Nation & World

Instagram now to allow purchases through app

Parent company Facebook seeks new income sources

(Dreamstime/TNS)
(Dreamstime/TNS)

After years of ogling beautiful images of food, fashion and design on Instagram, people now will be able to buy things they see and like directly through the app — providing instant gratification for the trend-obsessed and a new source of income for parent Facebook.

The photo-sharing app began testing a shopping feature on Tuesday, called Checkout, with a handful of retailers including Nike and designer fashion platform Revolve.

“Over time, as we are creating value for people, this could be a significant part of our business,” said Vishal Shah, Instagram’s head of product.

On Checkout, people will be able to buy directly within Instagram, rather than being directed to a retailer’s website.

It’s unlikely Instagram will release further details about the financial specifics until next year, although Shah said he sees it as the next big business model opportunity after advertising.

Facebook has tried many times to build e-commerce businesses, with varied success.

On Instagram, the transition is happening more naturally, as people tend to follow brands and influencers for lifestyle inspiration from fashion to design to food and travel.

Some of those who have large followings on Instagram have been able to launch products, from merchandise for famous pets to makeup lines for well-known beauty artists.

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With advertising growth in Facebook’s news feed slowing, the company is seeking new lines of business and will become more dependent on other properties it owns, such as Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

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