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Instagram expands shopping capabilities

Instagram is continuing its evolution into a full-fledged e-commerce platform.

The Facebook-owned, visually-oriented social media platform is rolling out direct shopping functionality on its IGTV long-form video app. This follows Instagram’s introduction of video ads within the IGTV platform in June 2020.

On IGTV, consumers can now watch and buy an item in just a few taps right from the video. They can complete the purchase either with Instagram Checkout or on the seller’s website. 

Later in 2020, Instagram says it will enable customers to make purchases directly within video content across its IGTV, Live, Stories, and Reels features. In August, Instagram launched a shopping destination called Instagram Shop, which provides a new way for customers to discover and buy products from a single location within the Instagram app. 

Instagram Shop also contains Live Shopping, a real-time selling function for U.S. businesses using Instagram Checkout. Furthermore, Instagram is testing a new messaging button on Shops designed to streamline customer messaging on Instagram Direct. 

Customers can view products within the chat, enabling them to share products with friends and family to get feedback before making a purchase. In the future, shoppable IGTV videos will be discoverable on Instagram Shop. 

It is interesting that Instagram is moving ahead to offer e-commerce functionality via Reels, a TikTok-like short video platform, as a possible Walmart investment in the U.S. business of TikTok continues to stall during negotiations that include the U.S. and Chinese governments. Instagram head Adam Mosseri has tweeted his opposition to any ban of TikTok in the U.S., and TikTok is said to be considering Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, who left Instagram parent company Facebook in 2018, to take its vacant CEO position.

“Digital creators and brands help bring emerging culture to Instagram, and people come to Instagram to get inspired by them,” said Instagram COO Justin Osofsky. “By bringing shopping to IGTV and Reels, we’re making it easy to shop directly from videos. And in turn, helping sellers share their story, reach customers, and make a living.”

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