Instagram have started to test new features which could allow users to instantly purchase their favourite products direct from the social network. Ready to roll out on US iOS devices in the next week, the test will involve adding a ‘Shop Now’ call to action button on product posts by a selection of American retailers.
The photo sharing network are displaying their intentions to meet the demands of e-commerce business users by experimenting with new ways to connect shoppers with their favourite brands. If successful, it could completely change how and where advertisers invest their social media marketing budget.
In recent years Instagram has rapidly become the go-to social network for marketing by fashion and beauty brands. It’s emphasis on content-driven influencer marketing makes it the ideal platform for leveraging the purchasing-power of users. In regards to the new feature, a post on Instagram’s Business Blog describes how the test will work and the reasons behind it:
Most mobile shopping experiences today take people from the shop window right to check out-without giving consumers the opportunity to consider a product… in an internal survey, we learned that the vast majority of purchases take a day or longer, with only 21% of purchases made within a day. Knowing that Instagrammers are open to discovery on the platform, and that people take time to better understand the products that they’re interested in, this test gives our community valuable steps along their shopping journey before they make a purchase.
The test phase will only be available to US based users and will include a selection of twenty different retailers, including Kate Spade, Warby Parker and JackThreads. Instagram isn’t the only network honing in on e-commerce in recent weeks; their big sister Facebook recently unveiled Marketplace. They have also announced tests to pages such as allowing restaurant delivery and other purchases direct from the app/site, while YouTube and Pinterest have been eager to entice retailers into investing their Christmas product advertising budget on their network.
Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain: Instagram are serious about becoming a key competitor in the collision of social networking and ecommerce.