The Next Touch-To-Buy Experience

Instagram, our online go-to for lifestyle highlights, is now the next online shopping site

Instagram, our online go-to for highlights of celeb lifestyles and even our BFF’s latest vacay posts, is now the next online shopping site.

While the app just launched its own touch-to-buy feature, testing its usage on high-end brands, others such as LiketoKnow.It and Spring have been around far longer.

The idea behind the new shopping feature originated to resolve a common issue. Celebrities and brands post photos online featuring everyday and luxury items and consumers then have to search for that item via external sites. By adding the new feature, Instagram has eliminated the extra step and has made searching and buying items that much easier for consumers with direct linking.

The way it works? Photos that are deemed “shoppable” have a small icon in the bottom left-hand corner. An Instagram user can then touch the photo initiating a secondary link that features the brand and price of the item if the user is still interested in purchasing the item, a touch of the secondary link takes them directly to a labels’ website showcasing the featured item.

This function will take the research effort out of the equation for the consumer, allowing them to learn more about the product earlier on in their decision-making process— all without ever having to leave the Instagram app.

Currently, Instagram has 20 partner brands for the feature including: Coach, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Shopbop, Kate Spade, Jack Threads and Warby Parker. However, the feature is still in its initial stages and may become more prominent among high-end brands and retailers as it expands in the future.

In addition to the new shopping feature, Instagram has added a save option for those who may want to consider other products before making a purchase; noting that only 21 percent of consumers make a purchase within a day of learning about it. This feature is located in the lower right-hand corner and saves the post to a personal gallery for a save-now, buy-later option.

In the future the hope is to expand the feature by exploring product recommendations, ways products are showcased to consumers and global expansion stating, “We want to understand how to deliver the most seamless shopping experience for consumers and businesses on Instagram, and ultimately mobile.”

For now the app is not on a timescale or rolling out any updates of the feature by a set deadline. And the company has declined to comment on whether brands would have to pay a fee to promote products using the feature. Although, if there is a fee, the consensus among many retailers seems to be positive as they view it as a new opportunity to enter the daily lives of consumers.

For those who are dedicated to other online shopping options such as LiketoKnow.It or Spring, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be leaving anytime soon.

LiketoKnow.It, which launched in 2011, sought to resolve the issue for consumers and bloggers by creating a website that connected to Instagram and allowed users to receive product details via email. The company, which just launched an app earlier this year and has partnered with over 4,000 retailers, allows users to like a blogger or influencer’s photo and instantly receive product information as well as similar products sent to their personal email account.

Now, with the use of its app, all “liked”Instagram photos come up in a personal gallery and can be searched through at any time–much like Instagram’s save-now, buy-later option.

Another direct-to-consumer buying option is the Spring app, which boasts over 1,500 brands, exclusive deals and free shipping and returns. A user can follow companies and like products, receiving updates about saved products.

Each online option has the same goal in mind: to make shopping easier for consumers and companies. How they choose to expand in the future will depend on consumer trends.

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