FEED YOUR SHOPPING APP-DICTION

FEED YOUR SHOPPING APP-DICTION

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Christmas shopping no longer needs to involve a trip to the town centre or to an oversized, overcrowded mall – thanks to the convenience of our smartphones.

Let’s face it, in a world where fashion, gadgets and gifts are at our fingertips, who’s got time for hours of queuing or laborious treks around department stores? Festive buying is now easier than ever, and it appears that our favourite smartphone apps only want to make it even more effortless (hurray!).

Instagram is finally taking the leap into the world of social commerce – about time, don’t you think? Last month, the popular image-sharing app unveiled a new feature that will allow users to shop products directly, in-app, from its very own square walls.

Instagram announced the news in a November blog post which also described why they were making the move. Browsing for products on mobile devices has become an innate habit that consumers do in any situation, from eating dinner to travelling to work. In the post, Instagram referenced eMarketer statistics which state that 84 per cent of US smartphone users now browse, research and compare products with browsers or apps on their phone. However, there’s a missing step in the consumer purchase journey, whereby people want to find out more information about the products that catch their eye.

The new app function promises to make it simpler to discover more about products and, ultimately, make it easier to shop – as if we needed another excuse! Instagram is currently testing a way for users to learn more about products they view in posts. They said: “Most mobile shopping experiences today take people from the shop window right to check-out – without giving consumers the opportunity to consider a product and get more information.”

The app is known for its ‘power of discovery’ and they want to give Instagrammers the chance to better understand the products they’re interested in and enhance their shopping journey.

Instagram is a great tool for brand exposure, but converting users and followers to product sales were clearly matters of concern. Up until this point, third-party apps have been the champions making Instagram shoppable, as the only clickable links on Instagram were through a profile’s ‘bio’. Tools such as LIKEtoKNOW have already dabbled in user conversions, so it was only a matter of time before the Facebook-owned app recognised the need for brands to use their existing Instagram presence to sell their products. Whilst unfortunate for the third-party apps, Instagram’s solution may offer an improved, efficient experience for users and consumers and more sales for retailers. ‘Appy days!

The testing phase has begun and Instagram is working with 20 partners, including Coach, Macy’s, Kate Spade and Levi’s, and select US-based users to trial the new feature. Rumour has it that they will use information from the test-run to decide if the feature will be rolled out in the UK and beyond. Watch this space!

Merry Christmas and happy shopping!

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