The feature, called Checkout on Instagram, is currently being tested in a closed beta program by nearly two dozen businesses and is only available to users in the US.
Inside Retail NZ has asked for details about if and when the feature will be available outside the US but had not received a reply at the time of this writing.
Adidas, Burberry, Dior, H&M, Michael Kors, Nike, Outdoor Voices, Uniqlo and Zara are among the 23 fashion, beauty and accessories brands now rolling out the feature. Others will be added in future, according to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
When users tap on a product in a Shopping ad from one of these businesses, they now see a “Checkout on Instagram” button. By tapping the button, they can select the size and colour of the item they want and enter their payment and shipping details to purchase.
Users receive notifications about shipment and delivery within the Instagram app, and the platform saves all their information for future purchases.
In the past, if users wanted to purchase a product linked to a Shopping ad, they were redirected to the brand’s website. The new feature removes this step and – crucially for Instagram – keeps consumers in the app.
“Social selling is really taking shape both in Australia and globally and it’s great to see Instagram leading the way through the next stage of the social selling journey. Giving consumers the option to complete a purchase right then and there in the app will simplify the shopping process and allow brands to connect more easily with shoppers,” said Jordan Sim, group product manager at BigCommerce, an e-commerce platform that has been active in offering integrations with Shopping on Instagram to its users.
“We’ve seen our merchants both globally and locally in Australia have a great deal of success using BigCommerce’s integration with Shopping on Instagram and are looking forward to unlocking the power of this new integration for our Aussie retailers in the near future. We know the value of simplifying the checkout process to drive sales and this new function on Instagram will facilitate just that.”
Many brands have said that Shopping ads drive sales, but there’s a trade-off: visibility and control over their customer data. As Instagram continues to make the purchasing process more seamless – that is, takes control of the process – some businesses will undoubtedly question whether the trade-off is worth it.
It is unclear whether the Checkout feature applies to Shopping posts in Instagram Stories, or only to posts in the feed. Last June, Instagram revealed that of the 500 million people using Instagram every day, 300 million use Stories every day.