- Instagram revealed a curated collection of products inspired by some of the year's biggest style trends that users can purchase without leaving the app, according to a blog post.
- Timed for release ahead of the holidays, the collections are themed around popular Instagram hashtags such as #PartyLewk for seasonal partygoers, #MakeupQueens for fans of beauty products, #WanderLust for aspiring travelers and #NewParents for baby-related gifts. #PartyLewk showcases a glitzy gold phone case by Stylex and a sparkling Bershka blue sequin dress, for example, while #NewParents features more low-key offerings like a Rose and Rex panda bear doll.
- Users can pay for the products without leaving the app by using the Checkout on Instagram feature that launched in beta in March and has since expanded, or save them to a personal shopping collection while browsing for friends and family.
Instagram's new shoppable collections do a bit of double-duty for the image-sharing app, promoting the platform as a destination that is keyed into current style trends and also a place where consumers can go to easily purchase what's in-vogue ahead of the holidays.
The curated selection of gift ideas might raise a few eyebrows for highlighting some higher-end brands like Balenciaga and Vanina. When Checkout on Instagram first rolled out in the spring, it was centered on more affordable brands like Nike, H&M and Warby Parker. It's possible that Instagram is looking to broaden the selection of what people buy — and test how much they're willing to spend — in its app during the crucial Q4 and holiday window for retail and apparel brands.
The commerce-minded promotion arrives as Instagram gradually builds out a mobile shopping mall for retailers and direct-to-consumer brands. Instagram has continued to prioritize e-commerce features as it tries to diversify revenue beyond advertising. Last year, it introduced a dedicated shopping channel in its Explore tab and to Stories, and added a collection tab to let users save products they've tagged in the app. Following the debut of Checkout on Instagram earlier this year, the platform launched an @shop account that users can follow to browse and buy from emerging and popular brands across a number of categories.
Instagram is better suited for shoppers who discover products by following an influencer or brand, or seeing shoppable ads that are targeted based on their user activity. Instagram has become a platform for product discovery, with about 60% of users following a new brand after seeing an appealing ad in the app's vertical feed or in Stories, per a September study by video technology startup VidMob.
But Instagram isn't the only online platform getting ready for the holiday rush. Google recently revamped its e-commerce marketplace, Google Shopping, and its visual search camera technology, Google Lens, to help shoppers find products on retailer websites and complete a purchase. Facebook and Google have expanded their e-commerce features as Amazon competes more directly with them for digital ad dollars, and becomes the leading platform for product searches. Newcomer social video app TikTok, a favorite among U.S. teens and Gen Zers, confirmed last week that it's testing more shoppable capabilities for influencers as well.
These moves arrive as consumer openness to in-app shopping grows. Social commerce ranked as the top new retail technology among U.S. internet users, ahead of visual search, augmented or virtual reality and voice commerce, according to Bizrate Insights research cited in eMarketer. Thirty-four percent of adults surveyed by the firm said they had bought something through social media, up from 29% last year, while another 27% said they were interested in social shopping.