Instagram is enabling consumers to buy products from more than 20 of their favorite brands without leaving the app, the company announced in a March 19 blog post. In coming weeks, when Instagram users tap on a product tag to see item details of an item in the coming weeks, they may see a “Checkout on Instagram” label. Once they are ready to buy, they can enter their billing and shipping details, select payment type and confirm the purchase. The checkout feature will start as a closed beta test for U.S. shoppers.
Shoppers also will be able to use the Instagram app to view their order status, estimated delivery date and tracking number, as well as cancel orders, initiate a return or request additional support.
Some of Instagram’s strong growth potential comes from the platform’s efforts to improve “shoppability,” an area where social networks as a whole have lagged. As many as 78% of retailers in the apparel, department store, big box and specialty sectors — and 41% of 400+ brands — already have shoppable Instagram accounts, according to the 2018 Gartner L2 Social Platforms and Influencers Intelligence Report. Beauty companies rank second, at 68%, while activewear is not far behind at 61%.
The “Checkout on Instagram” option could eliminate some of the friction that has prevented many of these retailers from capitalizing on social commerce sales. Approximately 130 million people already tap on shopping posts to reveal product tags each month, an increase of 40 million since September, according to Instagram.
Burberry, H&M, Nike, Warby Parker, Zara Among First 20+ Brands
U.S. shoppers will be able to check out with retailers such as Adidas, Balmain, Burberry, ColourPop, Dior, H&M, Kylie Cosmetics, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Nike, NYX Cosmetics, Outdoor Voices, Prada, Revolve, Uniqlo, Warby Parker, Zara and more. Instagram expects to integrate more brands into the checkout function in the coming months.
“Burberry is always pushing for digital innovation that improves our customers’ experience,” said Rachel Waller, VP of Marketing, Digital at Burberry in a statement. “We have seen great results from the monthly B Series product drops which launched last September, bridging the journey from inspiration to e-Commerce for our social community for the first time. We are excited to expand our social commerce as one of the first brands to adopt checkout on Instagram.”
The Burberry “B Series” releases are unveiled on the 17th day of every month and are made available for 24 hours exclusively through Instagram, China-based WeChat, Japan-based Lin and Korea-based Kakao. These items were not made available in stores or on Burberry.com.
Shoppers will be able to pay with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and PayPal. As the program expands, merchants will be able to integrate directly with Instagram or work with more e-Commerce partners, including Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor and CommerceHub. Payments will be processed in partnership with PayPal.
Simplifying checkout is just one part of Instagram’s long-term investment in shopping, according to the blog post. Instagram has introduced a number of updates in the last year including product tags in Feed, product stickers in Stories and a shopping destination in Explore.
The social network indicated that it will introduce more ways for people to shop on Instagram in 2019. The company had reportedly been developing its own stand-alone e-Commerce app. The proposed app, called IG Shopping, would allow shoppers to browse and purchase items from retailers they follow.