Instagram Launches in-App Checkout for Shoppable Posts

22 Mar 2019 3 min read

Instagram announced this week that they will be testing new in-app purchase and payment functionality with 20 big-name retailers in a bid to become a serious player in the ecommerce arena.

This latest development, called ‘Checkout on Instagram’, enables shoppers to purchase items right from within the Instagram interface where they’re already scrolling.

According to Instagram, 130 million instagrammers tap on the product tags in shopping posts each month, some with the intent to buy. Previously, if shoppers clicked on a product tag in a shoppable post or story they were first taken to a product detail page, then redirected to the retailer’s website to buy via a pop up, where they would then have to fill in all of their details.

Not exactly seamless.

D-plusk instagram shoppable posts
Shoppable posts for activewear brand and Neto retailer, D+K, direct back to their website for checkout.

Now shoppers will be able to store payment information and shipping details within Instagram and effectively purchase a product from a post in a single click.

Mackayla Paul, Instagram expert and Marketing Manager for popular Instagram scheduling app Plann, says that this update is vital to simplifying the customer journey for Instagram users,

One of the key issues that Instagram's new checkout feature will address is online cart abandonment rates. By integrating with Instagram, brands will be able to increase revenue simply by taking out unnecessary steps from the customer buying journey.

Unlike Amazon and eBay, whose shoppers are typically goal-oriented and have a specific product in mind when they visit the marketplace, Instagram captures a different kind of shopper: the window shopper.

People on Instagram are usually relaxed and have time to kill, just like those browsing in a shopping mall. By placing highly curated, highly targeted ads in amongst posts from friends, family and favorite celebs, retailers can hit shoppers not only when they’re most comfortable, but when they’re in a flow state that makes them much more susceptible to impulse purchases.

Being able to surface products in the Instagram feed and guide browsers to purchase with Instagram's friction-free checkout represents a huge opportunity for retailers to tap into these casual window-shoppers.

Initially shoppers will be able to pay via PayPal, Visa, Mastercard or Amercian Express, with Google and Apple Pay likely to make an appearance down the track. Instagram processes the payment and takes a cut of the transaction.

The feature is in closed beta and will only be available for shoppers in the US with 20 brands during this time. The list of brands are mainly big cosmetics, fashion and apparel businesses including Adidas, H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, MAC Cosmetics and Warby Parker. Instagram plans to allow merchants to integrate their ecommerce platforms with the Checkout feature in the future.

Checkout takes the shoppable posts Instagram launched in 2018 one step further and you can bet your bottom dollar that this won’t be the last we hear from Instagram about their ecommerce play.