The social media behemoth announced a new feature Tuesday that allows users to shop directly on the app without being redirected to an advertiser’s website to complete a transaction.
Aptly named Checkout, the product is currently in beta and already has a growing roster of 20 beauty and fashion brands on board. Instagram plans to include Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian’s beauty brands, which each have amassed huge followings on the platform. Fashion offerings will range from Zara and H&M on the more affordable end, to Balmain and Dior on the higher end.
Users are required to enter their shipping and billing information only the first time they buy something, and Instagram will save it for future purchases.
The feature means it’s now easier than ever to spend time ― and money ― on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
It’s a natural fit on a platform where the aesthetic reigns supreme and influencers have a stifling amount of power over the 53 average minutes per day users spend on the app. It’s also a natural next step for a platform that has straddled the line between social media and advertising, introducing and teasing various shopping developments over the past few years.
A brand that keenly understands and capitalizes on that power is Revolve, one of the first brands to sign on to Checkout.
“At our core, Revolve aspires to create a seamless, elevated shopping experience for our customer,” Ryan Pabelona, director of performance marketing for Revolve, said in a blog posted by Instagram. “With Instagram’s new checkout interface, we’re able to better serve our millennially minded audience by providing a new, fast and easy purchase method on a platform where they are already engaging with our content and discovering our products.”
But, as with nearly everything on social media, Checkout isn’t just an altruistic move to make shopping easier. Instagram is charging businesses an undisclosed “selling fee,” according to TechCrunch. That suggests the company is putting the cost of the convenience on merchants.
Targeted ads already run rampant on Instagram stories, in feeds and on influencers’ pages. An analyst who follows Facebook predicts ads on Instagram stories alone will bring in more than $2 billion in sales this year.
And now, if the only thing standing in the way of you purchasing that Zara jacket you’ve been coveting is the hassle of taking out your credit card and entering your information on its website, you’re about to have a new Zara jacket.