Is Instagram The Answer To The Future Of Retail?

These days Instagram is everything: from providing our mid-morning coffee entertainment, fulfilling our design inspirations, discovering new interests, finding new recipes, and of course, shopping. This week,?Niamh O'Donoghue explores new-wave e-commerce in the age of social media, and the possibility of Instagram becoming our new favourite shopping destination. Thanks, hun, Instagram.

In case you've been living under a fashion-proof rock, you'll know that coveted global brand C?line finally (FINALLY!) created an Instagram account, giving us a hint that an e-commerce site might be on the way too to cater for our late-night shopping expeditions. Their move feels like a final frontier for traditional fashion labels,?after being one of the last remaining brands holding out on online shopping.

Mobile technology has drastically altered the way we shop. We can sit down to dinner while browsing through our favourite high-street shops and luxury boutique stores, satisfy our late-night shopping cravings from the comfort of our beds, and even virtually stand in a queue while waiting for the next 'it' thing to drop. As a retailer, Instagram goes one step further by giving us infinite outfit combinations from the smallest street-corner indie shops to global fashion conglomerates; creating dedicated online communities of fashion followers looking to recreate those perfect Insta-worthy, white-washed, plush photos for their own feeds. Here, nothing is off limits which is one of the reasons why Instagram has the potential to outrun popular sites like Asos, PrettyLittleThing, Boohoo, There's no right or wrong style, trend or colour combination, and a bountiful supply of inspiration that is inevitable to make you want to step outside of your comfort zone.


Insta-shopping is a relatively new feature to social media, having only rolled out a few months ago. So far, only select brands have the option to be fully integrated as an "Insta shop" where the user can buy directly through the app instead of being redirected to a website to complete the order. In the initial stages of testing only select US brands like?Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker will have an Insta-shop feature complete with price-tag?and a 'tap-to-view' more information feature.

So what's enticing Instagram to make the switch from photo-sharing app to E-commerce? Dollah bills of course. There was speculation on whether or not Instagram will take a cut from the purchase - which they won't FYI - but instead, the platform plans to "monetize the product by later allowing brands to pay to show their shoppable photos to people who don't follow them" says its VP of monetization James Quarles. There's also the politics of the influencer market and what Instagram's move could mean for them (more money, inevitably).

It's not yet known when Insta-shopping will be readily available to all brands, but right now there are already thousands of online shops and boutiques who have fully embraced Instagram as their primary source of E-commerce. With that in mind, here are five of my go-to Insta shops when I need to quench my'shopping and fashion soul-searching thirst. Thanks hun, Instagram..

The Frankie Shop


Nine Crows



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Threads & Tantrums


More Is Love

Softness is your strength!

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