You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed: Mountaintop. Food. Beach. Your friend and her dog. Your friend and her dog again. Then, there they are, those shoes you’ve been drooling over for the past month. What if you could shop right there, on your feed, before the bus showed up?
No doubt smartphones have changed the way we shop. We are constantly searching and comparing products on the go, whether in the store or in our living room. Up to this point, Instagram has not had much of an advertising platform. Products in photos have included links in the description, instantly transporting the user away from their beloved feed and right to the checkout cart of the retailer, skipping some important steps along the shopping process— but it’s all about to change.
Instagram just announced that select iOS users will see a new feature in the coming days. Photographs including products for sale will have a small white icon in the corner that the user can tap. One touch and the items for sale will be revealed with the price. Click on the item of interest, and you’ll be brought to the product's description page, all still within Instagram. Decide you don’t want it, simply swipe back to your feed. Want to buy it? You can then click on the link that will take you to the retailer's checkout process.
The test launch includes 20 companies from J.Crew to JackThreads, and will only be available to select users. Before the final rollout, Instagram promises features like “product recommendation” and “save for later.” Instagram will take no cuts from the sales made, but does plan on later allowing brands to purchase the ability to show their shoppable photos to users that don’t follow them.