Instagram Gains New Retail Features

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Instagram Gains New Retail Features

By Thad Rueter - 10/06/2020
Instagram Gains New Retail Features
Reels is Instagram’s answer to TikTok.

Facebook-owned Instagram is making new moves designed to position itself as a hotter sport for retail.

The social media platform is testing shopping on its two-month-old Reels short video platform — Reels is Instagram’s answer to TikTok — as well as enabling commerce on its IGTV feature, which is home to longer videos. The idea is to have video creators, merchants or brands as tags to their post so that consumers watching the videos can shop via Instagram or a particular retailer’s e-commerce site.

The move represents the latest push by Facebook to become a bigger player in online and mobile commerce, as well as payments, a goal set by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2019. Facebook has tried for years to gain more e-commerce traction, and at this point in the pandemic, the time appears to be ripe for another push toward that goal. As Facebook put it, the pandemic has essentially added jet fuel to the shift to online shopping, an opportunity for the social media platform to gain at least a smidgeon of e-commerce ground on Big Tech peers such as Google and Amazon.

In August, the social media company launched Facebook Shop, designed to serve as a place for consumers to discover businesses and shop for products within the broader Facebook app. According to the Menlo Park, California-based company, Facebook Shop makes it easy for people to find products from businesses they love, discover new ones and make purchases, all in one place. In conjunction with this launch, Facebook said that it's also expanding retail checkout tools to Instagram to further promote the use of e-commerce within the larger Facebook ecosystem.

As for retailers, Instagram is becoming a more important part of their marketing and commerce efforts. Target offers a good example from earlier this year, when it became the first mass retailer to make its products available through Instagram Checkout.