Instagram is rife with style inspiration. Retail brands, fashion bloggers, and other influencers serve an endless stream of enviable looks on the photo-sharing service and we eat it up. With a new update, currently in testing, it could become even easier to copy the looks you love.
Instagram has partnered with 20 brands to test shoppable photo tags with iOS users in the US. The retailers can tag products in their images, just like you tag friends. Hitting “Tap to view products” reveals more information on an in-app details page, including a product’s price, description, and additional photos. Tapping “Shop Now” brings you to the retailer’s website to purchase the item.
Wired reports that Instagram’s experiment with in-app shopping comes after Pinterest rolled out a discrete buy button. Other networks, including Facebook and Twitter, have tested similar buttons. Instagram hopes its focus on visuals make it a better candidate for the discovery and purchase of new products than its competitors.
“You may not even know you’re looking for on Instagram, but you’re consuming a feed that includes your friends, your family, your interests,” Vishal Shah, the company’s manager of business and advertising products, told Wired. “This, combined with a highly visual feed, lends itself really well to discovery.”
Instagram isn’t taking a cut of purchases, and instead plans to monetise the product later down the line by allowing brands to pay to show their shoppable photos to users who don’t follow them. The company also plans to add a “Save” feature so users who aren’t prepared to buy on impulse can bookmark product posts as they browse for later viewing.
Shoppable tags are currently being tested with 20 notable brands, including Kate Spade, Warby Parker, Coach, Hollister, Levi’s, Michael Kors, JackThreads, and J.Crew. In-app purchasing historically hasn’t worked well in social media, but Instagram stands to benefit even if the new tags don’t drive much buying.
“At the end of the day,” says Jason Goldberg, vice president of commerce at the digital marketing company Razorfish, “the big win for Instagram is they get some of their platform’s content to be much more structured with product information, and can start collecting much more granular buying intent data about its audience.”
In other words, even if you don’t make many purchases with the shoppable tags, they help Instagram target ads more effectively – and that, in turn, adds up to serious revenue boosts for the company.
Check out Instagram’s shoppable photo tags in action in the video below.