Instagram adds new feature to let U.S. users shop direct via app

Technology

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s Instagram began trialing a feature on Tuesday that lets U.S. users shop directly for products from the photo sharing app by adding a ‘checkout’ feature on items tagged for sale, the company said.

The move is in line with Facebook’s plan to monetize higher-growth units like Instagram as the company’s centerpiece product, News Feed, struggles to generate fresh interest.

Instagram said it has partnered with more than 20 brands, including Adidas, H&M and billionaire Kylie Jenner’s booming cosmetic company and Michael Kors, on the new feature, easing into territory more familiar to retail giants like Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc.

Under the new feature, users will be able to click on a product that is featured in a post and see its price, and then click again to bring up an order form.

Users can then later checkout and choose to pay by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and PayPal. Previously, Instagram allowed brands to link to their respective websites for users to shop.

“Facebook’s plans are to evolve Instagram and Messenger into robust e-commerce platforms where you can click on ads and buy the products,” said Ivan Feinseth, an analyst with Tigress Financial Partners.

“Facebook is also looking to incorporate payment processing and payment transfers over Messenger, further expanding its e-commerce and interactive capabilities,” Feinseth said.

Instagram has more than 130 million people tapping to reveal product tags in shopping posts every month, up from 90 million in September, it said.

Instagram did not specify the financial details in the blog.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Soundarya J in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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