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Instagram is reportedly developing a dedicated shopping app

Businesses and merchants are already on the platform anyway.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
September 5, 2018
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Rob LeFebvre / Engadget

Instagram has been rolling out various shopping-related features over the past few years, making it crystal that it sees a future in e-commerce. Now, it's reportedly going all in -- according to The Verge, the Facebook-owned company is building a standalone shopping application that may be called "IG Shopping." It will apparently give people a way to browse and purchase goods from the businesses they follow from within the app itself. The app has no release date yet, and it's possibly still very early in its development. While that means there's a chance that we won't even see it, the publication's sources said Instagram is "well-positioned to make a major expansion into e-commerce."

It makes sense for the company to launch a dedicated shopping experience that can challenge e-commerce platforms like Shopify, seeing as a lot of businesses (especially those catering to a young audience) already maintain an Instagram account. Earlier this year, the platform rolled out its shopping tools to eight countries, allowing more merchants to display their products' prices on their posts.

A couple of months later, it gave some companies the ability to add electronic payments that would allow their followers to book appointments for restaurants or salons in-app. And this June, it started allowing some brands to sell products in Stories. Instagram is also testing other experimental standalone apps, so it will not come as a surprise if it's truly developing a shopping application.

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