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Instagram to test new shopping feature

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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London - Photo-sharing social network Instagram is to test shoppable tags with 20 US-based retail brands including women’s fashion and lifestyle brand Kate Spade, menswear e-commerce company JackThreads and eye-wear maker Warby Parker.

The selected retailers will be able to ‘tag’ up to five products featured on their photos, once a tag has been clicked users will be able to see a detailed view of the product and price, and then if the consumer taps the ‘Shop Now’ link they will go directly to that product on the brand’s e-commerce site where they can buy the product.

During the test phase, the shopping feature will only be available to users in the US and no time scale has been given to when all brands might have access to the feature.

Commenting on the trial, Kate Spade executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Mary Beech said: “Instagram is where we reflect the interesting life of the Kate Spade New York girl through relatable social moments which highlight the products that are characters in her story.

“This post features our favourite new bag and elements from our new personalisation program that, together, make the bag uniquely hers. With this seamless shopping experience launching on Instagram, the possibilities for selling our products are endless.”

JackThreads chief marketing officer, Ryan McIntyre added: “Our community uses Instagram as an aspirational discovery platform and they’re looking to us for inspiration. This test is going to change the scope of what we, as retailers, are capable of offering on mobile.

“Instead of having to transition over to the JackThreads app, our customers will be able to shop seamlessly from their social media feeds—allowing us to reach guys where they’re already hunting for what’s new.”

Kate Spade among brands testing shoppable tags on Instagram

Until now, third-party apps such as LiketoKnow.it have been the only way to shop products semi-directly from Instagram. However, with the rise in mobile shopping, Instagram states that more than 84 percent of smartphone users in the US browse, research or compare products via mobile web or mobile app, it is essential that the social media network tests how users can shop directly from Instagram photos.

The aim of the new feature is to keep Instagram users on the app for longer during their shopping experience, offering users more than just a click and buy option, but to allow brands to communicate their products while giving consumers the time to consider the product and get more information, said the social platform.

It states that in a recent internal survey it learned that the vast majority of purchases take a day or longer, with only 21 percent of purchases made within a day. Knowing that, it wanted to give the community “valuable steps” along their shopping journey before they make a purchase.

It is also clear on the fact it doesn’t want the shoppable tags to interrupt the image browsing process, so all tags will only appear when the user taps a ‘Tap here to view products’ button at the bottom of the image. This will then allow them to scroll through the products featured, and decided whether they wish to tap ‘Shop Now’ to be directed to the brand’s website.

The new feature will be available to a selected users of Apple Inc's iOS-based devices within the US from next week, Instagram said.

“As we roll out further, we’ll explore product recommendations, ways products are showcased to shoppers, global expansion and the ability to save content so Instagrammers can take an action later,” the platform said in a blog post. “We want to understand how to deliver the most seamless shopping experience for consumers and businesses on Instagram, and ultimately mobile.”

Other participating brands include Abercrombie and Fitch, BaubleBar, Chubbies, Coach, Hollister, J.Crew, Levi’s, Lulus, Macy’s, Michael Kors, MVMT Watches, Target, Tory Burch, and Shopbop.

Images: Instagram

Kate Spade