How 5 brands are testing Instagram’s new shopping feature

Mobile commerce is on the rise, and brands and social media platforms are trying to cash in on it.

Instagram is the latest to do so. The photo app announced earlier this month that it was partnering with 20 U.S-based retail brands to test updates that allow users to easily shop products they see in their Instagram feeds. Among the brands are Kate Spade, Levi’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Target and Macy’s.

At various times throughout the day, a little handbag symbol appears on the brands’ photos, along with a “tap to view” tag which users can hit to see the name and price of the products featured. Once a label is clicked, the user is taken to another series of pages within the app which they can flick through to see more details about the items featured in the photo. From there, users can click on a “shop now” link, which will take them to a brand’s website so they can purchase the product.

A push to make social shopping easier makes sense: It’s a booming market that’s continuing to grow. Retail sales on smartphones grew by almost 40 percent in the U.S. in the past year, and m-commerce sales are expected to hit $123 billion in 2016, according to eMarketer.

If you haven’t seen Instagram’s new feature, you’re not alone. In a blog post announcing the feature, the Facebook-owned app explained that it would only be available to a group of people on iOS devices in the U.S.

As it turns out, Glossy is included in this group—and we’ve taken screenshots to get a better sense of just how brands are using the feature.

The 75-year-old handbag brand is looking to appeal to a new type of luxury consumer, and its Instagram definitely reflects that. It’s filled with colorful and edgy images, including those of its bags, keychains and Rexy (the brand’s dinosaur) bag charms set in a number of different locations around the city. In the Instagram photo below, Rexy is shown in a New York City subway, which is in keeping with the brand’s current push to appeal an audience wider than traditional luxury consumers. The ability to test social shopping is no doubt appealing to the brand, which recently told Glossy that one of its issues with Instagram was the fact that it shows shoppers products but not where to get them.

The affordable costume jewelry brand uses Instagram to demonstrate what pieces look like on everyday people, rather than models—often, the “models” are its employees. Social media is a huge part of the direct-to-consumer brand’s strategy, where it aims to make content as relatable as possible: A lot of the photos are shot on benches, and many photos feature flowers, coffee, and food—no jewelry in sight.

“We know that our BaubleBar customer tends to be very active on social media. Based on that and the level of engagement we see on our account, we’re interested in seeing whether the added option to shop directly from Instagram is a feature that she gravitates toward,” said the brand’s director of marketing and social media, Carlie Lawrence.


Abercrombie & Fitch
The retailer, which recently wiped its Instagram clean as part of a brand makeover, features images of models and products on its account. Because of this, most of the products in each photo are tagged and can be shopped when the shopping feature is in action. On the information pages, it offers a brief description of the items and states whether or not it’s imported. It also provides an offer of “25% off entire purchase” as a sweetener for users who get the chance to click in to the site.

The department store’s Instagram feed features a plethora of shoppable items, including shoes, fashion, handbags, and homewares. The shoppable images it is experimenting with include a styled kitchen setting filled with Kate Spade products. Another is a catalogue-style photo featuring a woman’s legs paired with a number of shoes lined up against a wall—an included text bubble reads, “So many styles to choose from” and a caption promoting its upcoming Black Friday sale. Once you click into the items, Macy’s describes the ease of pulling on one of the boots or why a Martha Stewart apple pie dish makes a great dessert “as easy as pie.”

The online retailer is using the Instagram shopping trial to get as many products in front of users as possible—not that it’s out of the ordinary for the retailer to feature multiple products in its Instagram photos. It places its shoppable images in thematic settings that include eyewear, shoes, and an assortment of feminine accessories and clothes.


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