Have you noticed that your buttons within the app on Instagram are moving a little late? Suddenly your ‘Direct’ icon has gone to the bottom function bar instead of up, or your activity tab (the heart icon) has disappeared, then comes back days later?
Those changes are tied in with Instagram’s work to find the right place for its new ‘Stores’ tab, which was first viewed in May as part of the announcement for Facebook and Instagram Stories, which are in the process of being implemented.
As reported by TechCrunch, Instagram is now testing the new Stores tab globally, with a small group of users. Currently, tapping the Stores tab will take you to the existing in-app shopping experience, with a list of posts that have purchase tags added through approved merchants. But soon, the tab will highlight even more call options, as parent company Facebook expands its new call options on the platform to more companies.
The new Stores icon in the bottom bar will replace the current ‘Activity’ tab for those in the test, with users still able to access their activity feed through an additional icon in the upper right (next to the map of ‘Direct’ paper) or from your profile.
The tab, as noted, is the next step in making e-commerce more app-centric, and with e-commerce sales increasing amid COVID-19 locks, and boutique sellers losing Opportunities to generate income from your work – through markets, retail shows, pop-ups in the mall, etc., now is the best time for Facebook to do more.
In fact, according to recent Adobe Analytics research, online sales in the US increased by 25% per day in March 2020, while more data from Emarsys found that, as of March 30.
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A significant proportion of that activity, of course, comes from selling groceries. Because consumers are unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19 blockades, more people have ordered their essential products online, which is a large part of what led to the increase in online shopping activity. But the general consensus among analysts is that such trends will continue beyond the pandemic. Once again, consumers try these online shopping options and realize the convenience of buying from home, which will exacerbate the e-commerce change that is already on the rise.
As such, Facebook’s push into e-commerce is perfectly timed. Instagram had been moving in this direction for some time as Facebook sought to maximize the app’s earning potential. And now, it looks like it will become a major e-commerce powerhouse, with all SMEs eventually able to open their own stores on the platform and sell their products directly to their Instagram audiences.
The next expansion for this will be the eventual development of Facebook Pay, which will make it easier for users to make purchases with one click in the application. Facebook is still working through the regulatory details of their in-stream payments, but eventually, it will be very easy for Instagram users to simply tap on a product they like, based on an Instagram post or story, and make a purchase.
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