Technology

After YouTube, Instagram May Now Take On Amazon With Shopping App

Instagram shopping app, IG Shopping
Tumisu / Pixabay

Instagram recently launched an IGTV app, and now, it is said to be mulling a shopping app. According to The Verge, the Instagram shopping app will be referred to as IG Shopping, and it could launch soon.

What to expect from the IG Shopping app

The IG Shopping app, which is short for the Instagram shopping app, will allow users to look for products from the merchants they follow and buy a product from within the app. The app is reportedly still in the development phase.

As of now, there is no information on when the IG Shopping app will be made public.  The Verge adds that the Instagram shopping app may still be dumped before it is released, but Instagram is said to be optimistic about its e-commerce potential.

The Instagram shopping app will be part of Facebook’s bigger plan to boost e-commerce in its family of apps. We have also heard that Instagram was testing in-app purchasing in the past, but this is the first time we are hearing about an Instagram shopping app.

Will the Instagram shopping app be a hit?

The success of the IG Shopping app will depend on several factors, including the willingness of users to share their payment information with a Facebook-owned property, considering that the parent company’s track record with privacy hasn’t been very good.

Nevertheless, an Instagram shopping app could resonate well with businesses as many already have an Instagram account. Thus, an app like IG Shopping would only help expand the market for them. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a recent call with investors that over 25 million businesses already have an Instagram account. Of those, about 2 million are advertisers.

Additionally, users do use Instagram to keep track of their favorite brands. According to The Verge, four out of five users on Instagram follow at least one business. Moreover, to boost e-commerce on the platform, Instagram has been rolling out more tools for businesses over the last few years.

In 2016, the company allowed businesses to tag products directly in their posts. On clicking the products, users are taken to a separate page where they can buy them. Recently, the company improved upon the feature by allowing brands to integrate the shopping tool into their Instagram Stories. According to the company, about 300 million people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis, and many use the feature to stay updated about their favorite brands.

“Brands have always been early adopters of stories, they create some of the most viewed and engaging content on the platform,” the company said.

IGTV app looks good on paper

Instagram’s IG Shopping app may not be the only standalone app the company launches in the near future. The company is also reportedly testing a new messaging app called Direct. In June, the company also launched YouTube rival IGTV, which offers user-generated videos which are up to an hour long.

IGTV is a standalone app, but it can also be accessed via a button inside the main Instagram app. This YouTube competitor also highlights videos from celebrities.

“It’s time for video to move forward, and evolve,” said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom when announcing the new video app. “IGTV is for watching long-from videos from your favorite creators.”

With IGTV, anyone can be a creator, not just the big names. Users are allowed to post vertical videos using Instagram’s app or the web. The app is available to all Android and iOS users.

“We made it a dedicated app so you can tap on it and enjoy video without all the distraction,” Systrom said.

Users of the IGTV app are allowed to swipe through the available videos or swipe up to check the personally recommended videos, see popular videos and continue watching previously started videos. Users also get alerts about new content. Further, creators can fill their Instagram Channels with videos that users can subscribe to.

Creators are also able to drive traffic elsewhere by putting links in the descriptions of their videos. The IGTV app does not include ads for now, and Instagram is not paying creators directly for their videos, like what Facebook did to boost its Facebook Watch video hub.

Instagram, however, has yet to talk about the progress made by the IGTV app in terms of its adoption.