Shopping directly from Instagram is about to become mainstream

Everyone knew it would be coming but it’s finally dropped for a select few major brands in a beta test that should roll out shortly to more accounts. What are we referring to? The Facebook-owned platform has given brands the option to include “product tags” on their posts since 2017, which give users — i.e., potential customers — information on items that appear in posts and Stories, as well as the option to buy the products from the brand’s website. Now instead of redirecting users off the platform, Instagram is letting users shop directly through the app.

If you’re one of the many people who fall victim to Instagram’s eerily on-point shopping ads, you’re either going to love or panic over this news.

The social media behemoth announced a new feature Tuesday (USA time) that allows users to shop directly on the app without being redirected to an advertiser’s website to complete a transaction.

When users tap on a product to look at the details, they’ll see the option to “Checkout on Instagram.” From there, they can enter their billing and shipping information, which is stored for future purchases, and track their order. That’s basically it. It’s designed to be easy and, presumably, to enable impulse shopping.

For now, the feature is only enabled for 22 brands. It’s a mix of really high-end stuff — Prada, Balmain, Oscar de la Renta — and fast-fashion companies like H&M and Zara. They’re also brands that mostly cater to women; seven of the 22 sell only makeup, including Kylie Cosmetics and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

The feature means it’s now easier than ever to spend time ― and money ― on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

It’s a natural fit on a platform where the aesthetic reigns supreme and influencers have a stifling amount of power over the 53 average minutes per day users spend on the app. It’s also a natural next step for a platform that has straddled the line between social media and advertising.

“At our core, Revolve aspires to create a seamless, elevated shopping experience for our customer,” Ryan Pabelona, director of performance marketing for Revolve, said in a blog posted by Instagram. “With Instagram’s new checkout interface, we’re able to better serve our millennially minded audience by providing a new, fast and easy purchase method on a platform where they are already engaging with our content and discovering our products.”

Checkout is just one part of our long-term investment in shopping. We’re excited to introduce even more ways for people to enjoy shopping on Instagram this year.

People will be able to pay with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and PayPal. For brands, access to checkout will be limited during this closed beta. When we expand, businesses will be able to integrate directly or work with partners including Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub, and more in the future. Payments will be processed in partnership with PayPal.

We’re excited to partner with Instagram to make it even easier for our consumers to access Nike products through our @nikewomen and @niketraining handles, ultimately shortening the path from inspiration to purchase.

– DANIEL HEAF, VP/GM NIKE GLOBAL DIGITAL COMMERCE

According to Instagram’s own metrics, 80 percent of users follow at least one business account. And brand accounts are a vital source of revenue for Instagram: As of 2018, there were more than 25 million businesses on the app, 2 million of which used its ad functions. According to a spokesperson, Instagram will introduce a “selling fee” to fund the checkout process and to “offset transaction-related expenses.”

Instagram’s product management director, Vishal Shah, has previously referred to shopping on the platform as a “serendipitous shopping” experience where people can “stumble upon a product — it’s like seeing something in the store window in the real world: You really didn’t set out to shop.”

Does this sound like something that could help your business?

Maybe you run a business and you are wanting to see better returns from your ad spend?

Maybe you would love to move some more stock and see your sales increase?

We would love to have a chat to you about how we can help you make that happen.

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