Instagram launches in-app online shopping featureraft

Instagram launches in-app online shopping feature (FT)

·         In a move to facilitate more ecommerce on its platform, Instagram is launching an online shopping feature that will allow users to buy products directly on the social media platform.

·         In the US, users will be able to buy products from 20 different brands, including H&M, Zara, Burberry, and Adidas via the new checkout system, and track the orders within the app.

·         Instagram has been progressively rolling out new shopping features over the past year – e.g. shoppable product tags – which, according to Instagram, more than 130m users a month have been tapping on (up from 90m in September).

Analysis & Comments

·         Instagram’s move into ecommerce is a natural continuation of its recent efforts to make its content more shoppable.

·         This is unsurprising given its importance to social media influencers who leverage the platform to communicate with their followers, and the fact that Instagram already quietly launched payment features when it first introduced the shoppable tags last year.

·         Currently, more than 200m of Instagram’s 1bn+ monthly active users (MAUs) visit business profiles every day to find inspiration and browse the curated content of influencer and brand profiles – something that sets the app apart from retailers like Amazon, which is still far more focused on convenience rather than inspiration and product curation.

·         Despite Instagram taking a cut from merchants, I see this as a very positive development for highly “socially active” brands, all of which have taken numerous measures to enhance their social media presence and regularly work with a variety of influencers. MAC, one of L’Oreal’s most popular millennial makeup brands, is among Instagram’s 20 initial partners.

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