We’ve been hearing for month’s about Facebook’s in-app shopping and purchasing functionality, a product that’s been in Beta testing for a while now.  It seems however that, with the help of development company Curalate, Instagram may beat them to the punch.

Curalate created an app called Like2Buy which integrates with the Instagram app on your phone and allows you to click on products you see in the feed and be taken directly to the product purchase page on the brand’s website.  This allows Instagram users to act on a product they like instantly and gives brands the opportunity to make Instagram a more profitable and beneficial platform on which to maintain a corporate presence.

There is some concern as to the effect apps like this may have on the Instagram experience. No one wants the inspirational social photo platform to turn into a clearing house for product sales.  This really depends on the relationship between brands and users, however.  If you don’t like what a brand is posting all the time, you can unfollow.  (And people will unfollow if they don’t like your content, that’s for sure!).

With third party apps like Like2Buy and SnapChat partnering with Square to offer financial transaction options amongst peers, the door is opening for further discussion on social commerce solutions.  We’re likely to see a whole lot more of this across Twitter, Pinterest, and other networks as people begin to see the value in buying right from inside the network where they get all of their word of mouth and social proof.

We anxiously await the Facebook model, which will provide users their own “wallet” account that can keep money in it for impulse buys, much the way Amazon uses the one-click option to foster quick and easy purchases.  What this will do for ecommerce in general is yet to be seen.   However, the more ways money can flow freely through the internet, the more we’ll see investment dollars pour into the infrastructure.

And more development in apps and resources is always better for the user.

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