Instagram tests in-app shopping with Kylie Cosmetics, Nike and Huda Beauty

Shopping on Instagram is about to change forever.

On March 19, the social platform announced in a blog post it was launching a beta shopping program with over 20 beauty and fashion brands, including direct-to-consumer players, in which it would test the ability to shop, check out and manage orders within the app. Prior to this, users could only swipe up on a product or image through Instagram Stories and be brought to a brand’s website in order to fulfill a purchase.

During the test, when a user taps on a “View the Product” button, they will see a “Checkout on Instagram” option rather than being taken to an e-commerce site. Once a person enters all of their information within Instagram (which can be saved for future purchases), they can buy directly and manage their orders in the app.

The feature will be rolled out over the course of the next few weeks to mobile users in the U.S. They will be able to check out products by brands including Adidas, Anastasia Beverly Hills, ColourPop, Huda Beauty, KKW Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics, Nike and Ouai Hair. It is worth noting that the brands included in the beta test are some of the most popular on Instagram. For example, Huda Beauty has over 34 million followers, Kylie Cosmetics has just under 20 million followers, and Nike has over 85 million followers. Businesses were selected based on their adoption and performance of shopping on Instagram, according to Paige Cohen, a spokesperson for Instagram. Additionally, Instagram tried to choose brands that reflected a wide variety of products and price points.

The new beta is a significant evolution for a brand that began as a photo-sharing app with an ad-supported revenue model. As Instagram becomes an all-in-one social media-meets-shopping platform, Cohen said the platform will charge a “small fee” to businesses selling through the platform, which will fund programs and products that make checkout possible. That includes credit card processing costs and other transaction-related expenses, she said, but declined to provide further specifics.

Instagram has been on a roll with the launch of several new shopping-related features. In September 2018, the platform added product tags to Instagram Stories through a feature called Explore, as well as the ability to save posts to a “Shopping Collection” to revisit later. It also added product tags to videos, as part of a release dubbed Profile, in November 2018. According to Instagram, as of February 2019, more than 130 million users tap to reveal product tags in shopping posts every month data. That’s up from 90 million in September 2018.

“Removing as much friction from the shopping experience as possible to make it a truly native shopping experience for users is a key part of the plan,” said Matt Navarra, a social media consultant. “This development will allow an end-to-end purchasing flow, which will likely increase sales for brands already attempting to drive sales on the platform.”

Jen Atkin, founder of Ouai echoed these sentiments. “So many customers find us on Instagram and refer back to our profile to learn about our products,” she said. “Without having to change our approach to organic content, which relies heavily on user-generated content and inspirational imagery, it’s now seamless for our followers to buy something they love at the moment of inspiration.”

For its part, Outdoor Voices plans on using this new feature to gather “deeper insight” into what is resonating with its community and how it can amplify its brand ethos of blurring the line between “having fun and working out,” said Kevin Harwood, Outdoor Voices vice president of technology.

This will not be the only shopping feature Instagram debuts in 2019, according to the company, though it declined to elaborate further. There have been longstanding rumorsthat Instagram is building out a standalone shopping app, Navarra pointed out.

https://digiday.com/?p=326591
Digiday Top Stories
  • Member Exclusive
    ‘It is all DTC now’: VCs are eager to strike deals again

    In March, the fundraising environment for direct-to-consumer startups was “downright frozen,” as Michael Duda, managing partner at hybrid accelerator agency and venture capital fund Bullish, put it. Now, March seems like a lifetime ago. Over the past six months, many direct-to-consumer startups in categories ranging from home improvement, health and wellness and food have struck […]

  • Member Exclusive
    DTC brands are rethinking their ‘never-go-on-sale’ rule

    DTC startups who have prided themselves on either never offering sales, or only offering them on Black Friday, are throwing their playbooks out the window.

  • Member Exclusive
    After record sales, DTC startups are focusing on retention

    Retention is an important focus for DTC startups year-round. But, with many customers buying some types products online for the first time during the pandemic, DTC startups have a unique opportunity to convince those first-time customers to stick with e-commerce.

  • Member Exclusive
    By being too customer-obsessed, DTC startups are failing their retail employees

    Despite their affinity for shirking traditional retail practices, there's one thing that direct-to-consumer brands can't shake off entirely: the belief that the customer is always right.

  • Member Exclusive
    A domino effect: How USPS delays may hurt e-commerce startups

    Every e-commerce business, from mom-and-pop shops all the way up to Amazon rely on the USPS in some way, Now, service delays threaten to destroy one of the backbones of e-commerce