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Instagram Wants to Ease Its Users into Shopping

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For a week in May, some of Instagram’s designers, engineers and product managers met not at the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters but at a rented house, stocked with grocery store snacks. There, away from computers and armed with pencil and paper, they explored a question important for the photo-sharing app’s future: how do we get our users to shop?

In particular, they wanted to figure out how to introduce shopping tools without making them so obvious that they would transform the app into a splashy catalog. Together they came up with 150 ideas. After an extensive process of elimination, the team settled on the design being unveiled this week: letting brands tag products in their photos, the way users tag their friends. Tap on the tagging descriptions to get more information, tap again to buy on the retailer’s site.

It’s the first test from Facebook Inc.’s Instagram to kick off a broader strategy for helping people pick out and buy things, according to James Quarles, Instagram’s vice president of monetization. The team will gather data from users’ behavior to figure out what to do next. Maybe they’ll add a way to comparison shop, a way to search for products elsewhere on the app or even a Pinterest-like feature to save posts that inspire, he said.

“We are so well-positioned in this space,” Quarles said. “Instagram is super visual, we have a well-defined graph of your interests based on what you’re following, and the serendipity of discovery happens every day through the ad products and who you follow.”

People have long been shopping on Instagram without a formal way to buy things. A crop of influencers on the photo app push fashions into popularity. Company researchers have noticed that users take screenshots of products they love, or direct-message them to themselves. But, like the design team’s caution suggests, making shopping an actual app feature is a risky proposition.

The main problem: shopping hasn’t worked well in social media. Facebook’s history is peppered with discontinued e-commerce products, like birthday gifts for friends and “Facebook credits,” which was a virtual currency for social games. The company recently introduced a Marketplace product that allows people to buy and sell to each other, but its launch was quickly marred when users started posting ads for drugs, sex and exotic animals.

Twitter tested a “buy button” for more than a year, but the project faded and the head of e-commerce departed. Pinterest made a bigger investment in shopping, allowing direct buying on its site from thousands of retailers, but it’s still unclear how popular the tool is with consumers.

Quarles said Instagram aims to learn from all these experiences—especially from its parent company, Facebook, which has shared its notes.

Instagram already lets retailers promote products in ads, but the shopping update would apply to regular posts, making it a more natural experience for users. The app’s e-commerce ambitions are large—including international expansion and a video version of the product—but they’re starting small.

It’s testing its new feature with just 20 brands, including Kate Spade and Warby Parker, and not taking any cut of the proceeds.

For J. Crew, which is one of the test brands, Instagram’s product fills a gap in mobile shopping. For one, it’s image-based, which makes it much more amenable to inspiring people to buy products than Facebook, according to Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s president and creative director. It has the opportunity to take a customer from the point they’re interested in a product to actually making a purchase. It’s happening in the real world already, she said.

“It’s been a little frustrating to us in the past to not be able to have people purchase on Instagram,” Lyons said. “Not only has it become a place for people to get influenced by their friends, but they’re walking into our stores with their phones and saying, ‘do you have this?'”

She is hoping the test will show that Instagram’s method is subtle enough to not turn people away, but powerful enough to drive people to J. Crew’s site.

“I really hope it works,” Lyons said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Softcom Announces Day X, The Launch of Intuitive Solutions For Businesses

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SoftCom Day X - Investors King

Softcom has announced the launch of new intuitive solutions and initiatives the company has built to accelerate inclusion and growth for Africans which will be happening on Day X: July 29, 2021.

The company states that it has thoroughly examined the state of society and what sustainable growth looks like for people and businesses and has designed products and platforms focusing on unlocking the inherent potential that exists in every individual.

Day X will expose us to an ecosystem of tools that will empower business owners to sell better, sell more, identify people, control their money and make better decisions. Initiatives and platforms have also been designed with the entrepreneur to enable ambitious and early-stage businesses to position themselves for rapid growth.

Softcom also states that its crucial strategy is to make these human-centered solutions accessible to all entrepreneurs who are dreamers and those who have begun to take action. This ability to deliver value and innovation of active or passive entrepreneurs within any society will ultimately contribute to its people and businesses’ collective growth and advancement.

In his newly released letter to the public, Yomi Adedeji, CEO of Softcom X, wrote; ”Our ultimate goal is to create an open world with equitable access to intuitive solutions that address the most basic human needs and by doing so enable societal development, business growth and human prosperity.”

Day X will provide answers to questions entrepreneurs ask, no matter the size of their ambition and help them commence their journey of leveraging these human-centered tools to drive transformational growth for themselves and society at large.

Day X will take place virtually. To find out more about Softcom and register for Day X, visit here

About Softcom
Softcom is a 14-year-old company with experience in innovation, technology solutions for businesses and enabling access at scale.

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FG To Lift Suspension On Twitter Once It Registers With NBC and CAC

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Twitter Tip Jar- Investorsking

The Nigerian government will lift the suspension of Twitter, the microblogging platform once the digital social media app registers with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

According to an affidavit deposed to by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation in response to a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, the government said Twitter would not have been suspended if it complied with Nigeria’s laws.

The affidavit deposed by Ilop Lawrence on behalf of the Federal Government and the AGF, it was stated that the suspension of Twitter was not an abuse of human rights because Nigerians were still using Twitter despite the suspension.

The government told the court that the Twitter suspension would be lifted once the platform registers with the NBC and the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter barely two days after the social media platform censored a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Subsequently, the AGF, Abubakar Malami threatened to prosecute Nigerians still using the platform while NBC ordered all radio and television stations to stop using Twitter or picking content from the platform.

Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, subsequently sued the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Malami, and the Federal Government for suspending the social media platform.

In the fundamental human rights suit marked FHC/L/CS/542/2021, Effiong is seeking nine reliefs, including an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further suspending, deactivating, or banning the operation and accessibility of Twitter or any other social media service in Nigeria because the act was in violation of his rights.

Effiong asked the court to declare as illegal the threat of criminal prosecution by Malami and Lai Mohammed against Nigerians who ‘violate’ the suspension or ban of Twitter, despite the absence of any written law.

But in its response to the originating motion, the government said Nigerians are still using the microblogging platform despite the suspension placed on the app.

“The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.

“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion.

“The respondents (Federal Government and AGF) have never stopped the applicant (Effiong) and the class of persons he seeks to represent from voicing their opinions to access government information and offer criticism where necessary,” the government said in the affidavit.

The government told the court that Nigerians are still free to use other platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Tiktok and others.

The Federal Government also denied knowledge of Twitter censoring Buhari’s tweet on the Biafra civil which offended many Nigerians.

It said Twitter had made its platform accessible to elements like Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra; and had supported the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 which was later hijacked by hoodlums.

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Startups

Health Tech Startup 54gene Launches Trust to Amplify Africa’s Capacity in Scientific Research

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54gene Lab

54gene, the health technology company centered on advancing the field of African genomics to unlock scientific discoveries as well as improve diagnostic and treatment outcomes within Africa and the global community, is creating a trust which it will use to invest up to 5 percent of future proceeds from the company’s commercial drug discovery program.

The creation of the trust is part of its Commitment to Africa in establishing a more sustainable and thriving cyclical ecosystem across Africa’s scientific development space, as well as ensuring better quality healthcare delivery for the communities in which the company operates.

54gene is focused on creating a pipeline of novel drugs for global populations, based on insights drawn from the healthcare and research ecosystem in Africa and wants to ensure that the 1.5 billion people in Africa benefit from its endeavors.

While ensuring Ethical, Legal, Social Implication (ELSI) guidelines are rigorously followed, 54gene is focused on advancing better health outcomes for global populations through precision medicine and addressing the unmet need for novel therapeutics in healthcare.

The company has created a proprietary platform that powers drug discovery through its substantial bio- and data-repository of deeply phenotyped and diverse datasets. It has the potential to power understanding across multiple disease areas such as cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, sickle cell, autoimmune and rare diseases, and infectious diseases.

The new trust has been designed to enable a consistent provision of better diagnostics and medicines for Africans as well as amplifying capacity building within the scientific research space across Africa.

“The biggest challenge in drug discovery in Africa is adequate infrastructure and the extensive need for capacity building.

“As we work on delivering on our promise of precision medicine for Africans and the global population, we are striving to ensure that our work involves current African scientists and leaders in the field as well as supports the creation of more skilled Africans in science and additional jobs across the continent.

“This initiative is designed to continue fostering partnerships within the African scientific body, to reflect the leadership of Africans in global drug discovery research, and to generate sustainable healthcare delivery systems that will ultimately benefit African communities participating in the scientific work that advances better outcomes for all.

It is the inclusion of African talent that will make our drug discovery work successful in bridging the disparity gap within genomics data. Africa has the ability to contribute far beyond the 1 percent in global drug discovery that is currently taking place within the continent, and we believe 54gene will help accelerate those contributions.“

The 54gene trust will be managed by an advisory committee. As the company’s commercial operations grow, the demonstrated Commitment to Africa and creation of the trust will ensure an African footprint and sustainable growth in global drug discovery across the continent.

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