In May, when Facebook revealed Facebook Shop — its most direct push into retail yet — it talked about its shopping features in ubiquitous terms as new initiatives coming to both its flagship platform, as well as Instagram.
Now the photo-sharing network is finally launching Instagram Shop in the Explore tab of its U.S. app.
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In a blog post published Thursday, the company describes the new section as a destination for “fresh collections and products from brands and creators, as well as special curation from our social shopping channel, @shop.”
The section acts more like a marketplace than a single store, as consumers can check out a variety of merchants. To give it even more exposure, the company plans to create a dedicated Shop tab in the navigation bar in the future.
As for actual transactions, products available for direct purchase through Instagram will be visually marked with double checkout arrows, so shoppers can keep the whole experience within the app.
Instagram Shop debuts in the U.S. immediately, with a global rollout to follow.
Facebook Pay is also on the way, but won’t be available at launch. But U.S. Instagram Shop customers interested in using the option to make purchases or charitable donations across Facebook’s family of apps can look for it in the coming weeks.
Given that parent company Facebook takes a lot of heat over user privacy, Facebook Pay’s emphasis on its “extra layer of security” should be no surprise. Mobile shopping apps often let people set a PIN code or biometric tech, such as Touch or Face ID, to authenticate transactions, and they’ll be able to do that here as well.
The feature also touts fraud monitoring, and “we also provide Purchase Protection on eligible products that you buy using Instagram checkout,” the company added.
Instagram didn’t reveal any new launch partners at press time, but the company and its parent have been steadily working on the shopping features in advance of this retail introduction, so there could be quite a selection to choose from.
In May, Facebook explained that existing stores in Instagram business profiles automatically convert to Instagram Shops. And for those who don’t, brands and sellers can use the Commerce Manager dashboard to open their stores, select products — from six to 30 — and push the storefront to either Facebook or Instagram.
Instagram also loosened its Commerce Eligibility Guidelines in June, allowing more creators and indie sellers to tag products and offer them through the app, expanding the selection for what it surely hopes will be a large audience of shoppers.