Impulse buyers beware. Now there’s nothing standing between you and that stylish hat you just saw on Instagram. A couple of clicks and you’ll find it on your doorstep.
The Instagram Shopping Checkout is a new feature that allows users to buy items directly from the app, might make the photo-sharing app king of discovery purchases. Like those shoes? Tap the screen. They’re yours. How about that handbag? Yours. Those wine stoppers that look like celebrities’ heads? You guessed it. Yours.
I used to think that Reece’s Cups in the checkout line were the most dangerous impulse buy. But now, I’m giving that honour to anything on Instagram. With the potential to revolutionize the way we online shop, it looks to turn its users into a whole different kind of social media consumers.
Given that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand, 60% discover products there and over a third of these users have purchased a product from their mobile device, it was only a matter of time before the app featured direct purchasing.
To help you prepare your eyes and mind for this new type of online window shopping, here’s what you need to know about Instagram Shopping Checkout.
How does the Instagram Shopping Checkout work?
Just so we’re clear, Checkout won’t let you purchase any item you see on Instagram. You can’t admire your friend’s novelty T-shirt, decide you want to be twins, then buy it right there. Instead, it will operate through participating brands’ existing channels, allowing the companies to offer purchasing options for featured products.
Say you’re scrolling, minding your own business, then bam! All of a sudden you see a pair of Adidas trainers you absolutely need to own. Tap the photo and it’ll take you to a separate purchasing page. The first time you buy something, you’ll enter payment and shipping info, which will be stored for later use. On your second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh – whoa slow it down there, for your wallet’s sake – purchases, you’ll simply use the stored information, making the process even more streamlined. And after you place your order, the app will send you updates and notifications about shipping, delivery, etc
See it in action:
Yep, it’s that easy.
How is this different from before?
Instagram marketing is nothing new. The advent of influencers – whose curated lives, tropical adventures, homemaking prowess and perfect bodies we all fawn over – engendered the rise of product promotion on their channels. It gave brands a more organic, natural way to reach millions of followers. It gave them ambassadors who could advertise without seeming like advertising.
And Instagram’s visual dynamism made it a perfect place for brands to show off their newest and most impressive products in a way they couldn’t on Facebook or Twitter. Instagram leaned into it’s growing influence as an advertising platform by letting brands include links to their online stores in each photo. Tapping these links could bring users to the exact product featured in the photo, albeit on an external site.
Now, users don’t even need to leave Instagram to make the purchase. It’s an online store all on its own. Essentially, Checkout takes a couple of steps out of the buying process, eliminating the need to navigate to a separate site and enter your information.
Checkout is still in its infancy. There are 23 brands who have opted in. While the new platform might give them a sales boost, it also hinders the amount of data they can collect on their customers, as Instagram will only share order information with the merchants, not a payment or personal information.
That said, the participating brands are big players in their respective industries. Here’s who’s currently on board:
- Adidas @adidaswomen & @adidasoriginals
- Anastasia Beverly Hills @anastasiabeverlyhills
- Balmain @balmain
- Burberry @burberry
- ColourPop @colourpopcosmetics
- Dior @dior
- H&M @hm
- Huda Beauty @hudabeautyshop
- KKW @kkwbeauty
- Kylie Cosmetics @kyliecosmetics
- MAC Cosmetics @maccosmetics
- Michael Kors @michaelkors
- NARS @narsissist
- Nike @niketraining & @nikewomen
- NYX Cosmetics @nyxcosmetics
- Oscar de la Renta @oscardelarenta
- Ouai Hair @theouai
- Outdoor Voices @outdoorvoices
- Prada @prada
- Revolve @revolve
- Uniqlo @uniqlo
- Warby Parker @warbyparker
- Zara @zara
Who can use it?
I know, I know, we all want to start buying everything on our feeds right away, but right now the Checkout feature is only available to U.S. users. But, if it’s successful – and, let’s be honest, people are going to eat this up – we can likely expect Instagram to roll it out to all of their 1 billion (!!!) users.
How does this change the e-commerce game?
What do people look at more than social media? Their loved ones? Beautiful scenery? Their own reflections? The TV? Nah. Social media owns our attention. Checkout allows brands to inject their products straight into the personal lives of their customers, right in front of us as we lie in bed scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, inches from our faces.
If I was a betting man, I’d bet that soon, this feature will be available for not just big brands like H&M or Prada, but small business and personal e-commerce stores too. If you run, say, a print on demand online store, Checkout could offer you another way to get your products out there, another outlet for sales. Get to know the ins and outs now, and you’ll be ready for when it does.
How can I keep from buying everything I see on Instagram?
Shoot, I don’t know. I’m asking the same question. We’ll find out, won’t we?
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