Instagram just introduced the “Checkout” feature on its platform. It is an in-app purchasing tool which is currently running as a closed beta program for consumers in the US. Among the twenty participating brands, there are some big-name companies like Adidas, Nike, and Prada.
“Users in the United States can buy from a majority of these big brands starting today, with all of them coming on board over the next coming weeks,” an Instagram spokesperson named Paige Cohen stated about this revelation.
Instagram will be able to continue adding big brands to this closed beta program, and it is planning to expand the “Checkout” feature beyond the borders of the United States in the future. However, the company has not yet set a specific date for having this “Checkout” feature available on a global scale. Checkout buttons reportedly will only be limited to certain organic posts from the beta participants for now. Advertisements will not be able to display on them.
A new “Orders” section in the users’ profiles will enable users to check order status, initiate a return, cancel an order, or just contact the merchant. The businesses will also be able to share their featured products through their organic Stories and posts on their Instagram pages. Consumers will now be able to discover products in the “Search & Explore” section of Instagram.
“There is possibly no way that this is not going to turn into push ads for customers,” commented Trevor White, who is a senior analyst at Nucleus Research.
“It will certainly give Instagram, and thus Facebook, more data about customers and their preferences.” He further went on to add: “which I imagine will enable Facebook to further expand its advertising. I imagine they will be the real winners from this.”
Instagram Checkout feature “follows closely on the heels of Google’s testing shoppable ads in its image search,” stated Eli Finkelshteyn, who is the CEO of Constructor.io.
This is highlighting a growing trend in the industry. Both large and small companies realize that owning the location and the medium where the users can find the products they want is the most important factor behind getting those users’ dollars. Currently, when the shoppers find something that they want on the platform of Google or Instagram, they will go straight to the website of Amazon where most users already possess an account, and their payment information is already stored there. But with this new shopping functionality on Instagram, users will now be able to buy what they want in a simpler manner, without the need for Amazon to get involved in this process.
How this new Checkout feature will work
When consumers click on the picture of the product in a brand’s shopping post, a “Checkout on Instagram” button will appear. Clicking on this button will let the user select the size, color or any other options, and see the price of that particular product. They then will proceed to a payments page within the platform of Instagram.
Consumers will then have to enter their personal information such as their name, email address, shipping and billing information the first time they check out on Instagram. This information will then be saved for use in future transactions. Shipment and delivery notifications will all be provided inside Instagram.
Merchants will only get the details necessary to fulfill an order — including the customer’s address and contact information. However, they will not have access to the customer’s payment credentials. Instagram will provide merchants about information on the sales it generates. Instagram users can opt-in to share their email address with sellers for marketing purposes.
Instagram Checkout will accept payments made using a wide array of credit cards including PayPal. Payments that will be processed through PayPal for Partners at no extra charge.