Instagram Removes Shop Tab from Its Homepage
February 23, 2023
What will the impact be?
Instagram will remove the Shop tab from the navigation bar on its home page in February, as part of a broader one that will see the social media platform refocus on generating advertising revenue. Parent company Meta announced the change more this week, notifying users that the Reels tab will be replaced while the content creation button will return to the center of the navbar.
In September 2022, the Information reported that Meta employees had been informed via an internal memo that Instagram’s Shopping page would eventually go down, following a trial of a stripped down, less personalized version.
Indeed, Instagram’s removal of the Shop tab aligns with this new goal, indicating that Shop hasn’t been as profitable as hoped.
The switch up could improve CX
Instagram’s Shop tab replaced originally the popular Activity in 2020, which caused consternation at the time. Tamara Littleton, CEO of The Social Element, told Econsultancy that the removal of Shop might therefore be welcomed by users. With control of data remaining an issue for brands, Littleton also thinks they might not be through the change.
What they said:
- “This play doesn’t necessarily negate the importance of commerce to Instagram’s overall strategy, but it could indicate that placement and this focus didn’t drive the results by the tech giant “, she said.
- “Ultimately, most big brands keep control at the times of the shopping experience from the data they provide them about the customers, this makes the Shop less critical for those with bigger budgets.”
- “Changing things to ensure store features serve first and foremost advertisers is from a revenue perspective.
This may also work better for users, who ultimately Instagram for sharing and discovering – Instagram will seek to help the platform become more organic.
As the Shop tab was widely contested by customers this could arguably improve their shopping experience by instead the improved tagging capabilities.
Small brands and individual sellers will be hit
Sue Azari, Head of Ecommerce Industry, EMEA LATAM at AppsFlyer, suggests Instagram’s decision is about the Shop tab getting less engagement than other features of the product.
- “Social platforms are still experimenting with social commerce, so it’s possible that Instagram will develop stronger shopping features for a different experience in the future.”
- “Instagram’s decision will likely hit small businesses and individual sellers the hardest.”
The majority of major retail brands are focused on delivering their social networks to their respective web and app channels, where they capture more granular data on user behaviors.
A bigger push towards user-created content
Founder and CEO of Wilderness Agency, Tom Jarvis, told Econsultancy that Meta’s decision is less of a reflection of the value of social commerce itself, and of a decision focused on the UX, designed to push them to another type of content – specifically that the create button is highlighted again.
What they said:
- “Some have argued that it was a loss for trading on the platform and a broader m-commerce challenge, but I actually think it doubled down on Instagram by trying to get users to and create Reels content.”
- “The shop feature is still available in stories, in reels, and in but Instagram is putting its “create” button in the foreground, which users are welcome to not only watch, to create original content for the platform.”
- “Instagram needs to find ways to encourage users to create original content for the platform, so simplifying it to make it a more transparent process is an obvious step. I still expect them to develop new ones allowing users to buy products from which they consider a primary goal; it just has to not live on the but across the platform and content it.”
But is it a short-sighted decision?
- “Meta has, in a general way, paid off the end of the business on social media, as they have focused and grown their business model around ads. From the launch of Instagram Checkout to other business features in their portfolio, it’s usually happened that they leave brands to fend for themselves – which is a far cry from the initial successes of some like TikTok Shop, where has devoted vast resources to integration and strategies with brands on how to most effectively their products in their market.”
- “I don’t think Meta’s decision to use other social platforms like Pinterest, YouTube and even Twitter deviate too much from the model of commerce defined by TikTok.”
In the short and medium term, social media is where the next generation of consumers want to shop, having grown up with them as a place to discover new products and brands.
They are not in the metaverse but consumers are looking to shop via social media, which makes the decision of the ads seem shortsighted, despite their long-term metaverse.