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Bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, Instagram has spent the past three years trying to solve this shopping puzzle. Everyone is already on their phone, and the mass migration from brick-and-mortar to online shops such as Amazon.com is taking the next leap, into the palm of one’s hand and social media. Even now, 54 percent of online buyers never make purchases that begin on social media. Yet hype around the dawn of “social commerce” has dissipated of late. Online shoppers have been slow to close their retail apps in favour of social ones. Even now, 54 percent of online buyers never make purchases that begin on social media, according to a 2017 report from visual search company ViSenze. Smaller businesses are the ones that have found creative ways to hawk their wares on social. Young entrepreneurs are starting online stores that use Instagram to funnel shoppers to their websites. Vintage clothing retailers post outfits and reward the first commenter with permission to buy each one-of-a-kind item, creating a mad dash for dresses and pumps. If you’re too slow, it’s gone forever. Instagram doesn’t facilitate these purchases, however.
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