Instagram's redesigned shopping hub goes live in the US

It'll be available globally "in the coming weeks."


You might have noticed that Instagram has an area called ‘Shop.’ It’s accessible from a tiny button in the Explore tab and is little more than a grid packed with posts that contain buyable goods. Functional, yes, but hardly imaginative. Thankfully, Facebook is rolling out a major revamp called Instagram Shop that looks, well, exactly how a modern e-commerce platform should in 2020. It was announced back in May but is rolling out today in the US, followed by the rest of the world “in the coming weeks,” the company said in a blog post.

The Shop will have special collections, a carousel of relevant brands, posts that have been “Suggested for You,” and curated selections from Instagram’s own @Shop account. Each section is a different size, and the collections have slightly larger imagery that breaks up the usual grid monotony. You’ll also a double arrow symbol peppered around the Shop, which indicates that you can buy something without leaving the app.

Facebook is serious about the new spruced up section. So serious, in fact, that it’s promised to add a shortcut to the navigation bar later this year. “So you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap,” the company explained. So long, Activity tab shortcut.

It’s all part of a renewed push by Facebook into e-commerce. The company announced Shops back in May which, not to be confused with Instagram Shop, allows any business to set up a free storefront on their Facebook page and Instagram profile. If users discover one of their products — through Stories, an advert, or a conventional post in their feed — they can save it for later or place an order immediately. As The Verge reports, Facebook has teamed up with reputable third-party services such as Shopify, BigCommerce and Woo, to make this all happen behind the scenes.

Instagram posts with Checkout — Facebook’s term for products that can be bought without leaving the app — will soon support Facebook Pay, too. If you haven’t been keeping track, this is the payments system that Facebook announced last November. It works across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and was initially meant for fundraisers, in-game purchases, person-to-person payments and select purchases from Facebook Marketplace. It supports PayPal and most debit and credit cards, theoretically making it easier and safer to shuffle money around the internet.

For now, it has no relation to Facebook’s Calibra wallet and Libra digital currency, though.

Facebook Pay is worth your time on Instagram, the company has argued, because it provides “an extra layer of security with the ability to add a unique PIN or device biometrics, such as Touch or Face ID,” as well as purchase protection on select products. We’ll let you be the judge.