< Return to Feed
Elaine Randant - 04.11.2019

What Does Instagram's In-App Checkout Mean for Shopping?

Is social media the next big contender in e-commerce? Instagram, or should we say Facebook, their parent company, thinks so.

Instagram has been taking steps over the past year or so to make it more shopper friendly, and for good reason. People are already turning to Instagram for style inspiration, recipes, and product recommendations, which can be seen in the surge of influencer marketing. The natural next step was to allow users seeking out products to have the ability to shop for those products. Last year’s updates allowed brands to have shoppable posts, swipe up features on stories, and even added a shopping section to the explore page.

Until recently, if interested in a tagged product, you could click off and go to the brand’s website to make a purchase. Helpful shopping tool, yes. Clunky experience, absolutely. Ultimately, Instagram wants you to 1) stay on their platform 2) keep advertisers spending their ad dollars on their platform. Put the two together and it makes sense that the big push in 2019 is to do just that.

In March, Instagram announced a new shopping feature that would allow users to shop and purchase within the platform —without leaving the app. This seamless user experience via in-app checkout is sure to be embraced by brands everywhere, but until then only 20 lucky retail partners get to test out the new feature, including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and H&M.

Whether we like it or not, most people are attached to their smartphones. If brands expect to have a relationship with their customers, they need to be thinking about their smartphones. Shortening the path to conversion is key to, well, conversions. Instagram’s latest rollout makes shopping a thumb-tap away, while creating a seamless user experience, meaning users are less likely to abandon their cart.

Shopping is a huge opportunity for Instagram and parent company, Facebook. Analysts say this move to shopping will generate $10 billion in revenue for Instagram by 2021. By helping to increase conversions, ads are more effective and will hopefully bring in more money for the advertiser, resulting in an increased investment in social e-commerce via Instagram advertising.

So, what does this mean for the future of other advertisers? Will I be ordering a dozen doughnuts straight from the ‘gram when I have the Sunday Scaries? Or maybe impulse buying the luxury sneakers in my feed ‘just because’. I hope both—since neither require leaving the couch or finding a parking spot at a crowded mall.

Brands don’t want to be late to this party. Until we are all invited to partake, brands should focus on improving their overall social presence, getting to know their audience and figuring out what content is resonating. Social e-commerce isn’t going anywhere, so let’s buckle up.