Instagram Launches ‘Checkout on Instagram’ Trial

April Davis By April Davis | 20 Mar 2019

Adidas, Zara and H&M are among the brands involved in a closed beta test that allows shoppers to purchase and track online orders directly through the social media app.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Instagram announced the launch of its latest mobile shopping trial ‘Checkout on Instagram’. According to the Facebook-owned business, the company is trialling a more streamlined purchase journey whereby consumers can search for, explore and purchase a product without leaving the app.

“When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Tap it to select from various options such as size or colour, then you’ll proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out,” Instagram wrote in its post.

After making an initial purchase through the app, Instagram says it will securely store customer data and will provide notifications and tracking details directly through the app.

Checkout on Instagram is currently in closed beta mode.

Checkout on Instagram is currently in closed beta mode for businesses and shoppers within the US, with brands such as Burberry, Kylie Cosmetics, Adidas, Nike and H&M all participating in the trial.

Despite its parent company, Facebook, making headlines for its plan to focus on private and encrypted messaging across its platform, Instagram is still firmly focused on its social commerce capabilities. So far, this has seen the app introduce everything from ‘Shoppable Stories’ and ‘Shoppable Posts’ to its own personalised shopping channel, ‘Explore’.

A stand-out benefit of Instagram’s in-app checkout functionality is that users will no longer have to leave the app to complete a purchase via a third-party website. Jordan Sim, the group product manager for BigCommerce believes Instagram’s investment in e-commerce is a sign of the growing social commerce industry in Australia.

“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,” he said.

However, given Facebook’s recent privacy scandals, including the mishandling of data during the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there are concerns that users will be hesitant about handing their personal and financial information over to Instagram. This has been one of the largest barriers to social commerce in the past. But, this hasn’t stopped brands from finding success with Instagram’s other shopping features, with the Head of Content at Stylerunner, Lauren Skora saying late last year that Shoppable Stories has proven fruitful for the business.

“The action of tapping the products, seeing prices and shopping all within Instagram stories creates a more seamless experience for the customer, as opposed to clicking a link to be navigated away from the space,” she said at the time.

“By using this tool to gain a better understanding of what our customers want to see, we can show them more of what they love.”

ASOS has also praised the social platform in the past, saying its content was viewed more than 30 million times on Instagram in the first few months of 2018, with its use of Instagram Stories during the feature’s early trials reportedly driving brand awareness and the promotion of the business’s core values.

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