Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing app has become a hotspot for brands, and a hotspot for consumers who want a sort of digital window shopping experience. Today, Instagram sweetened the deal by adding a checkout feature to the app so users can buy stuff they see in their feed without ever having to leave Instagram.
And Instagram will be able to capture and store credit card information so shoppers won’t have to reenter it every time they want to buy something from a brand they like.
Instagram says its users have been sending strong signals that they want to be able to shop inside the app. The company says 80% of its users actively follow a brand or brands on Instagram. And 130 million users are interacting with shopping posts on Instagram every month, Instagram product management lead Ashley Yuki told me. “We started building this last year, but before we even did anything people were trying to shop for products on Instagram,” she said.
The on-Instagram checkout feature is currently a closed beta, so only a small group of 20 brands will get it at first. They include Adidas, Burberry, H&M, Micheal Kors, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Revolve, Warby Parker, Zara, and others. After the beta, Instagram will expand the service to more brands (and more types of brands).
For brands not yet participating, shoppers will have to make purchases the old way for now. Which means when they tap a product tag they’ll go to a product details page containing a “purchase” link that then takes them out to the brand’s site. The on-Instagram shopping removes a lot of friction and may increase sales.
Brands will pay Instagram a small fee for every purchase made through Instagram’s e-commerce platform, Yuki told me. Instagram is also adding a PayPal option for users who roll that way.
Yuki says native checkout is just one step in Instagram’s larger vision for shopping. “For a lot of people shopping is fun, shopping is a hobby, and I think in mobile we’ve lost a lot of that,” she says. “A lot of shopping on mobile feels like just the chore of buying . . . and that’s not fun.”
Instagram users will be able to pay using Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, or PayPal.