Facebook makes it easier for brands to sell in Instagram

Facebook announced a new “checkout” feature for Instagram Tuesday morning, making it possible for people to shop some brands directly within the app.

“People no longer have to navigate to the browser when they want to buy,” said Facebook in a blog post announcing the new service. “And with their protected payment information in one place, they can shop their favourite brands without needing to log in and enter their information multiple times.”

People can pay with Visa, Mastercard, American Express and PayPal, and will be able to save their shipping address and preferred payment option in the app to make the buying process as simple as possible.

Facebook said that 20 brands will be the earliest adopters of the new service while it is still in beta. They include Nike, Adidas, H&M, Kylie Cosmetics, MAC Cosmetics, Uniqlo, Revolve, Warby Parker and Zara. Facebook will pocket a small fee for each transaction.

Other brands will be able to start selling through Instagram once the program expands, and will have the option of working with e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor and CommerceHub.

Facebook has made a number of changes to Instagram in an effort to improve connections between users and brands, including product tags and stickers. “As we’ve continued to invest in shopping, we’ve heard feedback from our community that they want to do even more. When they get that spark of inspiration, people want to do what’s right for them, whether it’s saving a product for later, sharing it with a friend for feedback, or buying it then and there,” said the company in today’s announcement.

Here’s how the move was being covered early today:

  • “From a consumer perspective, we’re out to build a complete shopping experience. People were already shopping on Instagram… They were just having a hard time doing it,” Instagram’s head of product, told the Wall Street Journal, which pointed out that purchase data will also represent another new source of data “to further refine the content and ads people see on the platform.”
  • “I love shopping, and it sucks on mobile,” Ashley Yuki, the Instagram exec in charge of shopping told Recode. In most cases there are too many steps, from having to link out to the retailer’s website to entering payment and shipping information. “I think people abandon [shopping] flows now. I know I do. You just kind of give up.”
  • “Instagram hopes that allowing people to complete their purchases inside the app will inspire them to shop more—and to create a big new business for parent company Facebook,” wrote Casey Newton at Verge. “For now, payment information stored with Facebook will only be used on Instagram. But it’s easy to imagine Facebook letting you use your credentials elsewhere in its family of apps.





David Brown