Instagram Expands E-Commerce Push With New Shopping Tool

Samantha McDonald

Avid Instagram scrollers may no longer need to leave the photo-sharing app.

The social networking service has debuted a new checkout tool, allowing users to shop some of their favorite brands directly from Instagram itself. It comes as the company makes a bigger push into e-commerce and as fashion and luxury businesses continue to amplify their presence on the Facebook-owned platform, which has long attracted trend-conscious consumers.

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Prior to the new mechanism, customers who chose to purchase a product on the app were redirected to the brand’s website through the Instagram Shopping initiative launched in February 2018.

Now, upon tapping to view an item from a brand’s shoppable post, users will be able to view the Checkout From Instagram button on the product page. They will then be given options to select the desired size, color and other filters, and ultimately proceed to payment with their contact, billing and shipping information. (Notifications on the product’s delivery status will also be sent through Instagram.)

“As Instagram is becoming a key player in product discovery, offering native checkout makes the mobile buying experience seamless,” explained Laura Musa, director of channel solutions at digital marketing agency Adlucent. “[Previously] tracking was lost, so brands didn’t know where that shopper discovered them, which made decisions to invest in channel content and advertising more difficult. In-app checkout solves these challenges and evolves the shopper-social connection even further.”

Instagram is rolling out a closed beta version for businesses and consumers, with a limited roster of 20 brands including major sportswear names including Adidas and Nike, luxury houses like Burberry and Prada, as well as fast-fashion businesses such as H&M and Zara. According to social media management firm Hootsuite, the social network has more than a billion monthly users, with 60 percent — or more than 600 million people — actively seeking out and discovering new products on the site.

The in-app feature also pits Instagram against big e-commerce players Amazon and Walmart as it seeks to build a more personalized experience for online shoppers. Through the information it gathers from users, the company may be able to tailor sponsored content and advertisements as seen on their feeds.

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