Instagram is replacing the Activity tab with a ‘Shop’ tab for select users as part of a global test.
The traditional heart icon in Instagram’s navigation menu will be replaced with a shopping bag icon.
Tapping on the new icon will take users to the Instagram Shop section that was introduced back in May.
Previously only available in the US, Instagram users around the world will now be able to access the Shop section.
Instagram shopping is a place where users can browse and buy products without leaving the app.
Before having a dedicated tab in the navigation menu, Instagram shopping could be accessed via the Explore section. That’s where it will still reside for users who aren’t part of this test.
Updated Version of Instagram Shop
The version of Instagram Shop accessible from the navigation menu differs slightly from the previous version.
In this version, users will only see products from brands they follow. It’s like a personally curated feed of products from brands a users is already interested in.
The other version of Instagram Shop, accessible through the Explore tab, is designed to surface products from a wider selection of retailers.
Products can be filtered by category, such as Beauty, Clothing & Accessories, Home, Jewelry & Watches, and Travel.
Some products can be purchased directly on Instagram, while others will need to be purchased on the retailer’s website.
The purpose of testing two different versions of Instagram Shop is to determine the best way to roll out the feature to everyone in the future.
An Instagram spokesperson tells TechCrunch:
“This is a small global test of the Instagram Shop tab that we announced in May. We’ll use this test to assess how we decide to roll this out further.”
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Those who are part of the test will be able to find their Activity data elsewhere on the Instagram app.
Where’s My Activity Data?
Users who have had their Activity tab replaced with the Shop tab can be assured their Activity section isn’t completely gone.
If you’re part of this test can now find the Activity tab at the top right of the main feed (next to the direct message icon).
Don’t worry, it’s not another repeat of Instagram permanently removing the follower activity section – which is a move many people are still lamenting.
This test is not intended to phase out the activity tab in any way. Rather, Instagram wants to draw more users toward its shopping section.
Businesses of all types can list products in the Instagram shopping section for free, which makes it a great way to get products in front of more people.
For businesses located in one of Instagram’s supported markets, all it takes is a product catalog and an Instagram business page.
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A business’s Instagram account also needs to be connected to their Facebook business page.
Connecting the two together lets the Instagram business page access Facebook’s catalog manager.
From there, products can then be made eligible for display in Instagram shopping.
For more information, see Facebook’s guide to setting up Instagram shopping.