How many times have you gone through your Instagram feed, come across a featured product, and wished there was an easy way to purchase that product? In my case, certainly more times than I can count on both hands. It’s encouraging, then, to know that Instagram has begun rolling out a set of new features that improve the experience of discovering and purchasing products on its immensely popular platform.
As reported by Recode, Instagram has developed new features that make shopping for products featured by brands on their photos easier. However, it’s important to note right off the bat that, at least initially, the actual purchasing does not take place within Instagram. Rather, Instagram sends you to the brands’ apps or websites to complete the purchase.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before the actual purchasing, Instagram lets you tap a shopping bag icon at the lower left corner of a post to reveal tags for each featured product indicating their respective names and prices. Tapping a tag opens a webpage in Instagram showing more information about a product. If you opt to purchase the product, that’s when Instagram takes you out of the app and into the appropriate third-party app or website.
While that may sound counterintuitive, Instagram has its justification. “We want to give people tools to make it as easy as possible,” says Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product management for monetization, “but not be in your face.”
Fair enough. And at least it’s better than having to follow ever-changing links on brands’ Instagram bios or manually entering bit.ly or other links specified in Instagram captions.
Note that Instagram’s new shopping features are initially available to a small group of users in the U.S. and on the feeds of select brands including Abercrombie, Kate Spade, Macy’s, and Warby Parker.
Read about other recent developments with Instagram