Instagram is adding new shopping tools, like letting people search for products using an image, as it expands e-commerce offerings across its family of apps.
“A lot of shopping discovery begins with visual discovery, right, so you see something that you think is awesome,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg explained at a live event. “Maybe you want to see other products that are like that, or you want to figure out how to get that product. And this is the type of problem that AI can really help out with.”
Instagram will also make it easier for some companies to offer augmented reality-powered try-on, so people can see how products such as makeup and shoes look on their actual bodies and faces – a behavior that competitor Snapchat brought more mainstream during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The option will be open to companies that already use ModiFace or PerfectCorp technology to offer such experiences elsewhere on the internet. Facebook said it’s testing the capability in Instagram Shops and in Facebook ads with a handful of brands and plans to expand access later this summer.
Facebook has prioritized making e-commerce tools to ensure that the small businesses that had to shut down their brick-and-mortar shops during the pandemic build a habit of selling their goods online, especially on Facebook properties. The company also announced it was adding virtual shops to WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace.