Ian McFarlan

Instagram as a CMS

04 Sep 2015

I have been working more with the Instagram API lately and had a thought. Could Instagram power a full on e-commerce enabled site.

Individuals could setup stores on a centralized service and administer much of the store’s content through Instagram with some simple tagging.

Quick Thoughts

  • Centralized service; that offers DNS trickery to allow for custom domains
  • Photos or groups of photos can be tagged with product slugs #instashop #product #coffee-mugs
  • A user could connect their Instagram account and import any tagged photos to a product database
  • Stock and pricing options would be defined within the shop’s CMS
  • Posts found with appropriate tags will be setup within the store
  • Takes advantage of larger predefined audiences for some users
  • Helps new or small ventures scale in audience size through good Instagram use
  • Encourages social reviews and public conversation about a companies products

Potential Problems

  • Consistent tagging within Instagram can be tricky due to human error factor on mobile devices. Keeping the tag system very simple should help but could be a tripping point for many users.
  • Notification spam / overkill when products are updated
  • Locked Instagram accounts would wreak havoc upon the user base and their potential to earn
  • At times Instagram security beats most banks. Frequent API activity could go over rate limits if not done well.

Users have a hard time learning a new workflow or UI. This system would require a second browser window to contain Instagram if doing edits or additions to the store. Begs the question if it’s worth it – HA!

Just a thought but could be a fun side project for a quick Meteor build, just for kicks.

My name is Ian McFarlan and I have been a web developer since 2003. I’ve mainly worked in client services and advertising but lately I have been getting my hands dirty with product development.

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