After a year-long trial in the US, Instagram is spreading its 'shoppable' tags to eight other countries in advance of a potential global rollout.
As of today, Instagram has opened up its in-app Shopping feature to businesses in Australia, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, making it easier for brands to direct shoppers to their e-commerce storefronts without compromising on the time users spend on the app itself.
While third-party services are already available on Instagram that can make posts 'shoppable', this new Shopping on Instagram feature allows users to shop directly by using virtual price tags that are overlaid onto posts.
Shoppers can tap on these tags to view pop-ups containing the name of the product and pricing information, along with a link to the brand's storefront. This can potentially save users lots of time, as they won’t need to exit Instagram and search through a store's catalogue to find what they’re looking for.
The final transaction, however, still needs to take place on the brand’s web storefront, and can't be completed in Instagram directly.
On a shopping spree
According to Instagram’s global head of business, Jim Squires, during the year-long trial in the US, shoppable tags had become quite popular, with 80 percent of the app’s users having followed shopping businesses.
"People come to Instagram every day to discover and buy products from their favorite businesses," Squires said in a statement. "We want to be that seamless experience. Whether it’s a local artisan, florist or clothing store, shopping directly on Instagram has never been easier."
In Australia, three brands have already climbed on board the Shopping feature. Myer, Country Road and PepperMayo have already begun testing the shoppable tags in posts.
At present, Shopping on Instagram posts can be viewed directly in your regular feed, via a search for the brand’s business profile, or through a direct message or a notification – and shopping posts are specifically marked with a little 'shopping bag' icon. Over time, it's been suggested that Instagram could let businesses promote shoppable tags to help consumers find specific products, or new brands they may be interested in.
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Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.