Facebook owned Instagram has added a new ecommerce feature to its platform. The company has announced a checkout feature that allows users complete purchases right within the app. Users can make purchases and manage their orders without ever leaving the app.
— Instagram (@instagram) March 19, 2019
To be clear, Instagram had always supported shopping experiences on its platform. But in order to complete a purchase, the app used a pop-up webview that takes users to the retailer’s website. This process was slow and becomes even more tiring when the retailer’s website takes too long to load.
The new Instagram checkout feature completely eliminates all of this. Items eligible for checkout get a blue “Checkout on Instagram” button on the app. Tapping this button allows users input order details such as emails, delivery address and payment details.
Why is the feature a big deal?
Instagram checkout is still in beta and is presently only available to about 20 foreign brands, such as Nike, Adidas, and Prada. However when this feature goes mainstream, the impact could be huge.
For one thing, Instagram is already a beloved platform for many brands and companies.
For over five years, Instagram has been home to some of the world’s biggest brands and has helped them to showcase their products and maintain strong connections with users.
Importantly too, Instagram contents are visual and stimulating. They also command the right behavior from customers and this gives Instagram an upper hand against other ecommerce companies like Amazon and even Google. Amazon and other ecommerce platforms rely on users browsing and search history in order to make recommendations. In orders words, users have to know exactly what they are looking for.
Instagram is launching a “checkout” feature with 20 brands today including Nike and Warby Parker.
Allows you to store payment information and checkout directly on Instagram.
A powerful product that is one small part of their long term vision for shopping.
Prediction #1 ✔️ https://t.co/3fUXUFvcEB
— Jeff Morris Jr. (🎨,🎨) (@jmj) March 19, 2019
Instagram on the other hand, relies heavily on its content sorting algorithm. Like Facebook, the company keeps a trove of data about its users and uses these to make content recommendations. Users who follow cars and love contents about cars see more of the same, with a few serendipitous contents. Same is said about users who like home decorations, clothes or sneakers.
This approach generates the right kind of behavior from users. So now the Instagram checkout feature increases the likelihood that brands would be able to convert users to paying customers.
Importantly, Instagram boosts over one billion monthly active users. By extension, the Instagram checkout feature gives sellers direct access to this huge clientele of users.
We're partnering with @Instagram to help power checkout on Instagram. This new experience will enable shoppers to checkout faster with PayPal & merchants to sell their products directly on Instagram. https://t.co/5iOlhyQNOX pic.twitter.com/XXbxj9kIlz
— PayPal (@PayPal) March 19, 2019
The Checkout feature will also increase the importance of influencers and other Instagram marketing tactics. Influencers have long played the role of persuading users to make decisions about products. Now they’ll get to play an even bigger role converting users to paying customers.
All in all, the new Instagram checkout feature is a huge step by the Facebook company.
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