Instagram is social, influential and already a place for users to find inspiration on purchases. But how do you encourage Instagram users to shop without turning the app into a catalog? The Facebook-owned app is experimenting with the idea of tagging products like someone would tag a friend.
Partnering with 20 brands including Warby Parker, Kate Spade and J. Crew, the experiment will attempt to close the gap between inspiration and purchase.
Tapping on the item will bring up an information page that allows users to research the product without leaving the app. Studies have shown that more than half of consumers research purchases online before committing, and around 25 percent utilize YouTube for the same purpose. Instagram’s product information page will have a link to the retailer’s site when they’re ready to buy.
“It’s been a little frustrating to us in the past to not be able to have people purchase on Instagram,” said Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s president and creative director, per Bloomberg. “Not only has it become a place for people to get influenced by their friends, but they’re walking into our stores with their phones and saying, ‘do you have this?'”
For Warby Parker, it would be nice to create a seamless buyer’s journey from inspiration to purchase. “Right now, there isn’t a simple, clean way for us to share details about the products featured within our posts,” Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker commented on the Instagram post. “Customers often have to ask us, which creates a bulky experience on both sides.”
The product-tagged posts will roll out across a select group of US iOS accounts beginning next week. The move is just one of many in recent months by social media brands trying to implement purchases directly into their platforms.
Facebook, for example, has partnered with brands like Fandango along with local businesses to turn conversations into revenue. Pinterest, meanwhile has introduced buyable pins that feature calls to action, allowing users to purchase inspiring products directly from the app or website.