There is an increase in social media channels aiming to make mobile shopping easier. Recently, Facebook introduced the ability to sell directly on a page by using Shopify, a popular e-commerce platform, and now Instagram Shopping will soon allow consumers to shop for products directly in the app. The idea is for people to continue viewing images and purchase items they find within the app, making it more convenient. Instagram is planning to showcase this new feature using 20 retail brands for iOS users in the U.S. If this is successful, they will likely open this feature for all users.

The structure is a mixed system by displaying products on their own pages, and having them load in the app, which makes the pages display much faster than opening a built-in browser. Again, this is similar to another feature called “Instant Articles” found on Facebook. The consumer is provided with a “Shop Now” button where they can view in-app product details with specific information (i.e. price, description, additional images, etc). If the consumer is not enticed by the product page, they can easily return to their regular Instagram feed. This is great because brands will no longer resort to the traditional “check link in bio” captions on their photos, especially given that Instagram does not allow links in organic posts. Instagram’s focus group in Los Angeles and Chicago discovered that the main gripe of shoppers on Instagram is mainly that they want to learn more about a product without leaving the app, in addition to product details being difficult to locate.

The ability to purchase products directly in the Instagram app will unfortunately not be a feature, at least for the time being. Instagram is currently working on this ability but for now, the app will display product pages, and the benefit is that Instagram does not take a cut of the purchases. They plan to monetize the product by allowing brands to pay in order to display their shoppable photos to consumers who do not follow them. Currently Instagram’s objective is to allow consumers to view product pages and provide them with enough time to determine if they want to purchase it. Based on an internet survey, they discovered that only 21% of online purchases are made within the same day. Instagram wants to change this by making the purchase journey a better experience. They are in the midst of contemplating if adding a “Save” feature is appropriate, because it will allow consumers to bookmark product posts.

The disadvantage is that only a limited amount of accounts have access to this new feature, and they are unable to manually create product pages. They must first submit information and materials to Instagram, undergoing a review process, make any required changes, and finally, publish them. The full list of test launch partners are Abercrombie & Fitch, BaubleBar, Coach, Hollister, JackThreads, J.Crew, Kate Spade, Levi’s Brand, Lulus, Macy’s, Michael Kors, MVMT Watches, Tory Burch, Warby Parker and Shopbop.

This new feature can be greatly beneficial for all brands across the world, including Iran. Instagram is planning a global expansion of this new feature. We predict brands taking advantage of this feature by easily providing product discovery and information to consumers. Iranians will be able to discover new products easier, review them, learn more and finally, purchase the products they love. This feature can also cut down on customer inquiries, because customers will be able to better locate product information, instead of contacting brands. For example, you can browse products while you are on the bus or if you are at City Center in Isfahan, you can compare prices online while at an apparel store.

With the popularity of Telegram in Iran, we wonder if an Instagram Shopping integration with this messaging app is a good idea.

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