What Brands Need to Know about Instagram’s “Shop Now” Feature

It was only a matter of time until Instagram caught on with the likes of Nordstrom’s “Like2b.uy,” “Like2KnowIt,” and “Dash Hudson,” making the customer path-to-purchase for consumer brands much easier. Now, with a few short taps on a mobile device, Instagram has the potential to bring brands directly into the hands of potential purchasers without having to leave the app, allowing for more structured product information, effective target ads, and higher mobile sales.

Starting next week, Instagram will launch a test with certain retail partners – like J.Crew, Kate Spade, BaubleBar and Warby Parker – in certain markets to tag products in photos for consumers to click and purchase. Later, it plans to roll out more features like product recommendations and save-for-later before fully rolling out the program to the rest of the U.S. Now this is by no means unique Facebook and Twitter have both tested similar buttons in the past with little success.

So what does this mean for brands?

Once fully rolled out,  Instagram’s offering of a “Shop Now” link will allow brands and retailers to reach consumers where they’re already looking for what’s new without having to promote products using the current ad format. So get ready to pair engaging and inspirational content with the new ease of purchase,, especially during holiday seasons.

Now pictures can be underlined with an action. Instagram users can now bridge the divide between observation and engagement – through clear wallet choice.

However, it will be important for Instagram to not fall by the wayside like others before it as well. And it will be incumbent on them to soon expand this offering to influencers such as bloggers and reviewers and finally expire the cheesy “check out the link in my bio” lines currently in use.

Most importantly, we will witness an experiment in real time – one that will allow us deep lessons in engagement and consumer appetite – in whether Instagram can convert interest and window shopping to purchase intent.