Instagram Users Can Now Shop Without Ever Leaving Brands’ Stories

Clicking on new stickers brings up product information, link to buy

Brands including Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Aritzia and The Kooples are among those with access to the feature at launch Instagram

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Instagram users no longer have to leave their Stories to buy things, as “select brands” now have the ability to include shopping bag icon stickers on images of products that will direct potential customers to more information on those products.

Brands including Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Aritzia and The Kooples are among those with access to the feature at launch, with more to be added “soon.”

Shopping bag icon stickers on images of products will direct potential customers to more information

Periscope vice president of media Jen Brady said that while she is glad to see Instagram continuing to evolve the Stories experience and sees this new feature as a great opportunity, “to go from the Instagram to a webpage is kind of a disconnect to me,” adding that she would like to see the purchase path take users to brands’ apps.

Instagram said 300 million people are using Stories on a daily basis, and a recent survey by Facebook IQ, parent company Facebook’s research arm, found that Instagram users “often” use Stories to keep tabs on brands they are interested in, learn more about products they like and discover new products.

Kamiu Lee, CEO of influencer marketing platform Activate, said, “Stories are so impactful as a content format for a variety of reasons due to the in-the-moment, ephemeral feel of the content from a consumer’s perspective. This format created urgency and exclusivity for would-be shoppers—a key tactic for brands and retailers alike to increase conversion.”

Instagram added that 33 percent of respondents to the survey said their interest in brands or products grew after seeing them in Stories.

Lee said that brands will likely create exclusive deals using the feature, and will use it to create launch strategies and offer pre-orders. The short-life of an Instagram story will “increase interest for consumers given the shortened time frame. For example, Nike pre-released its Air Jordans on Snapchat in February, and the shoes sold out in 23 minutes,” Lee said, adding that Instagram will likely imitate that strategy, eventually expanding the shoppable Story to more brands and influencers.

Instagram parent Facebook began testing ads in its Stories last month, saying at the time that more than 150 million people are viewing them every day.

Instagram is not alone in presenting new options for retailers this week: Snapchat began offering new augmented reality Sponsored Snappables, which it described as branded versions of its two-player AR selfie experiences. Launch partners include Metro, Bud Light, Dunkin Donuts and King.

The messaging application is also testing new Shoppable Snap Ads and Story Ads, which will showcase brands’ tappable product catalogs, enabling users to open their websites without leaving Snapchat. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.