Instagram, if e-commerce will become history

Michele Caprini
25 Mar 2019

Instagram, in the vast sea of social media, is a sort of way of life. A billion monthly active users worldwide, half of which post on their stories daily, which are available for 24 hours.

The business

The current amount of advertisers number in the millions and business accounts in the tens of millions. It is the primary diffusion method for fashion, both direct and indirect. For Generation Z and millennials, visual experiences and the vast number of influencers, play a fundamental role in their lives. Yet, Instagram grows more important for other sectors, especially for cars and food.

Born in 2010, it was already bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1b USD. Today it is worth $35b USD. With this growth and amount of possibilities, Instagram’s role in e-commerce has been thought about many times.

Due to this, Instagram already approached the shopping theme through its explore section, with hashtags and stories (already 2 million advertisers are using this format). To truly purchase a product, users had to leave the platform and entrust themselves to outside websites. Given the 130 million interactions with these adverts, according to official data; this is an opportunity too large to neglect.

The project

The decision for a pilot is born here. A “checkout on Instagram” button will feature for users as they tap on the related post of a brand which is participating in this test, which are currently limited to the Unites States. This will allow consumers to view the product and then browse different purchasing options for the product before buying it. 

Data fields asking for personal information will be filled and then memorised by Instagram for any future use. Payment will be done with the main credit cards and PayPal. Clients will also be then sent an order modification and tracking email.

The brands

For now, the brands involved in the project are about 20 such as: Dior, Adidas, Prada, Nike, H&M, Uniqlo, Zara. Instagram’s Communications expert, Paige Cohen, has confirmed that in the future other brands will be added and that the company’s aim is to expand the function overseas.

The most important novelty lies in the possibility to directly purchase on Instagram itself. Purchasing will be possible as users scroll through media or watch stories. Given the characteristics of Instagram, nothing is more probable that through direct e-commerce, even sale of publicity will benefit.