'IG Shopping'? Instagram is building a dedicated shopping app, per reports

There will be a new Instagram app sometime soon that's all about shopping, reports The Verge.

IG Shopping, as it's believed to be called, lets you browse stuff from 'stores' you follow, and buy things from those merchants right inside the app -- per these unofficial reports, anyway.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, won't comment.

It could not be learned when the app might launch. Its development is still ongoing, and it could be canceled before it is released. But sources familiar with its development say Instagram believes it is well positioned to make a major expansion into e-commerce.

More than 25 million businesses already have Instagram accounts, and 2 million of them are advertisers, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said on the company’s most recent earnings call. Four in five Instagram users follow at least one business. Creating a standalone app would allow the company to provide a dedicated home for an increasingly popular activity on Instagram while also expanding opportunities for revenue.

Over time, Facebook could introduce more tools for merchants who are building their businesses on Instagram, directly challenging e-commerce platforms like Shopify, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking. Most online businesses need an Instagram account already, the thinking goes; many of them would surely use paid business tools if they became available.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic