Wait! What? Instagram stops online shopping

Consumers today want seamless experiences, that are easy and quick, allowing people to carry out the entire shopping journey without ever having to leave the app. That’s what makes channels like Instagram ideal for online shopping.

However, Meta announced earlier this month that the livestream shopping on Instagram will end as of March 16, 2023. Instagram users will no longer be able to tag products while livestreaming — an option that has been broadly available to businesses and creators across the globe since 2020. Facebook also shut down its live shopping feature in October last year to shift its focus to Reels.

Livestream shopping has proven to be successful and profitable since its popularity increased tremendously during the pandemic when many businesses looked to adopt live shopping to help boost their own online retail revenues. As consumers stayed home, online retail boomed, and e-commerce sales went through the roof. When things started to return to normal, analysts found that U.S. consumers had not actually embraced live shopping. One report showed that social commerce as a whole, which includes livestream shopping, only made up around 5% of total e-commerce sales in the U.S. last year.

Meta explains that even though it’s putting an end to live shopping, it’s still invested in shopping, as 90% of users follow at least one business on the site. But instead of pushing live commerce, the aim is to focus now on advertising as one of the main ways people discover businesses and shop on Instagram. This includes the use of its automated tools like Shop ads and Advantage+ shopping campaigns that were introduced to help improving ad performance. The company will also continue to invest in checkout, where people can buy a product in just a few taps from Instagram and Facebook Stories, Feed or Reels.

It looks like Instagram is really trying to deprioritise shopping as last month, the app made a significant change to its navigation by removing the Shop tab entirely and relocating Reels off to the side. The changes were an effort to address growing user criticism over the aggressive Reels push that arose from Instagram’s competition with TikTok.

Instagram creators will still be able to go live on Instagram and will be able to invite guests and host Q&As. Businesses will also still set up and run a shop on Instagram after live shopping’s shutdown.

Taking your business online has a lot of advantages for customers. They can learn about your business at any time. If you have e-commerce functionality, they can place orders whenever it’s convenient for them, and troubleshoot problems faster, either by reading content about potential problems, or by being able to send an email to your business quickly.

Should your brand enable online shopping? Don’t sweat it out – we can help you find out! Feel free to reach out and contact us for a quick chat to learn more.

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