Is Instagram The New Amazon?

Instagram launched a new Shopping feature for business accounts to eight new countries: Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Australia. The photo sharing app first began testing shoppable photo tags in November 2016 before making Shopping on Instagram  available to businesses in the United States last year.

Since Instagram doesn’t allow links in captions, Shopping on Instagram is intended to make it easier for brands to drive followers to their e-commerce stores, while ensuring that those users continue spending time in the app before clicking away. Before Instagram launched the feature, several third-party services were created to make posts shoppable, including Like2Buy and LikeToKnowIt, which remain popular.

When a post using Shopping for Instagram is tapped, it displays popups with prices and a link to a new page within the app that has more information and a “Shop Now” button directing users to the product page on the brand’s own online store. Instagram has said it plans to monetize the feature by allowing business users to display shoppable photos to people who don’t already follow them.

This sounds a lot like Amazon. In 1994 Amazon started out as an online bookstore and later diversified to sell video downloads, MP3s, software and electronics. Now they sell everything from apparel and jewelry to furniture and toys. It is a bonafide giant in the retail space with a presence in nearly every consumer-oriented market.

Instagram says about half of its daily active users, 300 million people (about the same as Amazon), currently follow an “active shopping business,” and today’s geographic expansion of Shopping for Instagram now covers its second-largest market (after the U.S.), Brazil.

In a press statement, Instagram head of business Jim Squires said “People come to Instagram every day to discover and buy products from their favorite businesses. We want to be that seamless experience. Whether it’s a local artisan, florist or clothing store, shopping directly on Instagram has never been easier.”

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