Instagram lets retailers test shopping features in ecommerce push

instagram-shoppingInstagram is testing new features that will enable brands to share posts that include more product information with the aim of getting more consumers to buy products they see on the image-sharing site.

The test, only available to Apple mobile phone owners in the US at the moment, includes 20 brands such as Macy’s, Abercrombie and Fitch and J.Crew. The posts will include a ‘tap to view’ icon that appears at the bottom left. If a user taps, a tag will appear shows more information on the production.

The brands will be able to showcase up to five products and their prices and once a tag is selected a new more detailed view of the product will open.

The aim is to give brands the opportunity to share important product information with consumers without them having to leave the Instagram app. If they do want to buy, they can click a ‘shop now’ link that takes them directly to the product page on the retailer’s website.

The trial comes after research commissioned by Instagram’s owner Facebook found that only 21% of mobile purchases are made within a day. The hope is that the new functionality will give people time to better understand and get more information on products they might be interested in, helping them along their purchase journey.

“While browsing and discovery is easy on mobile, finding more information about the specific product you see isn’t always as simple. On a platform known for its power of mobile discovery, today we’re excited to announce an easier experience to shop the products you love on Instagram,” says Instagram in a blog post.

The test is being run on organic posts, rather than sponsored posts, so Instagram will not initially make money from the features during the trial. There is also no charge to the brands using the test, although Instagram may explore sponsored formats in future.

Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are all keen to get more consumers shopping on their site as they look to wrestle retailers’ ad dollars away from search (and Google). Facebook has a dedicated shopping section, while Snapchat has worked with Hearst to consider how ecommerce might work on the site. Twitter also hired a head of commerce, but he left in May as the site struggles to boost user growth and ad revenues.

Source: Marketing Week

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