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A new Instagram test removes shopping tab from the home screen

Meta is making it harder to find the Shop tab on Instagram with its latest test. In the new test, the Shop tab has been removed from the app's Home Screen and is instead hidden underneath Settings. The Shop tab used to be on the bottom navigation bar.

Some users first reported the change on Twitter, noting that the Notifications tab replaced the Shop tab. However, TechCrunch found that the Messages tab had taken its place instead, indicating there may be multiple tests underway.

A Meta spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is testing different versions.

“As part of our continued work to simplify your Instagram experience, we are testing a few changes to the main navigation bar at the bottom of the app with a small number of people,” they told us.

TechCrunch screengrab

Social media has become a valuable revenue stream for online sellers. Instagram launched Shops in 2020, giving users more ways to buy products within the app. The Shop tab was then moved to the Home Screen later that year, helping creators and small businesses promote their merchandise easier. In 2021, Instagram introduced ads on the Shop tab.

Taking away the Shop tab from the main navigation bar could hurt some online stores that use Instagram Shops as a source of income. While it’s not removed from the app completely, it’s a lot harder to find. Instagram has other ways to shop throughout the app, however, whether that be in the feed, stories or reels.

It appears that Instagram is becoming less aggressive with its e-commerce feature. Instagram notified staff in an internal memo earlier this month that the company would be testing a simpler version of the feature, The Information reported. The reason for this was due to a shift in “company priorities,” the memo said.

It’s possible that the Shop tab wasn’t as successful as Instagram hoped. Some users who noticed the test were happy to see the shopping feature be removed from their Home Screens, we noticed.

Meta tested other features this month, including a new monetization feature for creators, a nudity filter and a repost feature.