Many people find things to buy through Instagram, but dislike the shopping process. You get thrown out to a browser window – way more fiddly than using main the app. So, Instagram is building a separate shopping app, The Verge reports
While the app may never actually launch, it’s certainly a bold move to try. Will people like shopping via the Instagram brand enough that they’ll consciously open a separate app just to browse products? Or is the success of ecommerce on Instagram more a result of people enjoying browsing through a variety of visual content – content that just happens to include retail?
But building a shopping section into Instagram’s main app instead would mean more clutter. People already complain about the messy way the recently-launched IGTV feature is promoted in-app.
The third way would be for Instagram to simply allow businesses to take payments and receive shipping details via the main app. There would be no shopping section per se, but if you found something you wanted, you could buy it with no hassle in a simple flow.
I imagine that Instagram is wary of the third option, because while it’s the simplest, it doesn’t necessarily boost the company’s revenue very much. A dedicated shopping app, with Instagram taking taking a cut of sales or charging for specialist tools, would be a whole new area of business.
I’m just not certain the company’s brand can stretch that far beyond its main app. Instagram is all about simplicity – you engaging with images and videos you like – can it really become a successful brand beyond that?