You may have heard the buzz around Instagram Checkout last month, but what does that have to do with your brand?

Instagram is known for being a capture point for retail brands looking to capitalize on the aspirational and visual qualities of the platform. Great for visual messaging, but unfortunately not so great for ecommerce. Until very recently, ‘grammers were made to jump through several hoops to actually purchase any products, heading through a series of links before being able to check out.

Instagram’s shoppable posts were a great first step, but still left the consumer having to go through multiple steps to complete a purchase.

Instagram’s Ecommerce Pain Point

The more steps someone has to take, the less likely they are to make a purchase  — especially if they’re in a fleeting buying mood when scrolling through their feed. For many retailers, Instagram’s clunky, indirect way of navigating to the brand’s website has remained perhaps the biggest point of friction during the customer experience, reducing the likelihood of a conversion.

Instagram’s latest move solves all of that.

No More Jumping Through Hoops

With Instagram’s new in-app checkout feature (launched for beta testing in late March), shoppers can now buy from a select group of brands right from branded posts.

Brands available:

Not only that, but folks who make purchases will be able to track their orders, view estimated shipping and delivery dates, and initiate the return process. Shoppers can also save their payment info, as the entire payment and checkout system will be contained within the Instagram app itself; enabling users to buy something with just a tap.

When rolled out to all retailers, this move will effectively transform Instagram from a source of product inspiration and discovery to a full-fledged e-commerce channel.

What does Instagram Checkout means for retail brands selling through social?

Social commerce is real. It presents a whole new avenue for selling directly to consumers, rather than just being a way to capture leads or share products.

Once the checkout feature hits the masses, your brand can take advantage of whatever social following you have to sell directly to the audience you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Being able to sell directly from sponsored posts will also give you a much better sense of your ROI, whereas in the past social may have been harder to attribute and link to sales.

If you have an ecommerce store built on common platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify, you’re in luck. Many platforms have partnered with Instagram directly to provide integration for your existing store, making setup a breeze.

What do brands need to watch out for?

While this is a huge opportunity, brands will need to be conscious of consumer expectations as well as potential pitfalls concerning data and insights.

On the data side, handing over the transaction process to a third party like Instagram means that insights from customer data such as demographic information, email, product discovery, path-to-purchase, etc. may be much scanter compared to website checkout.

As we move forward, shoppers’ expectations for personalized content and product recommendations trend toward a more tailored experience. Retail brands will need to step-up their game via social and align other channels, both on- and offline.

If your ecommerce system is not set up to handle transactions via social, you’d best get it up to speed. This isn’t a trend that will come and go. Brands need to be prepared to incorporate social commerce into their strategy.

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Jared Bajkowski

Author Jared Bajkowski

Jared is a Content Coordinator at InQuest Marketing. He develops content strategies and produces content for clients, as well as InQuest itself. He loves getting into the heads of consumers and figuring out how to tell a story that captures their attention. Jared has a passion for music and plays bass in a band, and his favorite movie is The Big Lebowski.

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