Earlier this month, Instagram began testing new navigation in its app that gave its shopping destination a more prominent position. Today, the company is moving forward with its plans to promote Instagram as a place to shop with the launch of its new Instagram Shop, a place to shop from inside Instagram Explore, as well as the launch of Facebook Pay for purchases and donations in the U.S.
Both initiatives were announced previously, this year and in 2019, but had not yet rolled out.
Instagram Shop is described as a place to browse products from favorite brands and creators, as well as curated collections published by the Instagram-run @shop account. In the Shop tab, you’re able to filter by categories like beauty and home, for example, and then checkout directly in the app.
In its original announcement, Instagram Shop was to launch before the company swapped out the Activity tab for the Shop tab in the bottom nav bar, but the company chose to begin testing that latter change first. If you don’t have the Shop tab, you’ll have to visit Instagram Shop directly from Explore.
While there was already a way to shop within Instagram before today — and even check out from select accounts without leaving the app — the new Instagram Shop has been designed to encourage even more browsing and discovery of brands, creators, and products.
Shop itself grew out of how Instagram users were already using the platform to find new things to buy. The photo-centric app had naturally drawn in users who posted creative content, often including well-styled photos of fashion, beauty products, art, home décor, and more. And thanks to the rise of influencers and their numerous brands deals, Instagram was often a place where you’d find products being demoed and discussed, encouraging purchases.
Meanwhile, Instagram ads and their nearly perfected targeting capabilities would appear in your feed eerily suggesting the very thing you’re likely to buy.
The new Instagram Shop is the culmination of all this data and insight, put into its own destination. How well it will covert as a standalone product, however, remains to be seen. After all, Instagram’s ability to connect users to brands was often due to the massive amount of time users spent inside the Instagram app scrolling through photos — eventually, they’d see something they liked.
The new Instagram Shop experience is personalized to the end user. There are rows with your favorite brand and creators, for example, underneath large, attention-grabbing images at the top of the screen. There’s also a personalized “Suggested For You” section at the bottom.
Facebook Pay, meanwhile, was introduced last year as a way to transact securely across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
In Instagram, it will allow U.S. users to make purchases as they shop, as well as donations to the businesses they’re supporting because of the coronavirus outbreak and related shutdowns, because of destruction by rioters, or any other reason.
If the business is using Instagram’s own Checkout feature a selling fee is involved. At scale, this could produce a new stream of revenue for the company, particularly now as consumers are shopping more online amid the pandemic.
The new features are rolling out starting today in the U.S.