Instagram is expanding on its in-app shopping features with three new additions, including a new way to save items for reviewing later and new ways to discover products in videos and on business pages according to a recent announcement from the company. The first of those adds the ability to effectively save a wishlist of products spotted on Instagram in either the Feed or Stories. Users can now tap the product tag on an item in either location, followed by a Save icon – located in the bottom right-hand corner. That will send the item to a new dedicated collection under the title "Shopping," which can then be accessed from their profile. The second feature allows products to be highlighted in videos shown on a given brand's feed. If the brand has included featured products in the video, users will be able to tap the shopping icon at the bottom-left-hand side of the screen to show the items and more information about them – such as pricing.
Finally, the company is live "testing" a complete revamp to the "Shop" tab found on business profiles, allowing users to view all of the products that profile has shown off in shopping-related posts. Tapping the button how shows off all of those products and details such as item names, pricing, and the full post that the product was shown off in. Those show in an organized and clean-looking card-like arrangement.
Background: The Facebook-owned company had, of course, already been putting forward a not-insignificant amount of effort and investment leading up to these most recent changes. The addition of Shopping functionality in Stories happened way back in June for a three-month test period before being fully expanded to 46 countries in September. That also included a wide roll-out of product 'stickers' to outline pertinent details of a given product and the Explore shopping channel, helping users discover or rediscover brands. Not only did that feature, and its predecessor in the more general Feed, help brand enthusiasts find and interact with their favorite companies and businesses. With Instagram's then-noted 300-million daily Stories users, it vastly expanded the opportunities for companies operating on the platform to put their best foot forward and entice new customers.
Bearing that in mind, this is only a small part of the ways Instagram has been altering its use and purpose of the past several months. The company also introduced music-based features to its Stories feed in June under the all-encompassing 'stickers' feature in order to bring more personalization with an assortment of licensed tracks to choose from. That not only helped make Stories more interesting. It did so while keeping everything within the bounds of legality, helping users be more expressive without inadvertently committing acts of piracy.
Impact: Those are really only a couple of ways that Instagram and its application have improved over time, as the company has repeatedly struggled to monetize and become profitable. With the shopping features in place, bringing window shopping and full-blown retail to bear, the service is quickly becoming a much more comprehensive social networking tool. This latest set of new additions is really just one step further down that iterative process as the company continues to experiment its way to widely-used and refined features.