Facebook is planning a major new move into e-commerce with Instagram working on a new standalone app dedicated to shopping. Over the past few years, Instagram has been rolling out various shopping-related features (like tagging products in the post).
Earlier this year, Instagram rolled out its shopping tools to eight more countries, allowing more merchants to display their products’ prices on their posts. It makes sense that the next step/evolution would be its own shopping app. A couple of months later, it gave some companies the ability to add electronic payments that would allow their followers to book appointments. And this June, it started allowing some brands to test and sell products in Stories.
The app (which could be called IG Shopping) will let users browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow and purchase them directly within the app. No one is quite sure when it will launch. It’s still in development, and it could possibly even be squashed before it is released.
Shopping would not be the first Instagram feature to be spun out into a standalone app. In June it introduced IGTV, a YouTube competitor that puts vertically shot videos into their own app.
Instagram has also been testing Direct, a new messaging app, since last December. Facebook is looking to duplicate the success of their Messenger app with Direct, eventually offering brands more advertising opportunities.
More than 25 million businesses already have Instagram accounts. According to Sheryl Sanberg, four in five Instagram users follow at least one business. Creating a standalone app would allow the company to provide a dedicated place for the increase in activity on Instagram while also expanding opportunities for revenue.
Do you think you will shop on Instagram? Comment below and let me know!