Instagram Introduces Photo-to-product Shopping Functionality

Alex Spencer

Instagram Shopping

Instagram is introducing product links to photos posted by brands on its platform.

Starting next week, the Facebook-owned social network will launch a trial with 20 US-based retail brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi’s, Target and Michael Kors.

These brands will be able to post photos that feature their products, along with a 'tap to view' shopping bag icon at the bottom left. When this is tapped, tags will appear on up to five products displayed in the image, which the user can select in order to see more details within the app.

If they choose to buy the product, they'll then be taken out of Instagram to its listing on the brand's website.

“Our community uses Instagram as an aspirational discovery platform and they’re looking to us for inspiration,” says Ryan McIntyre, CMO of JackThreads, one of the brands involved in the trial. “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.”

“Right now, there isn’t a simple, clean way for us to share details about the products featured within our posts. Customers often have to ask us, which creates a bulky experience on both sides,” says Dave Gilboa, co-founder of Warby Parker, which is also trialling the functionality.

During the trial period, 'tap to view' products will be trialled with a select group of users on iOS devices in the US.

As well expanding globally, Instagram's future plans include testing 'product recommendations, ways products are showcased to shoppers ... and the ability to save content so Instagrammers can take an action later'.

The feature was developed in response to a Facebook-commissioned Kantar survey which found that 'the vast majority of purchases take a day or longer', and only 21 per cent of purchases are made on the same day they are researched.