Background on Instagram’s Rumored Shopping App
Last month, rumors of an Instagram-powered ecommerce application began circulating online. Although company officials at Facebook, which owns the popular mobile photo sharing app, have yet to confirm the rumor, the possibilities are exciting for the 25+ million businesses currently engaging with Instagram’s active users.
Last year, Instagram rolled out a new feature that allowed retailers to tag individual products in their posts and link users directly to their ecommerce sites to shop. In June 2018, the platform began testing an expansion of shoppable content in Instagram Stories via product stickers. This feature allows users to gain quick access to information about products and shop seamlessly in retailers’ paid and organic Stories. Taking shoppable content to the next level by offering a standalone ecommerce app built on social media data could be a significant opportunity for marketers.
What an Instagram Shopping App Could Look Like
The rumored Instagram Shopping app would allow users to purchase merchants’ products directly in the app; a step beyond Instagram’s existing product tagging feature, which directs users to a merchant’s ecommerce site, where a transaction can then be completed.
The rollout of a new app would likely focus on building native, organic shopping features that benefit direct-to-consumer brands. This is similar to the recent success of Facebook’s Marketplace feature, the first of what could be many steps into the ecommerce space for the company. Facebook and Instagram are potentially demonstrating a focus on moving further into the ecommerce vertical to compete with major online retailers and shopping destinations such as Amazon and Google.
Other social platforms, such as WeChat in China, have already proven successful in allowing users to shop, pay, engage with their peers, and more in one app. This success, however, is largely dependent on the system’s ability to accept, store, and secure credit card information provided by users. Once Facebook/Instagram is able to reach this milestone, they’ll be in a place to compete for a share of the ecommerce market.
What the Instagram Shopping App Could Mean For Marketers
Instagram’s rumored shopping app could provide marketers and retailers the opportunity to sell products directly on a social media platform, combining the discoverability of social with the convenience of an ecommerce app. At this point, it’s unclear whether an Instagram shopping app would require a shopping feed partner, such as Shopify.
In addition to ecommerce capabilities, the rumored Instagram shopping app could allow brands to expand their paid social efforts. With the ability to shop and purchase products within a single interface, the new app could deliver substantially stronger ROI for paid social advertisers. Without additional information on the rumored app’s capabilities, however, it’s unclear if advertisers outside of the ecommerce vertical would be able to leverage app for advertising efforts.
Although an Instagram Shopping app may not actually come to fruition, brands should begin thinking about how changes in the ecommerce space could impact their sales cycle. All brands with an online sales component should regularly assess their user experience and continue to evaluate channels, benchmarking the ROI of existing efforts.
Photo two source: Pixabay