The image-focused social network is expanding a shopping feature it began testing in November that seeks to make it easier for users to find, evaluate and track products on Instagram.

Instagram is making a play to be a bigger part of consumers’ e-commerce discovery process.

The Facebook Inc.-owned, image-focused social network today announced that it is expanding a shopping feature it began testing in November. The feature enables a select group of retailers to share more detailed posts that make it easier for Instagram users to review, learn about and consider items that interest them. In the coming weeks the feature, which Instagram calls Instagram Shopping, will be available to “thousands of businesses” that sell apparel, jewelry or beauty products.

Each post that a retailer makes using the shopping feature has a “tap to view” icon in the photo’s bottom-left corner. When tapped, a tag will appear on various products in the post—showcasing up to five products and their prices. When a user selects a tag, it will open a new, detailed view of the product. If the consumer taps the “Shop Now” link from the product details view, she’ll go directly to that product on the merchant’s website.

A retailer can create and tag a post with products directly from his iOS mobile phone. Once a business has a product catalog connected to its account, it is akin to tagging a person in a post.

The social network says it will soon roll out metrics that tell retailers how many consumers tapped to see more product details or clicked the Shop Now button. “By telling businesses more about their audience and which posts are performing well, they can create more relevant content,” Instagram’s business team writes in a blog post.


Early testing has shown Instagram Shopping to be effective for a number of merchants. For instance, 33% of the consumers who have tapped to learn more about posts by women’s apparel retailer Lulus have then tapped Shop Now to visit the Lulus site, says Noelle Sadler, the retailer’s vice president of marketing.

“The development of a native and authentic shopping experience on the platform has taken discovery to the next level for customers,” she says. “It has opened a great deal of opportunity for us to engage new and existing customers.”