Facebook-owned ephemeral picture sharing app Instagram is reportedly working on a new ecommerce app. The Verge reports that the standalone app is being designed to cater to the needs of shoppers. When launched, “IG Shopping” will let users “browse collection of goods from merchants that they follow.” Citing people familiar with the story, The Verge writes that users will be able to shop directly from the app.
Launch date for the app has not been confirmed, while Instagram decline to comment on the story. However, the app may yet not see the light of the day as Instagram could decide to pull the plug and have it canceled. Same sources also confirmed that Instagram is now in a better position to move into ecommerce.
Instagram is not the first social media site to venture into ecommerce, however, adding a standalone app adds something new to what others are already doing. Pinterest, and Snapchat are already providing the framework for people to shop and transact different types of business on their platforms.
A couple of months ago, Instagram quietly added an in-app payments feature to enable you register your debit or credit card as part of your profile. What that means is that you can add your security pin and start buying things within Instagram. Things have moved pretty quickly since that time—you can now shop products through Stories.
The payments feature was first spotted by a TechCrunch reader, and was later confirmed by a spokesperson of the Facebook-owned company. The Instagram spokesperson according to TechCrunch, did not only confirm the availability of the new feature, but also added that in-app payments for booking appointments such as restaurants or salons is now live for a limited number of partners. You will be able to make direct payments for things like movie tickets on the app.
Early in the year, Instagram announced that it would allow select iOS users see ‘shoppable’ photos with a white icon displayed on the lower left corner. Once a user clicks on the white icon, available products that can be purchased can be clicked on to take him to the product’s description page, However, shopping can’t be done just yet until the user clicks on another link that takes him to the retailer’s website.
Snapchat, Instagram’s biggest competitor last April rolled out the ability for users to shop directly on its platform. The option lets you directly buy products, watch longer promotional videos or install apps on your phone without leaving Snapchat. The tool is called Shoppable AR—it will give advertizers the opportunity to add a website to sponsored photo filters inside the app.
The option lets you directly buy products, watch longer promotional videos or install apps on your phone without leaving Snapchat. The tool is called Shoppable AR—it will give advertizers the opportunity to add a website to sponsored photo filters inside the app.