Instagram could be creating a standalone e-commerce app

6 Sep 2018

Instagram app. Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock

Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, is planning to make moves into online shopping.

Instagram is apparently quietly working away on a new standalone app entirely dedicated to shopping, according to The Verge.

The move makes sense, considering the photo-sharing app is in prime position already. Millions of businesses advertise on Instagram and many of its users are making purchases via links posted on the app.

As more and more users shift away from the Facebook platform towards Instagram for general social media activity, it’s a logical step for the company to take.

Instagram steps into shopping

Instagram also has a large quantity of data, which it could use for trend forecasting, giving it a major advantage over other e-commerce platforms. More tools may be introduced to the app, creating a direct challenge for firms such as Shopify. Using the data, recommendations based on what accounts users are following and the purchases they make could create a serious level of industry insight.

Some businesses already sell tools to allow businesses to make Instagram more shoppable, but its own features could prove tempting to retailers. The company is already testing a feature to make Instagram Stories shoppable, demonstrating a clear interest in weaving e-commerce more directly into the platform.

The potential is massive

According to the platform itself, 80pc of people who use the app follow a business account, which gives you an idea of how disruptive shopping tools from the firm would actually be. Reports say the app, which is still in development, could be dubbed IG Shopping, similar to the company’s IGTV vertical video feature.

In 2016, the company introduced a range of new features that made it easier for people to find, track and evaluate certain products on Instagram. Even then, it was using language such as “immersive” to describe the features, so it’s clear that shopping has been an arena it has had its eye on for some time now.

Instagram app. Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects