How to Use Instagram as a Genius Shopping Tool

Emma Spedding

Ever since we first signed up to Instagram, it has been making us want to shop, whether we're stumbling upon the page of a new label we haven't heard of or wanting to buy everything our favourite influencers are wearing. Despite the huge number of us shopping on mobiles, Instagram has—until recently—resisted creating a shopping functionality within the platform. But in November 2016, for the first time, users could shop by simply tapping on a picture. (As if we needed any more temptation.)

Instagram has teamed up with 20 brands, including Warby Parker and Kate Spade New York, to debut this new shopping functionality. To shop these Instagram posts, you tap onto the image, and it displays information about the price and name of the product. Clicking on the product then brings you to a product description page (still within Instagram) where you can discover more about the item.

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In one click, the "shop now" button then takes you directly to the retailer's site, where you can buy the product. For now, this is only available in the United States, but Instagram fans will know that you can already shop directly from adverts that appear in your news feed.

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You might not be able to shop directly from Instagram in the UK yet, but keep reading to see a number of tricks that our editors use to shop while scrolling.

Create a private wish list

In December 2016, Instagram launched a bookmark tool—pressing the flag icon in the bottom right-hand side of an image saves it to a private list of saved posts on your account. You can view your saved posts by pressing this flag icon, which sits underneath your bio on your profile page. Our editors use this to create a shopping wish list to easily revisit those amazing brands and products we stumble upon.

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Use it to discover under-the-radar brands

We have lost count of the brands we have discovered using Instagram. Pay close attention to the brands your favourite influencers tag and look through the "posts you might like" section under the search bar. Designers such as Saks Potts, Anissa Kermiche and Reformation became cult brands by gaining a following on Instagram. See our guide to our six favourite brands we discovered on our feeds.

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Follow the right hashtags

Chances are you already follow your favourite labels on Instagram to see the hero products they are promoting on their page, but it also pays to see the pieces other customers are buying and how they are styling them. A number of brands have hashtags for exactly this reason, such as Revolve with #RevolveMe and Mango with #MangoGirls.

Get in touch with designers directly

Often, labels will let you direct-message their accounts so you can enquire about stockists or find out more about specific products. Many independent designers will also take specific commissions via Instagram messages, so don't be afraid to go straight to the source.

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Follow department stores

As well as your favourite designers, make sure you are also following the likes of Net-a-Porter, Matches, Selfridges and other department stores to find out about the latest drops and products available to buy right now. Designers will often use Instagram to post teasers of their next collections instead of current products. And no one likes to wait six months.

For more, see our guide to the six brands we fell in love with on Instagram.

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