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If you think about it, the changes that e-commerce has seen over the last two decades are beyond extraordinary. With the introduction of Amazon and eBay in the late 90s, to the digital marketplaces that are utilized in countless apps and websites, e-commerce is evolving right in front of our eyes. With consumers expecting immediacy as a standard in today’s market, platforms and brands are having to take new approaches to make sure the purchasing experience is user-friendly and quick.

Instagram has recognized the importance of being able to purchase goods and services in one place, and is currently testing their “Checkout” feature. This newest feature allows users to shop and make purchases within the actual app itself. When Instagram introduced ‘Shopping Tags’ in 2016, users had to go to the brand’s website to actually make the purchase. Now, In-stream payment allows for a quick and easy way to purchase and stay on the app. This not only allows users to stay in the Instagram environment, but it also allows brands to strategically advertise and promote other products.

Like most new major features, Instagram will roll this out slowly giving Checkout access to 23 brands including Adidas, Burberry, H&M, Nike, and Warby Parker, so they can test and learn.

Besides the fact that users can purchase within the actual app, there are several other benefits that make Checkout feature worth it:

  1. Your payment information will now be stored by Instagram automatically after your first purchase.

  2. Users will also be able to track purchases from the ‘Orders’ tab, with push notifications being available to aid in tracking from shipment all the way to delivery.

Marketers can also benefit from Checkout. After a purchase is made, users will be given the option to provide their email address for the seller to have for marketing purposes. Instagram has said that even though purchases through the app may provide less information than if purchased on the actual website, they will still be able to provide valuable information on the sales that it generates for the respective merchant.  

And why? With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram is able to benefit brands through its visual nature, which in return leads to product discovery. In a recent study conducted by Facebook, they asked 21,000 Instagram users in 13 different countries what Instagram helped them the most with. 83% claimed that it helped them find new products. 81% said it helped them with the research that they did for new products and services, while 80% said it helped them make a decision on whether or not they wanted to purchase a specific product or service. (Social Media Today)