Instagram is debuting its Checkout tool, having rolled out a series of shopping features in the last few years to make it easier for brands and consumers to sell and buy products through the app.

The social media platform is currently testing the shopping feature in the US, with 23 brands, including Nike, Zara, Burberry and Adidas all part of a closed beta. Instagram users will be able to buy the items they see and like on the platform directly through the app as opposed to being directed to the brand’s website. Instagram will then make an undisclosed commission on each purchase.

Seamless shopping experience

The new tool indicates that Instagram is looking to make more revenue, with the platform expected to make up 20% of Facebook’s overall revenue in 2019. The tool was created in response to the growing demand from brands on the app looking to better connect with their audiences.

Brands are able to make products shoppable via posts on the feed, in Instagram Stories, or in the shopping area in the Explore tab. According to Instagram, shoppers can make purchases with Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and Discover. In terms of data, users will just need to enter their contact information and shipping address the first time they check out. Notifications about shipment and delivery will be in the app, so users can keep track of their purchases.

All of this is enabling a more seamless shopping experience for users, with Instagram working with the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce to carry out its objectives.

“Instagram’s shoppable posts are providing the answer to this and have already been adopted by almost half of e-commerce businesses due to their sales-boosting abilities. The platform’s latest update is therefore set to build on this success by enabling shoppers to make a purchase without even leaving the app – maximising ease of purchase,” said Daniel Dixon, head of social at e-commerce agency Visualsoft.

“Shopping via social media removes a number of pain-points on the customer buying journey, and could virtually eradicate shopping cart abandonment; an issue which affects almost three quarters (74%) of online retail sales. Considering that UK retailers enjoy an average social media reach of over 1 million, the growth opportunities are tremendous for businesses who can take advantage of this new trend. However, if this is to be successful on a wide scale, retailers need to keep followers engaged on an ongoing basis. This can be achieved through creative Instagram stories and social posts,” he continued.

Instagram has revealed there are more plans in the pipeline for its shopping experience as the platform continues to be a vital channel for businesses, but only time will tell if it will increase consumer engagement as the organic nature of the app declines.