Industry News

Industry IQ: Consumers Are Going to Flex Their Credit Card on Instagram

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Instagram Shopping Feature Rolled Out With Limited Access in the US

Last November, Instagram began testing a feature to allow users to shop directly from the photo-sharing platform — now it appears that feature has been officially rolled out, as American businesses using e-commerce platform Bigcommerce have access to shoppable posts.

Instagram’s shopping feature uses tags directly embedded into a posted photo (links continue to not be allowed within post captions), singling out specific items that users can either find more information about or purchase directly. Its initial tests started with 20 brands — including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker — and will eventually allow companies to display shoppable photos as paid advertisements.

While Bigcommerce’s access to this feature is only available to American customers shopping in US Dollars for the time-being, it’s currently unknown how long until Instagram opens up the feature to other companies and other countries.

Quebec Grocery and Pharmacy Giants Join Forces

Business just picked up in Quebec with the announcement of the planned merger between two of its homegrown brands, grocery giant Metro and the province’s second-largest pharmacy network Jean Coutu, worth around $4.5 billion.

The news comes at a particularly interesting time, as traditional supermarket chains and major department stores, some of which have dipped their hands into the grocery cookie jar, appear to be beefing up efforts to compete for market shares.

Metro and Jean Coutu’s merger follows Loblaw’s $12.4-billion takeover of Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix back in 2014, as well as another recent acquisition — that of Amazon purchasing Whole Foods for a cool $13.7 billion back in June — that put players across North America on high alert and signalled a game-changing shift in the way people buy groceries.

According to both sides, there have been “exclusive discussions” of creating a combined grocery-pharmacy group with over 1,300 locations across Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.

Twitter Tests Out Doubling Its Character Limit

Hold onto your hats, tweeps — Twitter might soon be giving you more characters to work with.

Last week, the popular social network upped the character limit for which it’s famously known from 140 to 280 for a group of test users, in order to gather data and feedback that will help determine whether or not the double-wide character count becomes permanent.

Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen notes that the sudden impetus for the increase is to afford speakers of most Germanic and Romantic languages (i.e. English, French, Spanish, etc.) more room to type, relative to speakers whose languages can say more in a single character.

For those who can’t wait and are looking to gatecrash the 280 party right away, several savvy developers have found workarounds allowing anyone to extend their character limit. (If you decide to try it out, let us know if it works!)

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