Instagram announces online shopping on the portal – beta phase

Posted in PresentationSocial Media

So Instagram is now moving towards eCommerce properly. It is now evolving its various tools to better facilitate on-platform shopping. However in the biggest shift we now see it with checkout in app itself.

Noted that this is in beta and is being trialled at the moment, I can see it has a huge potential. Whether it may be country specific is to be determined, South Africa has become great for checkout etc. but don’t know how the site will deal with fraud etc. but we’ll leave that one up to them

As you can see, the new process takes Instagram’s ‘Shopping Tags’ to the next level – now, instead of a ‘View on Website’ button when you tap through, users will see a ‘Checkout on Instagram’ option, which will enable them to make a purchase right there and then, before returning straight back to their Insta feed.

Instagram checkout example


There are, of course, a couple of significant provisos at this stage. Right now, the process is being launched in closed beta, which means that it’s not available to all brands. In fact, only 23 businesses are participating in the initial trial, and the process will only be available to users in the US.

Moving into in-stream payments is a big step, so it makes sense for Instagram to take it slow – though it may be frustrating for businesses who’ve been waiting for the platform’s Shopping Tags to evolve.

And on payments, Instagram will store your payment data after your first in-app purchase, and use that for future shopping, so you only need to enter your details once.

“Once your first order is complete, your information will be securely saved for convenience the next time you shop. You’ll also receive notifications about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram, so you can keep track of your purchase.”

Users will be able to track their purchases via a new ‘Orders’ tab on their profile – and as noted by TechCrunch, the merchants themselves will only be provided with essential information.

“Merchants will only get the details necessary to fulfill an order, including contact info and address, but not your actual payment info. Users will see an opt-in option to share their email address with the seller for marketing purposes. Checkout with Instagram could leave merchants with a little less data than if the purchase happened on their website, but Instagram says it will provide info on which sales it generates for a merchant.”

Instagram is also charging businesses a fee for each transaction facilitated, giving it another revenue stream. What that fee will be is to be determined, however this may be a rival to sites like amazon and allow business to connect to customers on a global level.

Facebook underlined this in a recent study, which surveyed over 21,000 Instagram users in thirteen countries to gain more insight into why and how they use the app.

Instagram product discovery stats

As noted, Instagram’s been nudging into eCommerce for some time – the platform first announced its Shopping Tags feature for posts back in 2016, and has slowly expanded them to more businesses and into Stories.

Instagram shopping tags in Stories

Late last year, Instagram also announced a new ‘Shop’ tab on business profiles, and the addition of Shopping Collections to help users keep tabs on various products they’re interested in. It also added Shopping Tags for videos, and a Shopping Feed in the Explore section, further expanding the platform’s eCommerce potential.

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