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Instagram developing ecommerce app

If you've ever felt that there simply aren't enough ways to spend your money on the internet, we have some great news for you: Instagram is reported to be developing its own shopping app.

According to The Verge (opens in new tab), this new app, possibly called IG Shopping, will enable you to check out collections of goods from merchants you follow on Instagram and then buy them within the app.

Instagram has been flirting with ecommerce for a while now; it started trialling shopping services in 2016 and rolled them out more widely in 2017; companies can tag up to five products per image and add product details and pricing, so that customers can get information and then make a purchase through the companies' own mobile sites. 

And then this year Instagram announced that it was testing shopping within Instagram Stories, using product stickers enabling people to quickly get information about featured products and then go on to buy them.

Instagram shopping

Instagram has been rolling out ecommerce functionality for the last couple of years

It's far from certain that IG Shopping will even come to fruition; according to The Verge, Instagram has refused to comment. However it makes perfect sense for Instagram to come up with an ecommerce solution that keeps everything and everyone within its own app, rather than sending users off to various ecommerce websites (opens in new tab), and this could be great news for creatives who want to sell their wares through the platform.

Of course, this thinking might not carry through to the users themselves; expecting them to install a whole new app specifically for shopping might be a bit of an ask; we'll have to see what sort of incentives Instagram can dangle in front of users – and also merchants – to encourage them to buy into IG Shopping.

Instagram is certainly in a good position to move further into the ecommerce business; we'll be keeping an eye on this story to see how it develops. Watch this space.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.