Like what you see on your favourite Instagram influencers but tired of never getting a reply to your “where can I buy that?” or how much do it cost? questions?—Instagram has sensed your frustrations and has decided to make it easier for users to not only know where the items are from, but also purchase them directly on the platform.
The photo-sharing platform starting testing the Shopping in Stories feature in June. Now brand accounts can insert shopping links in their Stories, so users can easily view pricing for and links to buy the items featured. Instagram says Shopping in Stories lets brands “tell an even deeper story about what’s behind their products.” Telling an even deeper story, in this case, seems to mean selling you stuff. As of today, it’s available to businesses based in 46 countries.
“Now when you’re watching behind-the-scenes Stories from your favourite brands and see something you love, you can quickly tap on a product to learn more,” Also “Now, when you simply want to shop for fun, you’ll see a channel dedicated to Shopping posts from the brands you follow and brands you might like,” the post added.
There’s also a new Shopping channel prominently featured in Explore. Shopping in Explore shows posts about products from accounts you follow and accounts Instagram thinks you’d enjoy following, letting you idly shop in the way you might if you went to a mall just for fun. The feature is launching in the US today and will be available in more countries over the next few weeks.
Given the discovery element of Explore, it makes sense to introduce shopping here. You’ll see it listed along with the other categories at the top of the Explore feed, and you can click to find new brands and products that might pique your interest. For anyone who is already shopping on Instagram — whether through posts or scarily on-point ads in their feed — this promises to be an easier way to have the same experience in one section of the app. It also makes shopping on Instagram more intentional, rather than being something you’re inadvertently pulled into while scrolling through your feed.
The updates mark a significant expansion of Instagram’s shopping features, an area that’s becoming increasingly important to Instagram. While it’s not clear, for now, just how big of a business e-commerce actually is for Instagram, though the company obviously sees it as a huge opportunity.