Facebook-owned Instagram looks to be making its own footprint in the land of standalone apps. According to a report from The Verge, Instagram is currently working on an e-commerce shopping app that enables users to browse and purchase products directly from merchants.
It’s been more than a year since Instagram opened up shoppable organic posts to apparel, jewelry and beauty brands. And while the company won’t release a comment on the rumored shopping app currently in development, Instagram has made a number of moves this year demonstrating its push to go deeper into e-commerce.
In June, Instagram offered a shopping bag icon to a select number of retailers, allowing them to add an e-commerce element within their Stories on the app. The following month it expanded its Collection ads and Shopping Bag icon for Stories to all brands.
Instagram also began offering booking and payment features in May for businesses on the app, making it possible for users to do things like schedule salon appointments or purchase movie tickets via a business Instagram account.
Recruiting retailers and brands that already have solid Instagram followings to sign onto a separate, stand-alone shopping app may not be much of a challenge for Instagram — especially for brands already seeing value from their Instagram audiences.
According to The Verge’s sources, Instagram believes it is well positioned to make a major expansion into e-commerce.
Last November, Instagram reported more than 25 million marketers on the app switched their accounts to business profiles. In June, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced the app had reached the 1 billion monthly active user mark. At the time, Instagram was launching IGTV — a stand-alone app for long-form video watching. Instagram also has Direct — a stand-alone messaging app.
The company has already tested the waters with its ability to move users to stand-alone apps, and it has a sufficient number of retailers and advertisers already pushing products on Instagram. Building an app for merchants wanting a more direct e-commerce line to their Instagram followers is a reasonable business model — and another opportunity for Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) to pull a bigger cut of the e-commerce pie.
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