Retail app is making waves in the online retail world through the social media sphere. Instagram users are now able to encode their uploaded photographs with a link so that followers can simply 'like' an image in order to automatically receive a URL in their email inbox to an online store selling the product featured in the picture.

Instagram users are effectively utilised as affiliate marketers with a global reach for the brands which they choose to showcase on their profiles, and all in return for a small commission of the eventual sale price (payable by the brand to both the individual and the app).

Amongst other retailers, Vogue has been a prominent user of the service and has been actively advertising brands through its Instagram platform in this way (and being paid to do so).

UK brands wishing to capitalise on this facilitated international buying access should be aware of the legal rules and consumer protection laws regulating online endorsements and, in particular, the UK government guidance on being open and honest with your audience through online endorsements.