London - Social media platform Instagram has launched its updated shopping-function in the UK, which allows retailers the opportunity to sell their products directly to consumers through posts.

The new function, named Instagram Shopping, lets retailers tag products in organic posts which line through to product pages on their own website. The update is free of charge and is now available to all UK businesses. In order to use the shopping update, Instagram users must operate a business profile, sell physical products and offer a catalog via Facebook, or another integration partner.

A shopping bag icon will now appear on Instagram posts which include tagged products. Once a user taps on the icon, the product description and pricing is then shown, along with a tag which links to a product page with more information and the option to ‘Shop Now’ on the retailer’s website. UK retailers are able to directly link up to five products per post, or 20 products per multi-image post.

The UK launch of the function comes after a pilot was initiated with Marks & Spencers, Heidi Klein and Mahabis, which was proven to be a success. It follows on from the feature launch in the US last October. “People come to Instagram every day to discover and buy products from their favourite businesses,” said Jim Squires, Instagram head of business in a statement. “We want that to be a seamless experience. Whether it’s a local artisan, florist or clothing store, shopping directly on Instagram has never been easier.”