More than 90 million Instagram accounts are tapping to reveal tags on shopping posts each month, so the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network is adding new ways for its users to shop.
Instagram began testing shopping with Stories in June with select retailers including Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Aritzia and The Kooples, enabling brands in the test group to include one shopping bag icon sticker on images of products, directing potential customers to more information on those products.
Product management director Vishal Shah explained the motivation behind product tags: “A couple of years ago, we noticed that people were trying to learn more about products they were discovering in their feed, but there was no easy way to do this.”
In response to this, Instagram sought to remove the friction around product discovery and replace it with product tags, Shah said, adding, “How do we make that product feel really native in feed?”
He said shopping on Instagram is “serendipitous shopping,” where people open the application to connect with friends, family and interests, and they “stumble upon a product—it’s like seeing something in a store window in the real world: You really didn’t set out to shop.”
Shopping in Instagram Stories is now being rolled out globally for users and expanded to businesses in 46 countries.
Instagram said more than 400 million accounts are now visiting Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are originating from brands.
Instagram also revealed that a Shopping channel will be added to its Explore tab.
Topic channels enable Instagram users to browse subjects that are of interest to them and dive in deeper, and Instagram said the Shopping channel will be personalized, containing posts from brands that people follow and that users might like, with the latter delivered by an algorithm that incorporates people’s interests and accounts they follow.
Shah said this new feature was designed with shopping as entertainment or as a hobby in mind, adding, “If you are in the mood to shop, you need a place to visit that is exclusively about shopping. You may not necessarily have a specific product in mind or list of things to buy.”
The Shopping channel in Explore will begin rolling out Monday and be expanded globally over the coming weeks.