Instagram has released some breaking news last week. The social media platform is now launching an in-app checkout feature that allows users to purchase products without leaving the site. This is big news for the entire eCommerce industry since the site is the second largest social media platform after Facebook (which never quite bridged the gap between social media and eCommerce). Pinterest launched a similar feature called Buyable Pins (now called Shop the Look) several years ago and it’s produced great results for many eCommerce businesses.
How the In-App Checkout Feature Will Work
If you’re not quite sure how this feature will work, here’s the explanation: When you make a post for a product, you can allow users to purchase the product directly through Instagram instead of click towards a separate eCommerce website. Each image will have the ability to tag a product (similar to current shopping tags), which once clicked on will open the checkout button option.
On this page, users will be able to do everything from choose size, colors, shipping options, and more before ordering. Once all the configurations are chosen, user can simply click the button and go through a checkout process. Like the usual eCommerce site, users will enter their name, email, address, and credit card information to complete the order.
As of now, this feature is in closed beta. So you’ll only notice a few select brands implementing this feature in their Instagram for business accounts. After collecting data and analyzing the results, they will most likely open this feature for all the business accounts in the near future. After the success of Pinterest’s eCommerce checkout, this version will probably be embraced by both consumers and businesses.
What Checkouts Means for Your eCommerce Business
If you’re an eCommerce business owner, then it’s likely if used correctly, you should be able to increase your sales by using this feature. Many businesses are seeing anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of their sales come from Pinterest through their “Shop the Look” in-app checkout feature. Considering Instagram’s much larger user base, we’re predicting that most eCommerce businesses may exceed those numbers.
There’s no word on what kind of fees businesses will have to pay to implement this feature. It could be charged be on a per click basis, or even taking a share of the profits. Whatever it is, they have said that there will be some kind of selling fee associated with this feature. We’re hoping it will be affordable for most eCommerce businesses and scalable for businesses all sizes.
A Facebook spokesperson give us some hints about the fulfillment process. It seems that merchants will only receive the customer’s contact information and address. All of the actual credit card processing will happen though Instagram. You will be able to offer customers the option to opt-in to your email list. This is an automatic step for customers that buy through your site, but it seems like users will have to manually give permission for you to contact them. This can lead to you losing leads for back-end sales. It would be nice if you’re able to create a description of what customers will get in return signing up to your email list. But they have not made any clarifications about whether businesses would be able to do that.
eCommerce Businesses Need to Take Advantage of Every Platform
While it’s very important to put a strong emphasis on marketing your eCommerce site, it’s also becoming important to make sure your digital marketing strategy capitalizes on every platform that’s available to you. Depending on your business, this includes sites like Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, Etsy, Rakuten, Alibaba, Walmart, and now Instagram. There will always be challenges acquiring the customer information on these party selling platforms. However, it is worth the additional sales these platforms can generate.
Instagram, in particular, has put been really focusing on creating a revenue stream with eCommerce. They’ve added many features in the last few years. This includes allowing business profiles to create an account store, allowing users to create shopping lists, implementing shopping tags in Stories, and allowing users to search for products in the explore section. With Instagram’s large user base, you can bet on the social media giant to become a big player in the eCommerce sector.
How eCommerce Businesses Need to Approach Social Media Marketing
eCommerce businesses that haven’t been focusing on Instagram will want to start exploring their options. Because the site has added so many different eCommerce features, businesses will have many opportunities to capitalize on the platform. Here are just a few things you’ll want to do as an eCommerce business owner:
- Investing more in organic social media marketing in the overall digital marketing strategy.
- Building out your account stores so that many different products are available to purchase for followers.
- Creating branded content with Stories where various products are featured and linked to your account’s store or site.
- Implementing the checkout feature when available even if it means having to pay additional fees.
- Spending more time optimizing product posts to take full advantage of the checkout feature.
- Focusing more in Instagram marketing, especially on figuring out how the shop search algorithm works to enhance your product tags and listings.
Putting in a stronger effort in content creation as part of your Instagram marketing strategy so that you show up in follower news feeds for greater product visibility. You will also want to start experimenting with the advertising platform if you haven’t done so yet. The big benefit of having an in-app and on-site checkout feature is the fact that the conversion requires one less click. Many users also trust the social media site and since they won’t be sharing credit card data, they won’t have to worry about trusting an eCommerce company they’ve never heard of before.