Instagram said to be prepping a stand-alone shopping app

instagram said to be prepping standalone shopping app
Patrick Foto/Getty Images

A report out Tuesday, September 4, suggests Instagram is planning to launch a stand-alone shopping app allowing users to browse and purchase products in just a few taps.

Sources claiming to have knowledge of the matter told The Verge that the app will be called “IG Shopping” and enable merchants and brands to promote and sell their wares.

According to the report, the app is still being prepped and while there may be a timeline for its possible launch or testing, the sources did not share that information.

It’s not clear if Instagram’s current ecommerce features would remain within the original app, or be moved to the dedicated shopping app.

While satisfying the shopping urges of online consumers, launching a shopping-only Instagram app could also help to persuade more businesses that a presence on Instagram — or an Instagram shopping app — is vital. Around 25 million businesses already use Facebook-owned Instagram to promote and sell their products, so the company would be able to quickly populate its dedicated shopping app with storefronts, allowing it to hit the ground running. Then it just needs people to download the app …

Paid-for business tools could also become a money-spinner for Instagram, the sources suggest, as new promotion and management tools could be introduced for the shopping-focused app.

Shopping on Instagram

Instagram introduced an in-app shopping experience in 2016 before rolling it out more widely last year. The system offers purchasing opportunities via tagged items in posted images, and more recently Instagram has been working to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible.

Given Facebook’s propensity to launch spinoff apps, the arrival of a shopping-focused Instagram app wouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The last such standalone offering from Instagram came in with the launch of IGTV in June 2018; others include Hyperlapse and video-clip-generator Boomerang.

But seeing that Instagram has built its success on photo sharing with ecommerce only added later, it could find it a challenge to convince ‘grammers to download an app geared toward shopping. Having said that, around 80 percent of Instagram users — that’s around 800,000 people — are known to follow at least one business, a statistic that could be enough to persuade the company that its shopping app has a chance of success.

It could be a while before a shopping app from Instagram sees the light of day, but we’ll be sure to update if it happens.

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