Instagram Working On Shopping App

Instagram, the photo-sharing social media network owned by Facebook, is reportedly developing a shopping app which could be called IG Shopping.

The Verge, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported the app will enable users to browse through items for sale from merchants they follow and make purchases from the app. It’s not clear when the shopping app will be rolled out with the app still in the development phase, reported The Verge. The report noted that Instagram could also decide not to release the shopping app.

Instagram does see the shopping app as a major way to get into the eCommerce market, noted the report, given the fact that more than 25 million businesses have an Instagram account and two million are advertisers.  What’s more, citing Facebook data, The Verge reported that four in five Instagram customers follow one or more businesses. By launching an app, it is creating a focused way to increase shopping and browsing on the network. A person familiar with the company’s thinking noted that Facebook could roll out more tools so that merchants can create businesses on Instagram, which would be a challenge to the likes of Shopify. Since most online businesses need to have Instagram, it’s not a stretch to see them pay to access business tools.

According to the report, Instagram started testing the ability to shop in November of 2016, and launched it more broadly in March of 2017. With the tools, companies are able to tag posts about individual products and let users shop from the photos. The Verge reported Instagram is testing a feature that enables users to shop via Instagram Stories as well. Instagram also has another standalone app it is testing that the company is calling Direct, which is a messaging app. It has been testing the app since December, noted the report.