Letsell, an app by Brazilian company Gerencianet that makes it possible to buy and sell products using Instagram, is available for free on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
With an initial investment of around $53,000, it has been released in eight countries, including the US, UK, Spain and Germany, in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Created in 2010, the app was inspired by the popularity of Instagram, and is “for ordinary people to advertise things they want to sell, whether new or used” and can also be used by companies that want to venture into e-commerce or “increase product exposure on the internet”.
When users buy with the app, they can start an online chat with the seller as soon as they like a product on Instagram to negotiate things like prices and delivery.
The seller can also start a chat but only after the payment confirmation. All payments are processed via PayPal.
The company said the UK was one of the markets it chose to launch in because, according to eMarketer data, one quarter of all transactions done on the internet in the UK in 2014 were executed using smartphones and online sales in the country are expected to grow by 12 per cent in 2015.
The app allows all transactions to be done via a smartphone, and includes tools such as online chat and calculation of shipping costs. The user can track all purchases, sales and records of negotiations in the app, as well as amend registration data.
The buyer need only pay for the product while the seller is charged a fee when a sale is confirmed.
In December, Instagram said its user base had exceeded 300 million, overtaking Twitter’s 284 million users, with 70 million photos and videos being shared on it each day.