SAN FRANCISCO: Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video sharing service, is about to pilot a new shopping feature that will enable brands to showcase more product information and make it easier for users to buy.

Starting next week, 20 US-based retail brands – including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker – will take part in the test by sharing posts that provide more product depth without Instagram users having to leave the app.

Participating brands will be able to showcase up to five products and their prices once users have activated a "tap to view" icon that appears at the bottom left of a photo.

"This functionality will bring important product information to the consumer earlier in the journey, all without having to leave the Instagram app to search," Instagram said in a blog post.

"Then, if the consumer taps the 'Shop Now' link from the product details view, they'll go directly to that product on the business' website, making it easier for them to buy the product they want," the statement continued.

Instagram cited internal research which found that just 21% of mobile purchases are made within a day and it is hoped the new feature, currently available only in the US, will make the process simpler and more convenient.

JackThreads, the men's fashion brand, is one of the companies taking part in the test and its CMO, Ryan McIntyre, expressed optimism about what it may deliver.

"This test is going to change the scope of what we, as retailers, are capable of offering on mobile," he said. "Instead of having to transition over to the JackThreads app, our customers will be able to shop seamlessly from their social media feeds – allowing us to reach guys where they're already hunting for what"s new."

Data sourced from Instagram; additional content by Warc staff