Sep 17, 2018

Instagram readies shopping push with new features

What it would look like to shop on Instagram Explore. Photo: Instagram

It's about to get a lot easier to shop on Instagram, with new features that'll allow you to succumb to your impulses with just a few clicks.

Why it matters: The updates could help Instagram gather insights and data to help launch a standalone shopping app, something it's reportedly working on.

What's new: Instagram will now let users buy things with Instagram "Stories," or vertical strings of video and text that are becoming one of the most successful social media formats.

  • It's also creating a new, personalized channel for users within its discovery section called "Explore" that's specifically for users to follow brands for shopping.
  • Vishal Shah, director of product management at Instagram, said at Recode's Code Commerce Monday that the new offerings will allow users to shop in two different ways on the platform: 1) Serendipitous shopping through stories and feeds and 2) Intentional, window shopping through "Explore."

One player that stands to benefit from Instagram's additions is Shopify, the $16.5 billion e-commerce company that powers brands from Kylie Cosmetics to Allbirds. Many of the brands that advertise and make sales through Instagram ads run their stores through Shopify, and the company is betting that Instagram's new shopping integrations will increase traffic to its merchants.

The big picture: Instagram and other social media apps are becoming disruptive e-commerce players, mainly because they are able to leverage social data to better understand and cater to users' interests, as Axios has previously noted.

  • The Facebook-owned social giant says that more than 90 Instagram million accounts tap to reveal tags in shopping posts on Instagram every month. That's over 10% of its 1 million users.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Instagram's most recent user count of 1 billion.

Go deeper

The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health