Instagram to test shopping option

Instagram to test shopping option

An Instagram post by retailer Kate Spade is shown using the shopping feature.

Next time you see a cool product on Instagram, you won't have the option to just like or comment. You could soon have the choice to buy.

On Tuesday, the photo sharing service said it's testing a shopping feature allowing users to purchase stuff they see on Instagram directly through the app. It's available to a limited group of iOS users in the U.S.

Twenty retail brands including Kate Spade and Warby Parker will participate in the initial phase. Instagram will also explore other features tied to shopping, such as viewing product recommendations and saving items to buy later.

"Right now, there isn’t a simple, clean way for us to share details about the products featured within our posts," said Warby Parker co-founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa in a statement. "Customers often have to ask us, which creates a bulky experience on both sides. We love how seamlessly integrated and consumer-centric this new experience is.”

Posts from retailers involved in the test will include a "tap to view" button to display tagged items. When tapping the tag, users get more details on the product, with the choice to "shop now." Instagram will redirect users to the retailer's website from within the app to make their purchase.

The shopping feature is among several changes Instagram made to its service since being acquired by Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 to appeal to retailers and advertisers. Along with rolling advertisements, Instagram also cleared users to capture photos in landscape and portrait orientations, instead of simply a square image. Three years ago, Instagram let users capture video instead of just still images.

Other tech companies have rolled out or tested a shopping experience within their products. Pinterest features buyable pins, where users can purchase anything with a "Buy It" button and make payments through credit card or Apple Pay.

Last year, Google introduced Purchases on Google, where consumers can buy items directly from mobile search ads. Both Twitter and Facebook have also tested shopping features for their services.



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