Is Instagram building a standalone shopping app for its users?

Is Instagram building a standalone shopping app for its users?

According to a report from The Verge, Instagram might be planning to branch further into e-commerce with the release of a standalone shopping app. This will give Instagram users a new place to browse a range of products, as well as enable them to purchase them directly from merchants in the app.

Development for this potential new app (which is expected to be named IG Shopping) is currently on-going, though this could be cancelled before release. This information was provided to The Verge from two people that are ‘familiar with the matter’. Sources have also said that Instagram is ‘well-positioned to make a major expansion into e-commerce’.

Despite the fact that Instagram has declined to comment on the rumoured development, it’s clear to see that they’re already testing the waters of e-commerce through a number of their newest features.

As Amy Gesenhues from Marketing Land explains, in May this year, the social network started offering  booking and payments features to a limited group of businesses on the platform. This allows users to add a Debit or Credit card to their profile, set-up a security code, make a booking through a company’s Instagram page, and make a payment in the app. Some examples of the ways this booking feature can be used is to purchase cinema tickets, book a salon appointment, or reserve a table at a restaurant.

In June, the platform also introduced a shopping bag icon for select advertisers. The icon can be added to their Instagram Stories (in the same way as a GIF, location tag or other sticker) to provide additional information about a product being featured. This includes the product details and pricing information, and a link to purchase the product directly from the advertiser’s website. The icon can also be used to add additional images of the featured item and display images of other products included in the Story.

The TJM take: In Marketing Land’s article on the potential app, Amy Gesenhues says that many brands that already have a solid Instagram following would be willing to sign-up to a new standalone platform that could help them drive more sales. This should be particularly true if they’re already getting decent engagement from their following. However, with the average person using multiple platforms per day, and many people going straight to Google, Amazon or other websites to do their online shopping, is it likely that they’ll want to add another app to that list?

If IG Shopping does in fact become a reality, only time will tell.

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