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BizReport : Social Marketing : March 20, 2019

Instagram testing checkout option

A new release from Instagram may change how merchants and brands interact on the social platform. This week, they announced a beta test, using a select group of retailers, for what is called Instagram Checkout.

by Kristina Knight

Through the offering, consumers are given the option of checking out direct from a brand's post without leaving Instagram for a landing or checkout page. The shopper simple click the "Checkout on Instagram" button on a branded product page and from there tap a color, size, or other personalizing options, input payment information and finalize the purchase.

"The Instagram Checkout feature allows Facebook and Instagram to close a full shopping experience cycle within its walls, from product discovery to purchase. As I've discussed before, Instagram is changing the traditional funnel as we know it. It is shortening the time and number of actions required in each step of the traditional funnel by providing enhanced product discovery (via stories, influencers, social connections, collection and feed ad units and now even via FB messenger). Product research is almost completely gone as it becomes an integral part of the product discovery. Users discover a product via people they follow and trust, inside their main go-to content and discovery platform. Now, the purchase part is solved too... unlike before, there is no need to leave the platform to the browser and go through form filing hell, giving away credit cards to every vendor - it is all consolidated in one platform that already has all your info and you "trust"," said Oz Etzioni, CEO, Clinch.

"With Google launching Shopping Actions last year, it's no surprise that Facebook is testing a marketplace of its own on Instagram. And with 72 percent of consumers saying they have made fashion, beauty or style-related purchases after seeing something on the platform, this is a brilliant move for removing purchase friction and allowing consumers to quickly move from browsing to buying all within the app. This is especially important for direct-to-consumer brands who don't have the resources to build their own e-commerce site, allowing them to instead engage and convert their target consumers where they go for product inspiration," said Marcel Hollerbach, CMO, Productsup.

Brands in the beta test include glasses retailer Warby Parker, beauty brands Kylie Cosmetics, MAC Cosmetics, and NYX, and clothing/accessory brands including Burberry, Adidas, Prada, and Michael Kors. If the beta is successful and the new offering goes wide, what does Instagram Checkout mean for brands in the social space? One more way to engage, say experts.

"For DTC, and digital-savvy brands, this is a game changer and could significantly increase online sales," said Etzioni. "The big question mark is what kind of data and to what extent the brands and retailers will get back from the Facebook / Instagram platform... which could truly hurt their CRM and control over their own user base data and insights. This may be the start of a new dependency on Instagram. This is reminiscent of the problem CPG has with Amazon in a way, where sales may be up but all consumer data is lost."

"For brands beta testing selling on Instagram, it's important for them to also test what type of product data works best for engaging users on the platform. For example, they should experiment with using more conversational product descriptions and more realistic product photography to match the language and aesthetic Instagrammers use. This could help develop a more conversational, personal relationship between the brand and consumer," said Hollerbach.

The beta program is currently available only to US brands and consumers. More details about Instagram Checkout can be found here

Tags: Clinch, ecommerce, Instagram Checkout, mcommerce, mobile marketing, Productsup, social marketing, social shopping

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