the deeper information in a post, and whether Instagram drives consumers with intent to purchase.
When a user clicks on a tagged product in an image, he or she is sent to either an in-app browser product page or to the partner’s app.
For example, clicking on a Warby Parker post featuring sunglasses, for instance, opens a layer over the post where users can shop and explore product details.
Neither Instagram nor Facebook own the actual shopping platform, however.
For example, when someone buys a Kate Spade product, she leaves her credit card information with the manufacturer.
Users tapping on the button will see the names of the products in the image and their prices.
Users can also click through to see a more detailed product description and, if they are interested, they can click “shop now” to be directed to the retailer’s website.
Vishal Shah, Instagram director of product management, said: “The most important thing was that it felt natural to the Instagram experience. We didn’t want it to feel forced, like we’re yelling at you, ‘Hey, there are products here! There are products here!’”
View some demonstrations of how the product will work below:
Instagram said internal research showed 50% of Instagram users follow a business on the app, while 60% say they have discovered new products and services on Instagram.
Other features to come later down the line will likely include a “save product for later” function and the expansion of the service to more brands in more geographies.
EMarketer predicts US retail mcommerce sales will increase 39.1% year-on-year to $123 billion in 2016.