The new feature takes consumers directly to the product on the business website

The new feature takes consumers directly to the product on the business' website

Social media platform Instagram has taken its next steps towards "seamless" shopping, launching a new feature that will provide UK consumers with an easier way to shop online.

The new 'Shopping in the UK' feature allows users to view and buy products directly through the photo-sharing app, streamlining the online shopping process by removing the need to search a brand's website for the desired product and its price.

It follows a trial with three beta partners – one of which was UK retail group Marks & Spencer – which allowed businesses to tag products in their posts that, when tapped, takes the user to the product directly on the brand's site.

During test phase, each brand experimented with creatingsShopping posts; from flat lays showcasing multiple products, to single-product close ups containing details such as product material and sizing. 

"Instagram Shopping offers us the opportunity to realise the huge potential of our 760,000 followers," explains Erin Roy, head of media and digital marketing at Marks and Spencer. "Instagram has always been a great platform through which to showcase our products and engage with customers. Shoppable posts take this to a whole new level. They are simple to create, easy for our customers to use and enhance the Instagram experience."

Launched seven years ago, Instagram is home to a global community of over 800m, including 25m businesses and 2m advertisers. In the UK, Instagram boast some 23m users.

"People come to Instagram every day to discover and buy products from their favourite businesses. We want that to be a seamless experience," explains Jim Squires, head of business at Instagram. "Whether it's a local artisan, florist or clothing store, shopping directly on Instagram has never been easier."

The platform first detailed its plans to streamline shopping in November of last year.

Instagram takes steps to seamless online shopping