A couple of weeks ago Instagram introduced Instagram Checkout to us. Basically, Instagram has gone ahead and just whacked a checkout process in-app. So where brands can tag their items for shopping, users can now click through to buy the product without leaving the app. Taking to their press page, the social media giant said, “Today, we’re introducing checkout on Instagram. When you find a product you love, you can now buy it without leaving the app.”
The catch, at the moment is that it’s on a trial and it’s only available in the US. Instagram hand selected 20 brands to take part in the trial including massive brands like Burberry, Zara, MAC Cosmetics, and Adidas, to name a few.
Brands will be able to tag their products in photos, so it’ll appear similarly to how tagging a person on Instagram displays. When you tap the ‘tag’ you’ll see a little option nudging you to checkout on Instagram. From there you can pick the colour, size, whatever, like you would on a website before you chuck it in your cart. The user can then proceed to payment without leaving the app at all. You’ll need to enter your name, email, billing information, and shipping address just the one time. Then you’ll get all the important stuff through Instagram notifications: shipment details, tracking numbers, delivery details.
— Instagram (@instagram) March 19, 2019
As a design-centric agency, we get excited when a platform gives props to good visual content. Instagram may not fully intend to do that, but the nature of the social media channel means the new system definitely will. This new Instagram Checkout process will change how aesthetic–charged brands will do business. Instagram has been dedicated to encouraging exploration on the app since its inception. This could mean that brands buying into the new system will receive some kind of priority in the Explore page.
With no redirection to outside websites or apps, Instagram is promising a bunch more security to its users. Brands and online stores should see more accountability if they’re linked in the app (we hope at least). This could reduce retail scams and mean users can have a bit more faith when buying online.
Instagram Checkout’s concept is excellent. So much of that pesky bounce rate in eCommerce is thanks to an annoying checkout process, whether it just never ends, you ask them to go through four pages, you ask for too many personal details, poor loading times, etc. Users lose patience fast. The checkout system only asks for your name, your address, and your card deets. And only the one time. So the second time the user goes to buy something they can just place their order.
The quick checkout system will always be the same, it’s designed to be native to the user, and after one purchase it definitely will be. We know people are valuing speed, usability, and convenience. Instagram Checkout could mean that users will be deciding whether or not to buy your product based on your product alone, not the website, the design, or the checkout system.
We all know that nothing’s free. Companies will obviously have to pay to provide Instagram Checkout on their page. The better the system, the more accepted it becomes, the more expensive it could become. Uber Eats charges restaurants 30% of their listed prices to include them on their app, which can often leave restaurants with a loss… Considering restaurants often have profit margins of under 30%. Could Instagram Checkout have similar pricing restraints?
All those nifty things you can do with your own eCommerce store won’t be possible with Instagram Checkout. Giving your customers insights like “other shoppers that bought X also bought X” may be eliminated on Instagram. Targeted advertising may be in Instagram’s hands rather than the retail brands’. Not to mention those precious email lists. Sharing contact information with the brand you purchase from will be optional with Instagram Checkout. This means websites’ email lists will take a massive hit. According to Oberlo, for every $1 you spend on email marketing you can expect an average return of $32. So, email marketing is insanely valuable to retail brands at the moment.
People are already sick of ads on social media. According to Wordtracker 74 per cent of Gen Z and millennials are tired of being social ad targets. Instagram is seeing a higher flow of ads coming through the app and we’ve already seen Snapchat fall with the rise of ads in-app. Could the same happen with Instagram?
We’re still waiting for the all-clear. Those selected 20 brands are being trialled in the United States before it’s rolled out to the rest of us. In the meantime? Build that Instagram presence. Build up your following, your post quality, and your engagement.