Social media has transformed the way people and businesses communicate. Since retail’s nature is a social one, the impact on the industry has been especially revolutionary.

Just last week, Instagram rolled out a service to allow users to shop from inside the mobile app, extending interactions with its shoppable posts. These posts are not necessarily new. They were strategically released a year ago and offered retail browsing from its main feed for brands people follow.

The New Shopping Frontier

According to Instagram, more than 130 million people tap on these shoppable tags each month, which is great for brands. However, making the purchase can be a bit of a hassle in the modern instant-gratification-accustomed culture.

Finalizing purchases under the former method required a multi-step process that meant engagement with several layers of platforms, and the experience was not as smooth as it could be.

According to Ashley Yuki, Instagram’s product management lead on the project, the wildly popular social media platform has solved these issues.

“Instead of having to go through this clunky mobile web flow and checking out, you can now check out directly on Instagram,” she told Wired.com

Impact Beyond Your Phone

What does this mean for brick-and-mortar stores? There is no way to know for sure, and the retail landscape has been full of surprising reactions to e-commerce. Brick-and-mortar has learned to recreate itself time and again, to say the least.

While the physical world and the web were divergent entities not so long ago, that is no longer the case. The meteoric rise of online shopping would seem likely to result in a distillation of the in-store shopping experience. However, plenty of tech-savvy retailers have made sure the opposite is true.

Many have attempted to pattern their customers’ in-store experiences after their successful online experiences. Interestingly, today’s most successful malls offer “a much stronger and more varied collection of tenants than ever before, and shoppers have the internet and e-commerce to thank for this more tailored collection,” Wired.com reports.

With predictive shopping experiences online, retailers can also learn the preferences of those who love their brands. This knowledge can inform availability of in-store products as well.

Social media platforms allow customers to discover what they love online before they go to the store, and this is a common phenomenon in the convergence of physical and online purchasing.

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