Last year, Instagram enhanced its e-commerce capabilities with a dedicated space for shopping in the explore tab and its “shoppable posts”, redirecting consumers to a retailers’ website for purchase.
The Facebook-owned app has now launched “Checkout with Instagram”, a new feature could allow the platform to take its e-commerce quest to the next level and join the likes of Amazon as a personalised digital marketplace.
Perhaps one of the main indicators of success will be adoption rates among the so-called ‘DTC’ brands, including Glossier, Harry’s and Casper. These digital native brands have been giving both conventional retailers and social platforms cause for concern by bypassing third parties and, in some cases digital marketing, to succeed through ‘old fashioned’ techniques such as snail mail, and engage their loyal customer base.
What has worked about these traditional channels is the fact that they offer a different and more personalised experience for younger shoppers. The effort a brand has to go to for a direct mail campaign feels far greater than a simple automated message filling an inbox.
“Checkout with Instagram” has successfully launched itself with an exclusive group of brands who want to be at the very forefront of new shopping experiences. It represents a new journey to purchase that enables shoppers to go from regular social media activity, right to product discovery and purchase.
Whether it’s enough to move DTC brands back towards social platforms is yet to be seen, but if I were a betting person, this new update will certainly strike many brand managers as a far more scalable option in the long run than the tactics that have sustained their DTC image so far.
Instagram’s shift to e-commerce suggests a new source of revenue for the company and a new way to encourage users to enter their payment information, paving the way for Facebook to launch other paid-for services.