Instagram Introduces Shoppable Product Tags

Instagram's shoppable photo tags | Source: Instagram

We get Linda Ikeji Social now this? Lord, land grabs in the tech market space! For a week in May, some of Instagram’s designers, engineers and product managers met not at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters but at a rented house, stocked with grocery store snacks. There, away from computers and armed with pencil and paper, they explored a question important for the photo-sharing app’s future: how do we get our users to shop?

In particular, they wanted to figure out how to introduce shopping tools without making them so obvious that they would transform the app into a splashy catalog. Together they came up with 150 ideas. After an extensive process of elimination, the team settled on the design being unveiled this week: letting brands tag products in their photos, the way users tag their friends. Tap on the tagging descriptions to get more information, tap again to buy on the retailer’s site.

It’s the first test from Facebook Inc.’s Instagram to kick off a broader strategy for helping people pick out and buy things, according to James Quarles, Instagram’s vice president of monetisation. The team will gather data from users’ behaviour to figure out what to do next. Maybe they’ll add a way to comparison shop, a way to search for products elsewhere on the app or even a Pinterest-like feature to save posts that inspire, he said.


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