- Instagram announced new Commerce Eligibility Requirements for Instagram Shopping, allowing a broader swath of businesses and content creators to sell merchandise through the e-commerce feature, according to a company blog post.
- Under the new policy, which begins July 9, businesses and creators can tag products on Instagram as long as those products are sold through a single website that the seller owns. Sellers need at least one eligible product to begin applying the shopping tags, Instagram said.
- Instagram has also updated its onboarding flow for those new to Shopping to give clearer guidance and more transparency into the types of sellers the platform is best-suited to support, such as creators looking to grow their merchandising business.
Instagram expanding Shopping to more diverse business owners, including the content creators who make up a significant chunk of its community, is a natural next step as the platform looks to fortify its e-commerce ambitions. The Commerce Eligibility Requirements demanding that sellers have a dedicated website they own and sell their products through differentiates the feature from affiliate network programs used by rival services like Amazon, according to TechCrunch.
Instagram first launched the Checkout on Instagram feature in beta last year, but early partners largely consisted of major retail brands like Adidas and Zara. Widening the tent of who can sell on Instagram might be more of an imperative as the coronavirus pandemic drives more people to buy online.
The shift in focus to smaller businesses and creators has been apparent with Instagram parent company Facebook as well. In May, Facebook announced Facebook Shops, which look to help small businesses in the U.S. turn their social media profiles into digital storefronts while physical retail locations remain shuttered.
Creators have also continued to find themselves in the Facebook limelight as the social media giant touts newfound strengths, such as livestreaming, that have emerged under coronavirus-related lockdowns.
During its first presentation as part of the IAB's Digital Content NewFronts on Tuesday, Facebook dedicated one segment to its community collaborations between brands and creators, and another to showing off how creators have innovated in producing content under quarantine. Breaking from other NewFronts presenters, Facebook did not dedicate much airtime to new premium programming on offerings like Facebook Watch or solutions for ad buyers, Adweek reported.
Shoring up strengths with the creator community comes as Facebook looks to compete more closely with YouTube and streaming platforms like Amazon's Twitch. YouTube has for years offered the types of merchandising opportunities that Instagram creators now have access to. The Google-owned video platform this week also introduced a new virtual shelf feature that creators can include underneath their videos to sell their wares, per TechCrunch.