Instagram just announced three new ways to discover new products, shop from favorite brands and track all your shopping in one place. The features will help retailers gain more exposure for the products they’re promoting.
- Save to your new shopping collection: Now when you come across a must-have item, you can save it to a shopping collection to revisit it later by tapping a product tag, then tapping the save icon.
- Shopping in feed videos: When you see a video in feed from a brand you follow, tap the shopping tag to learn more about the featured products.
- Shop on business profiles: Instagram is also testing a redesign of the shop tab on business profiles so you can quickly view all the products featured in their shopping posts, such as the item name, price and post featuring the item.
These features are just the latest effort to capture sales dollars approaching the holiday season. In September, the social channel expanded shopping on Instagram with product stickers. It also announced a shopping channel in Explore, a dedicated space to shop from new and followed brands.
YouTube videos have also become more shoppable, with ShopStyle Collective rolling out new monetization tools.
ShopStyle epitomizes a popular model for influencers and consumers as it owns both the consumer-facing fashion search engine platform and the influencer network.
Its latest updates include YouTube Video Looks, ability to “favorite” items directly on an influencer’s website and influencer-inspired trend pages. The updates allow users to link to products within videos, rather than including a link in the video’s description box, as they’ve typically had to do in the past.
Brent Locks, GM ShopStyle, said the new features offer an easier native shoppable experience than previously available on YouTube. “With this, you can just tap one thing and land at that video shop page on ShopStyle that they fully control and be able to shop all the products there,” he said. “Once we were able to figure out how to build something that works natively in YouTube and offer the influencers this bloglike experience that’s all their own is what really connected it.”
While retail influencers are pushing the bounds of shoppable video, one unexpected bonanza for Instagram is a group of Democratic freshmen, not yet sworn in, using the platform to school colleagues on the use of social media.
The four newly elected women—Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan—are gathering online followings that eclipse most members of Congress.
“It’s smart on their part, and here’s why. All of them ran campaigns that everybody, and women in particular, were so personally invested in,” said political consultant Mary Anne Marsh. “Instagram allows you to share the journey, and you feel like you’re with them every step of the way. You’re pulling back the curtain and allowing people to view it in real time. You’re able to demystify what goes on in Washington.”
Some say shop, others say educate—as Instagram pushes the edges of video for everything from retail to politics, influencers to elected officials.