Instagram has taken what could be a big step toward expanding access to its shopping platform at a time when rivals of the Facebook subsidiary are moving broaden and diversify their own revenue streams.
In a Tuesday (June 23) press release, the company said it will be opening up Instagram Shopping to a wider array of businesses, including Instagram creators who have products or other offerings to sell.
And Instagram clearly is thinking of not just small businesses, but even small, independent contractors or freelancers.
The move is part of a larger effort in social commerce to close the “conversion gap” between the ideas customers get on various social media apps like Instagram, and the sales they later inspire, which are still mostly happening on the websites of the companies that make the various products or services in question.
“Whether you are a candle business making a foray into e-commerce, a musician selling merchandise, or a food blogger expanding into your own cookware line, any eligible business or creator account with at least one eligible product can use shopping tags to drive people to their website to make a purchase,” Instagram said in a statement on the expansion of access to its Shopping platform.
Under Instagram’s new “Commerce Eligibility Requirements,” Instagram account holders who want to use the new shopping service have to be actually selling the products themselves, as opposed to fronting for another company or organization.
Instagram users who take an interest in the product must also be able to either buy it directly from the seller’s website, or through Instagram Checkout or Facebook.
Instagram’s new rules are aimed at expanding the number of vendors — and by extension, shoppers as well — on its platform, and will go into effect on July 9, the company said.
In order to be eligible to sell on Instagram Shopping, account holders must have established “trustworthiness” with “an authentic, established presence.” Instagram said it may also take into consideration whether the account holder has been “maintaining a sufficient follower base” as well.