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Retail Innovation: Social Shopping

As we continue with our Q2 Theme of Innovation, Instagram launches a new beta feature which is tipped to be one of the biggest commerce changes of the decade.

Remember when Instagram launched their “Tap To Shop” feature back in 2017? Today, over 130 million users per month tap for those details so they can find out how to buy the product featured in the image.

Well, Instagram has harnessed the shopping power which that data implies and has announced a beta launch of their new Instagram Checkout which will be rolled out in America as of now with some of the world’s most well known brands including Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Nike, Kylie Jenner, Adidas and H&M. The beta brands are incredibly varied which makes for interesting speculation. It’s clear that the brands who are launching the Insta-Checkout are the ones who are pushing the frontier of digital innovation in order to have their customers associate their brands with technology.

We have previously spoken about how in order to succeed as a brand, you need to be where your customer is at all times. With the growing power of Instagram and its influencers, this is a game changing piece of technology. Of the 130 million users who tapped to see the product details, how many do you think actually make it to the website to add to bag, go through cart and finally checkout? While no statistics for that conversion rate have been officially released, a quick sweep around our office told us that most of our team use Instagram, a handful of MindArcians click “tap to shop”, only two people click through to the website and neither of those have ever converted to a sale.

*Image courtesy of The Verge

Instagram has closed that gap by introducing the checkout, which stores the users payment method to their account which means a few things for your business.

This now allows you to target impulse buyers. The shoppers who, at the supermarket, grab a chocolate bar as they’re loading up the conveyor belt at the checkout when they decide they have a sudden sugar craving which needs to be fulfilled. The shoppers who quickly succumb to the $5 tote bag at the checkout when asked if they want to buy a bag. These are the shoppers who scroll past an image on their feed, love the dress in the post and are immediately overcome with a sudden, uncontrollable need to own said dress.

*Image courtesy of The Verge

This is actually a win-win situation for both businesses and customers. For Instagram users, this is a fantastic way to allow a quick and painless checkout which removes all points of friction which are typically associated with clicking through to a website, finding the item, so on and so forth. For businesses, the same benefit of removing the points of friction is applicable because those points are usually the things which lose the business the sale.

While we’re still unsure how much % per sale Instagram will take, a lot of brands will see this as a worthwhile investment to retain customer interest and engagement at the first point of contact.

For Facebook and Instagram as businesses, they have already indicated that this is just the start of their foray into the world of commerce. Facebook owns a network of apps already, including instant messaging app WhatsApp, and there are rumours swirling about a Facebook crypotcurrency.

Our team will be digging for merchant specific details, such as shipping and payment methods as well as how stock is managed and handled and while nothing is confirmed, one thing is for sure and that is that the landscape of eCommerce is set for another set of changes.

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