Is Instagram Checkout About To Change Both The Influencer And E-commerce Game?
Instagram has finally rolled out its in-app shopping features. In the past, businesses would need to set up an additional website and set the focus on linking their social media accounts with their chosen eCommerce platform, but Instagram has now taken steps to cut out the middleman and essentially transform into an eCommerce platform of its own.
The company recently revealed its “Checkout” feature that will allow users to purchase products directly from other users on the Instagram platform. Currently, only a couple of brands have been authorized to use the service and it’s still in a testing phase, but this does change the way social media platforms like Instagram can be used by eCommerce businesses.
Instagram’s Evolution From a Photo Sharing Platform
Instagram has mostly been used as a social media platform that, unlike other sites such as Facebook and Twitter, focuses mainly on visual elements such as pictures and videos. This caused a heavy influx of visual brands such as video creators, fashion brands and design specialists to join the platform.
To take advantage of this, Instagram used an ad-supported revenue model in the past in order to fund their growth, but with the introduction of their new shopping platform, Instagram now has a new way of profiting from its popularity while also offering users the option of selling their products directly to their audiences while cutting out the need for an eCommerce platform middleman.
Removing the Need for a Website? Perhaps Not Yet
Instagram’s attempt to cut out the need for an eCommerce platform is currently a double-edged sword. While it certainly does offer eCommerce brands a unique option to sell their products, it’s currently only limited to well-known existing brands such as Adidas, Zara and Uniqlo which are all clothing and fashion related. In addition, many lesser-known eCommerce brands will likely have established audiences on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter which will already be pointing to their website. With all of the integrated technologies and existing eCommerce platforms, it’s unlikely that we’re going to see a sweeping shift to Instagram checkout, but it will undoubtedly be an enticing option for eCommerce brands.
What it does offer for consumers is convenience. By purchasing directly from the brand in question from Instagram, it drastically increases the chances that a consumer will make that decision to make a purchase from Instagram instead of going over to a website first, adding to cart, signing up for an account and so on. Another advantage is being able to use influencers as a performance channel by using Instagram’s built-in analytics and tracking tools, meaning it becomes much easier for a smaller business to keep track of who their biggest influencers are and also optimize their approach to influencer marketing.
While we won’t see the game change completely, we’ll likely see many eCommerce brands taking greater advantage of influencer ties to Instagram and change their approach to the social media platform for advertising. However, in terms of how it affects other social media platforms and content channels, we likely won’t see much of a difference especially if the brand in question isn’t related to design or fashion.