Guest Post | Instagram's new shopping feature
With 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily active users, Instagram has become a global social media sensation. The image-based platform is home to 25 million business profiles, wHILE 200 million of its users ARE visiting at least one business profile a day. This makes Instagram a great outlet for businesses to connect with potential customers and increase their exposure.
Now, thanks to the launch of Instagram’s newest feature, brands can sell their products directly on the platform. This exciting update streamlines the checkout process so consumers on Instagram can enjoy the most direct and convenient experience possible.
But how does this new feature work? What can brands and consumers expect? here’s a little insight to help clarify these questions and tell you exactly what you need to know about Instagram’s in-app checkout.
How Instagram’s in-app checkout works:
Up until now, every time Instagram users clicked on a product within a shoppable post, they were directed to view the product on the brand’s website. After clicking on the blue “View on Website” button, users are led away from Instagram and taken to a pop-up window of the product page, where they can then add the product to their cart and complete the checkout process.
However, with the introduction of Instagram’s in-app shopping feature, consumers on the platform won’t have to leave the app to order a product.
Now, when you click on an eligible product within a shoppable post, you’ll see pricing information and a blue “Checkout on Instagram” button below the product. In this window you’ll also be able to make your color and size selection. After selecting “Checkout on Instagram” you’ll be prompted to enter your address and payment information, and complete the purchase just as you would on any other website.
This feature will simplify the shopping process and suspend the need for a third-party website, thus eliminating an additional step that can cause frustration and lead potential customers to lose interest.
Here’s what else you need to know about Instagram’s in-app checkout:
The feature is not yet available to all brands. While all brands will eventually be able to take advantage of Instagram’s in-app shopping feature, right now it is only being used by around 20 select brands. These brands include big names such as Nike, Warby Parker, Uniqlo, Adidas, MAC Cosmetics, and Zara.
Sellers utilizing the feature will pay Instagram a fee. Instagram is introducing a selling fee to “help fund programs and products that help make checkout possible, as well as offset transaction-related expenses.” They have yet to reveal the specifics of the fee but they have assured users that it won’t increase the price of items for consumers.
Ads aren’t currently in-app shopping enabled. Instagram ads or promoted posts aren’t yet shoppable. However, we can assume that these will become shoppable moving forward, and that this evolution will open an enormous window of opportunity for brands when it comes to increasing sales.
In addition to shoppable posts, eligible brands can create shoppable Stories. Instead of linking to the product from a post within their feed, the products will be linked within their Stories.
Shoppers’ info will be stored on Instagram for hassle-free shopping down the line. Instagram is trying to make shopping and the checkout process as simple as possible. To help accomplish this, Instagram will store your credentials after you place an order so that users don’t have to go through the trouble of re-entering their details next time. Instagram has said that they will not share this info with retailers or any other third party organizations.
Once placing an order using Instagram checkout, customers will be able to access order details and tracking information from right within the app. There’s no need to look elsewhere for anything order-related. Your entire order management system is at your fingertips, within the Instagram app.
In-app checkout is only available in the US market at this time. Instagram will assumedly open this feature up to more marketplaces moving forward.
As always, brands can use hashtags to make their items more easily discoverable by users of the platform. Instagram was built on hashtags and hashtags will always be an important element of the platform. As always, brands should use hashtags to tag their shoppable products so that they’re more likely to capture the attention of audiences.
What does this mean for Instagram’s future?
Discovery has always been at the heart of Instagram, whether users are discovering new images, videos, interests, people, or products!
The medium encourages exploration, and this is a big part of why we love it so much! Instagram says that there are currently 130 million people that tap on brands’ product tags each month. That’s a huge number of people that are expressing interest in items found on the social media platform, which means there is huge potential for evolution moving forward.
Offering this simplistic shopping experience to users opens up a world of possibilities for brands and for Instagram itself. According to BigCommerce.com, Instagram’s in-app checkout “enables a frictionless purchase when people are ready to buy. By solving commonly-reported user pain points of speed, convenience, and security, checkout minimizes the obstacles between the moment of discovery and a completed purchase.”
With the advent of Instagram’s in-app checkout, Instagram has become a one-stop destination for users’ entire shopping journey. Consumers can now discover products, complete purchase of those products, and follow their order journey from right within their Instagram app. It is the pinnacle of convenience and it will continue to be optimized.
Instagram announced in late 2018 that they were in the midst of developing a standalone app the centers on shopping. As the Verge writes, “Creating a standalone app would allow the company to provide a dedicated home for an increasingly popular activity on Instagram while also expanding opportunities for revenue.”
By identifying opportunities within the marketplace and remaining responsive to its users’ desires, Instagram has built an empire that will only continue expanding. Its newest feature, the in-app checkout, will simplify users’ shopping experience, making it easier for them to connect with the brands and the items they love. We are certainly looking forward to seeing what the future has in store! Watch this space and stay updated on all the latest social media developments.
Guest writer: Ellan Dineen
Ellan Dineen is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. When she’s not hard at work in the Marketing Department, Ellan can be found en route to foreign lands with a book in her hand and a podcast in her ear. With a Master’s in English and Diploma in Social Media Marketing, she knows the importance of staying up-to-date with the industry’s latest trends and insights and is keen to pass these tips on to her readers.