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Instagram poised to roll out standalone shopping app

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Instagram is building a standalone shopping app, as social media makes even greater in-roads into ecommerce.

According to reports in The Verge, the Facebook-owned social media company is set to launch an app called IG Shopping (date not know yet) that will allow users to browse goods from retailers and brands that they follow and buy direct through the app.

Instagram already has 25million business accounts and some 2million of them advertise on the site. Many retailers are already using the site to sell, with M&S already using it. Moreover, four in five Instagram users follow at least one business or brand.

The move is timely, as the latest stats from Royal Mail show that 22% of UK consumers has purchased an item after seeing something on social media. Younger shoppers (48%), women (29%) and those living in urban areas (38%) are significantly more likely to have purchased items after seeing posts on social media.

A separate study by Avinos finds that more than half (55%) of consumers have made a purchase through a social media channel, such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

The move by Instagram make perfect sense as increasingly shoppers are using social to discover as well as to commune with retailers and brands. However, for retailers, it is a double-edged sword.

“Instagram’s proposed expansion into eCommerce is really just the tip of the iceberg for many brands looking to tap into social media platforms’ younger audiences,” says Patrick Munden, Global Head of Retail, Salmon. “Amazon had previously partnered with Snapchat for much the same reasons, offering up their products to younger people who look to emulate celebrities and influencers. The new Instagram ‘IG shopping’ app will look to bridge the divide between being ‘inspired’ on social media and actually hitting the purchase button. Our own research this year found that 29% of Millennials in the UK and US use social media to actively purchase products, showing a real opportunity for growth in this market.”

He continues: “Fortunately for Instagram, its holds a significant share of the younger market – particularly those 16 and over, the platform’s key target audience – and the brand name to boot. It will be interesting to see how the app will be deployed separately or if it will be integrated into Instagram’s main app, like IGTV earlier this year. Whatever the case, it represents another opportunity for brands to sell to a new audience and another weapon on their balanced approach arsenal which should span marketplaces, retailers and their own websites. As social media becomes ubiquitous for all manners of communication, inspiration and purchasing, no brand will want to be left behind in the race to sell to this increasingly important young consumer audience.” 

Image: Fotolia

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