Earlier in May, photo and video sharing app Instagram quietly launched an in-app shopping feature. With more than a million advertisers and 25 million businesses on Instagram, the Facebook-owned app is rolling out a new feature of fasting shopping for select users. It allows them to enter payment details into the app, along with a PIN for extra security. The new tool can be found in profile settings under “payment settings.”
Once the set-up is complete, there are opportunities, albeit few at this early stage, to use the feature to make advance payments for bookings at places like salons. Instagram also has a plan to expand the feature for other use-cases such as booking movie tickets.
Trevor Mogg of TechCrunch says that weaving commerce into social media apps offers potentially huge rewards for companies behind the apps, as well as those with products to sell. With more than 80% of its 800 million plus users following a business on the social network, there is a major market for Instagram to build out its shopping services to, potentially drawing in more advertising and boosting revenue.
Expanding Payments to Instagram Stories
There are also plans to expand mobile shopping in Instagram to stories, having originally only be restricted to the Feed section. When users are on Instagram, a sticker will appear with a shopping bag icon on it. From there, users can tap on the sticker to reveal further details about the product in question. The measures were inspired by a study that showed that users were known to keep up with familiar brands and access to inside information about upcoming products through Instagram Stories.
“From Adidas and Aritzia to Louis Vuitton, people have been able to shop from their favorite brands around the world, and now you can shop these businesses in Instagram Stories,” according to an Instagram press release. “Shoppers on Instagram are savvy. They visit Instagram looking for the latest trends and styles. With 300 million using Instagram Stories everyday, people are increasingly finding new products from brands they love.”
Instagram has benefited the user by not only giving the end user access to insider information on companies and products, but also the ability to act upon that inside information. Such a move improves value for those who set up sponsorship on the site. Businesses can shorten the gap between coming in contact with a product and making it available for the customers, improving the likelihood of completing the transaction.
The Bottom Line
In app shopping services are valuable to both businesses and the end users, the former because of the opportunity for advertising potential and revenue, the latter because of the convenience of getting the latest information and being able to instantly act on said information. By introducing shopping to Instagram Stories, Instagram hopes to take advantage of the as-of-yet untapped market of 300 million users. With shoppers having direct access to purchase from the app, and with an opportunity for businesses to reach customers, it is a story where everyone wins.