Instagram has been reveling in its billion-mark users over the past couple of years. The platform has proved over and over to be better than its current competitors. What started as a quirky startup evolved into the “startup acquired by the giant Facebook” and is now at the top of the social media platform chain.
As a next step, Instagram is foraying into becoming a full-fledged commerce platform and announced that it is bringing a checkout feature to its mobile apps. This feature “Checkout on Instagram” is a definite step up from previous shopping features on the service, which made the buyers open or click on a brand’s web page to complete transactions. The users were then required to enter payment and shipping details like they do with a new e-commerce site. This has prompted many of these customers to bail on the transaction at the end. But Instagram hopes with this feature is to retain information and ensure that the loss of customers remains minimal. In return, Instagram is charging retailers a selling fee.
Currently, this feature is available only for the US customers but the social media platform says it is planning to launch in 12 other countries including India. More than 20 brands will use checkout to start, including Nike, Adidas, Dior, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Zara etc.
The shopping and checkout features are not available in Instagram’s adverts “yet” and can only be used for posts on the newsfeed and on Instagram Stories, where they will disappear after 24 hours. Checkout tags will appear on feed posts, Stories and Explore content from the brands in the closed beta that Instagram plans to eventually open to more businesses. When users tap the post to reveal product tags and open one, they’ll see a Checkout with Instagram button instead of the old “View on Website” button.
Image from Techcrunch
What does this move mean for Instagram marketing?
Instagram has always been a brand that has evolved around marketing. While influencers have been around from the era of TV to Snapchat, the term is now widely known because of Instagram and the platform’s launch for mini-celebrities. For the company, Instagram has opened up itself to a new revenue stream. In Instagram’s blog post it says ““Checkout is just one part of our long-term investment in shopping. We’re excited to introduce even more ways for people to enjoy shopping on Instagram this year.”
Instagram has also confirmed that it will be changing the prices of products and items to its customers. This suggests that Instagram wants the merchants to pay the fee in exchange for higher purchase conversion rates rather than forcing users to pay a convenience fee for buying through the app.
From a marketer’s point of view, measuring metrics would become considerably easier. The primary thing that any brand looks at while measuring the success of a campaign is mainly engagement. With customers and followers saying something nice about their product is or how many likes and shares and the number of comments a post receives. Currently, the goal is to convert this kind of engagement into sales. But with this feature, the brand marketers will be able to immediately tell how many likes actually turned into sales.
Another minor mention in the release of the feature was that Instagram will not give out the details of the user to the retailers. This comes after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the current intention for the platform is to shift it towards a new, “privacy-focused” model. So, could this strict measure hamper the considerable growth of this feature?
Would you, as a brand, be okay with not knowing details about your customers?
Collaboration with influencers
Currently, Instagram’s marketing mostly focuses on branding and image association for brands than sales. But now, this can turn into a completely sales-driven advertisement model, even for influencers.
Also, the question lies if the influencers will be turned into affiliate marketers. Most of the campaigns now are now based on a blanket fee model for influencers. But this feature could mean that brands can start paying influencers via direct sales commissions. This could be plausible for micro and nano influencers than the meg influencers and celebrities.
This move comes as a straightforward fit on a platform where the aesthetic reigns supreme and influencers have had a surprising amount of power on users spend their day on the app. It’s also a natural next step for a platform that has somehow combined all the features that come with social media, marketing and now e-commerce.
What do you think about this exciting new development on Instagram? Will this new feature be a success and find its way to India too? This feature could be a hit or miss with brands but could definitely affect the likes of apps like Shopify. As a brand, would you be worried about its impact on your website? Do let us know what you think below in the comments section or visit our website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages to reach out to us.