January 31, 2023

Social media/video-sharing platforms have been trying to implement e-commerce elements for some time. Instagram is one of them, as the popular photo-sharing app has a shopping tab at the bottom of the home feed. However, it seems that the company wants to move the feature somewhere else.

The shopping tab sits right next to the profile button on the bottom bar, and it shows you all sorts of items that people are selling. Since this is Instagram, you’ll see a feed of photos and videos of the items.

Tapping on the items brings you to a page showing additional photos/videos of the items, the price, and the “Add to cart” button. It’s a pretty straightforward way of buying items from smaller companies.

The shopping tab seems nice, but Instagram could be moving it

This is one of those features that should be popular, but Instagram is in the midst of changing its e-commerce strategy. The Verge reports that several people (even some of The Verge staff) logged on to their accounts to see the shopping tab gone. Instead of the shopping bag icon, they’ll see their notifications.

Putting the notifications there might be a better idea, as people, ostensibly, check their notifications more than the shopping tab. Also, the notifications used to be on the bottom of the UI a long time ago.

Is this feature going away? Yes and no.

According to Meta spokesperson Anne Yeh, Instagram is testing this move out on a limited selection of people “As part of our continued work to simplify your Instagram experience”. So, the company is moving the shopping tab to another location and replacing it with the notification button.

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Since this is just a test, there’s a chance that you won’t see this change on your account. It depends on how well the test is received.

As for the shopping tab, it could be moved to the settings panel, which is an odd place to put it. As stated before, this is a part of a larger shift in strategy for the company. The Information reported that Instagram is planning on getting rid of the shopping tab altogether next March.

Instead of focusing on selling items, the company could concentrate on boosting ad revenue. Based on an internal memo, the company will test a shopping experience called “Tab Lite” instead of a shopping page. This is still up in the air, as we might not see any user-facing changes until sometime next year.

If you’re a person selling your items on Instagram, you might want to consider migrating to another platform. This phase of Instagram e-commerce seems to be drawing to a close.