Today, Instagram, a photo-sharing platform owned by Facebook Inc., announced that it started testing a feature that allows its users in the United States of America to shop directly for products from the app by adding a ‘checkout’ feature on items that are tagged for sale.
The move is considered to be in line with the plan of Facebook to monetize higher-growth units such as Instagram as News Feed, the centrepiece product of the company, struggles to generate fresh interest.
Instagram said that it has entered partnerships with over 20 brands, including H&M, Adidas, Michael Kors, and the booming cosmetic company of billionaire Kylie Jenner on the new feature, easing into a territory that is more familiar to retail giants such as Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
Under the new feature, Instagram users will be able to click on a product that is featured in a post and see its price. They can then click again to bring up an order form.
The users will be able to checkout later and choose to pay by Mastercard, Visa, Discover, PayPal, and American Express. Previously, Instagram allowed brands to link a post to their respective websites for the users to shop.
An analyst with Tigress Financial Partners, Ivan Feinseth, stated: “Facebook’s plans are to evolve Instagram and Messenger into robust e-commerce platforms where you can click on ads and buy the products.”
He added: “Facebook is also looking to incorporate payment processing and payment transfers over Messenger, further expanding its e-commerce and interactive capabilities.”
Instagram did not specify the financial details in the blog. It said that it would introduce a selling fee to help in funding transaction-related expenses.
Instagram said that it has over 130 million people tapping to reveal product tags in shopping posts every month. The figure is an increase from the 90 million last September.