Instagram expands its shopping features

Last year, BD reported that Instagram had introduced a game-changing in-app "Checkout" feature, enabling US users to buy products from a select amount of brands without leaving the app.

And now, the social media giant has announced it will be opening its Checkout and Live Shopping features to all sellers in the US, not just the 26 beta-testing brands it initially launched with.

“News! Shopping on Instagram just got easier,” Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, tweeted on Wednesday. “All eligible businesses and creators in this (SIC) US can now use our checkout feature, which lets you buy and sell products directly in app. Businesses can also now sell through Live, which means you can buy products in real time.”

This means that customers can view a brand’s shopping post, with a “checkout on Instagram” button appearing. Once that is selected, shoppers can choose from various options such as size or colour, and then proceed to payment. All they have to do is enter their name, billing information, email address and postal address the first time they check out.

Additionally, the feature sends notifications about shipment and delivery in the same way it does normal Instagram notifications – allowing people to easily track their products – all without leaving the app.

The wider rollout may be indicative of how Instagram is changing how we shop – according to an article by Later – with Instagram taking further steps towards becoming an e-commerce platform. And according to digital creative agency, Code and Theory, CEO Dan Gardner, as more businesses gain access to the feature, the more successful it should become.

“If the [in-app Checkout] feature rolls out to everybody, it will have some level of success,” Gardner told Glossy. “Consumers will get more used to it and [brands will] see a bigger lift happen. Brands won’t necessarily replace [their] own e-commerce channels with Instagram Checkout, but it will be another meaningful way to convert.”

Instagram is also testing a live shopping experience – Live Shopping – which allows brands and creators who have access to Instagram Checkout to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalogue before going live. Businesses can show off products in a live video, while customers can browse the highlighted products and make purchases. This feature is now available to sellers using Instagram Live Shopping in the US.

Although Instagram is still in the process of implementing these features globally, it seems promising for brands, businesses and influencers outside of the US who are looking to reap the benefits of Instagram Checkout and Live Shopping.