Instagram to phase out shopping section: Report

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Instagram is readying a shift in its ecommerce strategy, according to an internal memo obtained by The Information.

The image-sharing app, which is owned by Facebook parent Meta, will start testing a “lite” ecommerce tab starting Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, with the goal of ultimately removing the shopping section altogether by the spring of 2023, according to Information sources.

The move is in line with a broader shift in ecommerce strategy across Meta’s platforms, including the removal of key Facebook live shopping features in video streams announced earlier in 2022.

It also represents a broader change in big tech shying away from certain direct ecommerce integration and features, with TikTok previously announcing it would not move forward with expanding its TikTok Shop feature to U.S. and European markets.

The feature already exists in Asian markets, where it performs particularly well, but early signs indicate other parts of the world may not be as responsive to shopping directly within TikTok, hence the pullback. TikTok, like Meta, appears to be shifting more toward selling ads for ecommerce sites and other brands within its platform rather than developing features where users worldwide can buy directly from merchants without leaving the app, for example.

There are no immediate plans to change Instagram or Facebook’s partnership with ecommerce giant Shopify.

Instagram told The Information that it plans to continue shopping initiatives such as “creator commerce,” a friends and family shopping offering, community-driven shopping projects and ecommerce within its visual search. The spokesperson also mentioned that live shopping will continue to be part of its offerings, which is notable given Facebook’s change in direction — though to two platforms are widely thought of as having markedly different formats and user bases.