2020 is not finished just yet, and Instagram seems unstoppable. After the recent announcement of Instagram Reels, its alternative to TikTok, now the new king of social is introducing a newly released feature called Instagram Checkout.
Back in 2019, Checkout was launched in the US only, and available for just 26 brands, including Zara, Kylie Cosmetics, Revolve, Warby Parker and Uniqlo. These top brands were the original beta test group. After six months of trialling it out, Instagram’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, tweeted that the feature was available for all eligible businesses and creators in the country.
According to Later, the main objective behind Instagram Checkout is to “allow users to purchase without ever leaving the Instagram app – creating a streamlined, 2-tap process to converting Instagram followers into loyal customers.”
There is no doubt that Instagram is going to change the way users shop online. However, some marketers may be asking how this new feature might affect their website traffic and regular e-Commerce activity. In this article, we will take a more in-depth look into Instagram Checkout and how it will change the online shopping experience for brands.
WHAT IS INSTAGRAM CHECKOUT?
Instagram Checkout enables users to buy products from brands directly on the app. The checkout feature is quite simple to use. All users have to do to purchase in-app, is tap to view a product from a shoppable post and then continue to the payment process.
To using Checkout for the first time, users will have to enter their details like email, billing and shipping information. After the first in-app purchase, your details will be stored. Besides, customers will be able to track, manage and even return their orders all through the app. Users can also contact the brands directly through Instagram regarding any issues with their purchase.
INSTAGRAM CHECKOUT FOR INFLUENCERS
Instagram is slowly becoming more of a complete e-commerce platform. Apart from shoppable posts, Checkout is also making it possible for influencers and content creators to increase sales on behalf of the brands they are collaborating with.
“Shopping for creators” is an option for influencers and content creators so that they can add product tags from their brand partners to their Instagram posts. Users can then directly tap on the product tag and continue to checkout. The same applies to Instagram stories. Influencers and content creators will now also be able to add product tags to their stories, just like regular posts.
It looks like Instagram is going to be managing the customer’s entire purchasing journey, all within the app. This is quite impressive, considering that 83% of users were discovering new products and services on the platform before the Checkout feature rollout.
Instagram Checkout has a huge sales potential for brands, businesses, influencers and content creators. However, with every new social feature, we have to look at how it might be affecting other digital marketing channels. Let’s look at some of the benefits and possible drawbacks of Instagram Checkout.
HOW WILL INSTAGRAM CHECKOUT IMPACT THE E-COMMERCE WORLD
Instagram Checkout will be very beneficial for small retailers and independent designers. Why? Because Checkout is enabling businesses of any size, to sell their products without the need of building an in-depth e-commerce based website. According to Flying V Group, the new Checkout feature is opening a “whole new online retail market instead of replacement for online e-commerce.”
Instagram remains a mobile app only, and e-commerce sales are 24% higher on desktop than mobile. In a recent interview with James Gurd, Founder at Digital Juggler, Instagram Checkout “may shrink social traffic to the retailer’s website, but I think most retailers will accept that if the ROI model works.”
EXPAND YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY
It is more likely that marketers will see great potential for Checkout in their in paid social advertising because Instagram Checkout should lead to higher conversion rates since it is completely removing a checkout step. However, you might need to reorganise how your company utilises social media to drive sales. Along with this, customers should always have the choice to buy your products via your website.
Instagram Checkout is making it very easy for a potential customer to take action and buy your product. On average, Checkout is removing roughly 5-10 clicks that the user would have to go through to purchase a product they like. The easier this action is, the more likely it is that the user will become a returning customer.
A FULLY SHOPPABLE PERSONALISED EXPERIENCE
Apart from offering new e-commerce marketing opportunities for brands, Instagram Checkout is also elevating personalised online shopping for users. Personalisation has become one of the essential components of a digital marketing strategy.
According to Later, Instagram’s new algorithm can recommend products that users would be more likely to buy. The algorithm works by collecting and analysing data such as user’s likes and dislikes and the brand’s they follow. Once it understands and predicts purchasing patterns, they will appear at the top of the user’s home feed.
All of this combined opens up the possibility of brands offering their customers a highly curated, personalised and shoppable destination. This new Shop feed is still only accessible for US-based users. However, it should be made available worldwide very soon.
THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL SHOPPING
In conclusion, it looks like an inspiring time for both marketers and brands to explore the possibilities of Instagram Checkout. Some experts predict that conversion rates should increase for retailers advertising on the Instagram Ad network. Additionally, ad placements on Instagram will start to rise with the new growing demand for in-app conversions as well as the increased user engagement.
Instagram presents an opportunity for brands to shorten their customer’s path to purchase. But there are still questions as to how Checkout will affect ROI and attribution for larger e-commerce retailers.
Additionally, there are still some challenges Instagram has to overcome to become a powerful e-commerce platform. For example, data-privacy issues might be one of those. Instagram’s handling of private information has been questioned in the past. In another interview with Joanna Bodley, Digital Marketing Lecturer and Founder at Jo & Co., “perceived consumer safety of purchasing on a familiar channel and not having to share payment details may increase the propensity of purchase.”
Aleksandra Michniewicz specializes in copywriting and content creation for companies in a variety of industries like tech, lifestyle, fashion and finance. She manages her own Digital Marketing start-up company Otisable. Find her on LinkedIn.