Facebook-owned Instagram getting into shopping

A woman takes a photograph with a digital slr camera whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing Instagram Inc.s logo in this arranged photograph in London, UK, on Jan 5, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Instagram on Tuesday (Nov 1) said it will start testing features that let smartphone or tablet users easily buy items they find on the popular photo and video sharing service.

The test slated to begin next week in the US will be tailored for Instagram applications on Apple mobile devices, according to a blog post by the Facebook-owned service.

The move will build on a strategy by the world's leading online social network to connect shoppers and shops, earning revenue from purchases.

"Mobile has changed the way people shop," Instagram said in the blog post "We're excited to announce an easier experience to shop the products you love on Instagram."

Instagram cited industry statistics indicating that smartphone purchases are commonly used in the US to browse or research options regarding potential purchases.

Twenty US retailers including Kate Spade and JackThreads will take part in the Instagram e-commerce test, sharing posts that provide more information along with "Shop Now" icons for streamlined purchasing, according to the blog post.

"This test is going to change the scope of what we, as retailers, are capable of offering on mobile," JackThreads chief marketing officer Ryan McIntyre said in the post.

"Our customers will be able to shop seamlessly from their social media feeds - allowing us to reach guys where they're already hunting for what's new."

Rival firm Pinterest last year dove into e-commerce with "pins" that let people buy items they like at the popular online bulletin board.

Pinterest became a hit, particularly among women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they can decorate with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, to fashion or travel.

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