Facebook’s Instagram is bringing shopping to its stand-alone longform video app IGTV and short video feature Reels in a move that takes it a step closer to embracing China’s popular social commerce model.
Shopping on IGTV is rolling out globally and Instagram said it will test shopping on Reels later this year. On IGTV, users can now watch and buy an item with a few taps right from the video, completing the purchase on the seller’s website.
“By bringing shopping to IGTV and Reels, we’re making it easy to shop directly from videos. And in turn, helping sellers share their story, reach customers, and make a living,” Instagram chief operating officer Justin Osofsky said in a statement on Monday.
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Earlier this year, Instagram introduced Instagram Shop, where users can visit a shopping page within a business Instagram profile, or by going through Instagram Feed, Explore and Stories.
The social commerce business model, which includes shopping from short video apps and live-streaming, is widely used in China. During the first half of this year, there were more than 10 million e-commerce related live streaming sessions in China, attracting more than 50 billion views, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Suning.com, which has seen its online sales boom during Covid-19, has partnered with ByteDance’s popular short video platform Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. Consumers can purchase Suning.com products directly from Douyin’s e-commerce live-streaming platform without being re-redirected, and Suning.com provides delivery and after-sales service.
Li Jiaqi, one of China’s top live-streamers who goes by the nickname “lipstick king”, generated more than US$145 million in sales during the Singles’ Day shopping festival last November.
In the US, combining e-commerce and social media has long been something social networking companies have grappled with. In 2015 Facebook allowed certain brands to open a “shop” on their Facebook pages, displaying products that customers could buy without leaving the site. However, user reception was lukewarm and the shops closed within a year.
Western tech companies including Google, Facebook and its affiliate Instagram, have continued trying to expand shopping within their services. Last year, Instagram introduced a function called Checkout, which allows users to transact without leaving the app.
In a move that could pave the way for more social commerce in the US, Walmart said last month it “tentatively agreed to purchase 7.5 per cent of TikTok Global” as well as enter into commercial agreements to provide e-commerce services to TikTok Global. The deal is still pending approval from both the US and Chinese governments.
More from South China Morning Post:
- 10 years of Instagram: from holiday selfies to Kylie Jenner wannabes to business platform, the social network’s evolution
- Alibaba pushes China’s social commerce model to the world, with influencer campaign on cross-border platform AliExpress
This article Instagram expands shopping to IGTV and Reels in move that mimics China’s popular social commerce model first appeared on South China Morning Post