Coming Soon to Instagram: Shoppable Photos



Instagram is testing shoppable posts with a small group of iOS users in the United States. The posts will feature up to five products, and tapping them will tell you more about each, and eventually drive you to the product’s website.


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Facebook-owned Instagram is making its push towards a more e-commerce friendly future. In a new announcement, Instagram said they are beginning to test shoppable photos with a limited number of iOS users in the United States.

“More than 84% of smartphone users in the US browse, research or compare products via a web browser or mobile app. While browsing and discovery is easy on mobile, finding more information about the specific products you see isn’t always as simple. On a platform known for its power of mobile discovery, we’re excited to announce an easier experience to shop the products you love on Instagram… In an internal survey, we learned that the vast majority of purchases take a day or longer, with only 21% of purchases made within a day.”

The test will feature 20 retail brands based in the United States including Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach, Hollister, JackThreads, J.Crew, Kate Spade, Levi’s Brand, Macy’s, Michael Kors, Warby Parker, and several others. These photos will feature more in-depth information, clickable components, and contextual product details, for Instagram users to explore and learn more about the products in the posts.


When a user taps a shoppable photo, a tag will appear highlighting up to five products and their prices. Once selected, more details will appear, and eventually, the user can tap a “Shop Now” link to go directly to that product on the business’ website. Everything before that step takes place within the Instagram app.

The Future of E-Commerce on Instagram

Instagram is getting ready to make shopping and e-commerce a much bigger part of the platform. Towards the end of their announcement post, they explain how these initial features are not final, and they’ll use this test to learn more about what works, what doesn’t and how to better serve their users and advertisers around the world.

Going back to the stat that only 21% of purchases are made within a day, Instagram says they want to explore the ability for Instagrammers to save products, posts, and shoppable content for later so that you can easily return to that post at a later time once you’re ready to buy.

How Instagram Might Monetize Shoppable Posts

According to TechCrunch, Instagram won’t make money off of these shoppable posts in the beginning. The plan, eventually, is to encourage advertisers to promote their shoppable posts to users who do not follow them already, similar to how promoted and sponsored posts appear in your Instagram feed today.

Features Possibly on the Horizon

Shoppable tags will eventually make their way to video posts, photo carousels, and other countries (via TechCrunch). With these shoppable tags, Sellers might not need to add the familiar yet inconvenient “click the link in our bio” text usually placed in the caption of the post.

For now, there’s no mention on Instagram Stories and e-commerce. They seem to be isolated from each other at the moment, but it’s logical to think the two will combine in some way or another down the road. For example, as you’re watching Stories, and thumbing from one friend to the next, you might be interrupted presented with a shoppable, sponsored post from a brand, allowing you to click the post, account, or even products themselves. Not to mention that Instagram just brought Stories to the explore section of the app, adding to Instagram’s allure as a “platform known for its power of mobile discovery.”

How You Should Prepare

While shoppable posts are not yet available to everyone, you should start to think about your business, and if there is a potential reason to explore this new feature. In the meantime, you can read our “5 Tools To Supercharge Your Instagram Posts.”

You can also watch the Social Media Week London session featuring David Cuen, Instagram’s International Lead of Community discuss the three core values his team uses to building a global community of users, advertisers, and everything in-between. You can access this talk by signing up for SMW Insider, or read a brief recap of the session on SMW News.

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