Instagram announced that they have created a special account called @shop, which brings together posts from online merchants that sell products through the image-sharing app. This is a clear indicator that the Instagram seeks to build itself out as an e-commerce platform to supplement ad sales.
Instagram says that @shop is a celebration of small businesses and the creators behind them. The content on this account is inspired by the community of shoppers. @shop is a real-time reflection of Instagram community’s interests across top shopping categories like fashion, beauty, home decor and more.
In the past year, Instagram used its reach among its more than 1 billion users worldwide to grow eCommerce activity on the app.
September 2018, Instagram introduced a dedicated shopping channel in its Explore tab and added it to Stories, the popular feature that strings together several images into a single post that disappears after 24 hours.
In November, Instagram added a collection tab to let users save products tagged in Stories and posts, shoppable videos and a shop tab on business pages to showcase all the products from a single brand or merchandiser. And in March, Instagram rolled out a native checkout feature that let shoppers pay for products without leaving the app, and extended the tool to 55 creators and five publishers for testing last month.
Social media platforms are becoming main tools for direct selling, not just advertising, and the stats are proof. According to a survey by cloud computing company Episerver, of the nearly two-thirds (63%) of online shoppers who have clicked on a social media ad, 33% made a direct purchase. Meanwhile, just over half (52%) of online shoppers who also use social media have clicked on an influencer’s post, and 31% of them made a direct purchase after viewing the post.