Shopping made instant on Instagram

Instagram is making it a lot easier for people to buy things they like that come on their feed.

From now onwards people who decide to buy a product from Instagram will be able to pay for that product inside the app instead of leaving the Instagram to buy it on a retailer’s website.

Instagram will keep a small cut of the sale for facilitating the purchase, and is partnering with PayPal to process the payments.

The idea is simple: The fewer steps it takes to complete a purchase, the more likely people will complete the process.

Most people don’t like the idea of jumping from Instagram to the retailer’s website and then having to enter credit card and shipping info, it is too cumbersome.

That’s what Instagram hopes to solve with its new checkout feature. Users will have a credit card and shipping address stored on the app, which means purchases will require a few taps, not a few minutes.

Instagram isn’t just doing this out of concern for your online shopping woes. There are benefits to Instagram, too, including potential revenue.

The company will take a cut of each transaction, what it’s calling a “selling fee.” Instagram won’t say how much it’s going to take, but even a small fee could add to the company’s business growth — an incentive considering parent company Facebook’s revenue growth has been slowing.

Even if the fees don’t provide much at all, it’s likely Instagram will eventually let retailers promote these shopping posts (though they can’t at launch). If indeed people are more likely to buy thanks to the direct checkout feature, those ads could be lucrative.

Instagram product executive Ashley Yuki would love Instagram to become a de facto shopping destination: a service that brings you all the brands and personalization you want, but that doesn’t require you to download and navigate a bunch of different retailer apps.

“It drives me nuts that I have to download like 10 different retailer’s apps and can’t see them all cross-cut with each other the way I would at a mall if I was just walking around,” she said. “It just takes so much time. It’s not fun.”

Instagram recently started putting products inside the “explore” section of the app, where users can search for new people and brands to follow.

Yuki didn’t say yes to a standalone shopping app, but she didn’t say no, either.

“There are a lot of steps that come before you take that kind of step,” she said when asked, “especially in this world where people are already coming to Instagram in the existing product to shop.”

The new checkout feature will only work with a limited group of about 20 partner retailers and brands to start, including Burberry, Michael Kors, Nike, and Warby Parker. It will roll out to people in the US over the coming weeks.


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