Retailers Can Now Make Instagram Posts Much More Shoppable

The free feature should be a boon for direct marketers

The imagery-based app just got more attractive to merchants.
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Instagram lovers, get ready for an uptick in shoppable retail posts to either “heart” (equivalent of a like, more or less, in Facebook parlance) or ignore. Or perhaps, you’ll be inspired to click through and buy something.

Since November, the Facebook-owned, imagery-based app has been testing more multidimensional, organic posts for retailers, letting 20 select brands—such as Kate Spade New York, Lulu’s, Macy’s and Warby Parker—add product information and links to their photos. Today, the feature, called Instagram Shopping, will be available widely in the U.S. to apparel, jewelry or beauty brands.

For the world of direct marketing, this feature should let practitioners of the trade test retail landing pages like never before—you don’t have to buy ads, after all. In industry wonkspeak, A/B split testers and multivariate aficionados, start your engines.

Mary Beech, evp and marketing at Kate Spade New York, said in a statement that it allows her customers “to seamlessly tap and shop the product—going from inspiration to information to purchase in just a few steps—we’re excited to see where the feature continues to take us.”

The promos can only include a single photo, an Instagram rep said via email, and marketers cannot utilize video or the platform’s multi-photo carousel feature for the shoppable post. Facebook-minded marketers who have already uploaded their product catalogs to that platform can easily plug them into Instagram Shopping.

Instagram also revealed on Tuesday a self-serve tool to put items up for sale by tagging a product in a photo. In its blog announcement, the company explained that it’s “giving businesses the power to create and tag a post with products directly from their iOS mobile phone. Once a business has a product catalog connected to their account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.”

Lastly, Instagram also disclosed that retailers will soon have new stats such as how many people tapped to see more product details or clicked on “shop now” buttons. “By telling businesses more about their audience and which posts are performing well,” the company wrote, “they can create more relevant content.”