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#Shoptalk17: Instagram Rolls Out Shopping Feature

#Shoptalk17: Instagram Rolls Out Shopping Feature

Instagram made a big splash at Shoptalk 2017, unveiling that it is expanding its Instagram Shopping feature to all fashion, apparel, jewelry and skincare brands using the commerce platforms BigCommerce and Shopify. The functionality is expected to roll out in Q2 2017.

“People are in this discovery mind-set [on Instagram] and they want to go further,” said Jim Squires, Director of Product Marketing at Instagram during a session at Shoptalk. “So what we’ve done is remove that friction and just allow you to, when you’re interested, quickly go and explore further. We decided to start with apparel, jewelry and beauty because from a consumer perspective there’s a lot of interest in those categories.”

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In November 2016, Instagram first began testing the Shopping feature on its app with 20 brands including Macy’s, Warby Parker, J.Crew and Kate Spade. The feature allows businesses to mark products within an image as available for purchase. Once clicked, the shopping tag redirects to a product page for more item details as well as links to the actual store website where it can be purchased.

Instagram reported that 19% of the users who tapped on a tagged product to learn more about it ended up clicking “shop now.”

While Instagram currently has more than 600 million active users on the site and roughly five million active business profiles, Instagram's commerce push is still in early development. But its influence and customer reach can perhaps finally help visual commerce smash the glass ceiling that has kept it from growing substantially in the U.S.

Retailers and solution providers have collaborated in attempts to deploy buy buttons or shoppable images within social networks, but none have really caught on enough to make social commerce a substantial revenue driver.

Walmart Flexes Innovation Muscle With Tech Incubator Launch

Recent e-Commerce successes and acquisitions have shown that Walmart is serious about adapting to evolving consumer needs and competing with Amazon, but the retail giant is now taking on another role: startup incubator.

Marc Lore, the CEO of Walmart’s e-Commerce business and Jet.com, announced that Walmart created an incubator to internally nurture its startup businesses called Store No. 8.

Store No. 8 will operate in Silicon Valley, and will house startups wholly owned by Walmart but run independently. With the new location, Walmart can incubate, invest in and work with other startups, venture capitalists and academics to develop its own proprietary robotics, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence technology.

Seth Beal, Senior VP for Global Marketplace and Digital Store Operations at Walmart, and Katie Finnegan, Head of Strategy at Jet.com, will co-lead the Store No. 8 initiative.

More News From Shoptalk 2017

Fashion brand GUESS and action sports specialty retailer Zumiez have both implemented solutions from retail technology solutions provider Radius8. GUESS is expanding its contextual merchandising beyond its stores across the rest of its e-Commerce website and mobile application, and will leverage the Radius8 platform to power a local shop-the-store experience within its Facebook page. Zumiez launched with the Radius8 cloud platform to power a contextualized experience in its 650 brick-and-mortar stores. At the conference, Radius8 revealed a new feature that allows multi-store retailers to provide online product information that is specific to local stores, such as availability of inventory in each store.

Online home décor retailer Dormify is partnering with American Eagle Outfitters, supplying the apparel retailer with an exclusive line of bedding, pillows and throws for the 2017 back to school season. The partnership expands on Dormify’s product launch within AE’s subsidiary, lingerie retailer Aerie.

Flower delivery service The Bouqs Company raised $24 million in Series C Funding. This investment brings the total raised by the company to over $43 million since 2013. With an average annual growth rate of 200%, the funding comes on the heels of a successful 2016 for the company, reporting multiple days with $1M in sales and a cash flow positive Q4.

Pitney Bowes has launched Complete Marketplace, a platform designed to help retailers find cost efficiencies with little upfront investment and ease to achieve a multi-regional approach.  As a retailer’s business grows on a marketplace, it can support growing volumes while minimizing costs. Retailers can then extend their reach to additional marketplaces around the world at a pace that meets their needs.

Retail performance management platform Boomerang Commerce has launched its Lifecycle Performance Management application (LPM), which is designed to blend customer performance data and external market data to predict future challenges and forecast demand and performance. Utilizing AI, LPM recommends actions to mitigate performance risks and shows merchants and planners the predicted outcome of their actions.

Point Inside, a provider of in-store product location solutions for retailers, unveiled its new Deals Personalization tool. The solution is an extension of Point Inside’s StoreMode platform and allows retailers to leverage historical shopping information in combination with a shopper’s in-store physical location to serve highly relevant, personalized deal recommendations through a retailer’s branded mobile app. 

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