Instagram isn’t just a social media platform anymore. The image-sharing platform is now trying its hand at e-commerce, rolling out a new feature called Checkout that will let users make purchases without ever leaving the app. Checkout was released within the US on March 19th , and 20 top brands – including Adidas, H&M, and Uniqlo – are already slated to begin selling through Checkout in the next 2 weeks. Instagram Checkout proves, once and for all, that the platform is serious about becoming a competitive online marketplace for social-savvy shoppers.
The roll-out also carries large implications for the retail industry. Instagram may be setting a new precedent for ecommerce agility with Checkout–– making customers’ path from initial inspiration to final purchase faster and more secure.
Removing friction points
Friction points kill profit in the retail business. When Instagram identified that its retailers were losing potential customers while websites were loading, they quickly responded by removing this largest friction point to purchase. Allowing customers to buy directly from their site will enable Instagram to reduce potential profit losses along the path to purchase. But Instagram isn’t the only retail operation with a page load time problem. Google found that while 53% of website users leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load , the average website actually has a 15-second load time –– meaning the majority of retailers are bleeding profits when consumers run out of patience with their websites.
Quick Tip: You can use marketing analytics to identify where your website, shoppable social media profiles, and mobile operations are losing social-savvy shoppers. Then you can take a page from Instagram’s book by removing the friction points to create a smoother (and more profitable) shopping experience.
Increased payment security
Modern customers have well-earned trust issues when it comes to where they share their credit card information. Checkout keeps users’ private information safe by allowing Instagram customers to securely save their payment information to the platform itself, so merchants can’t see customers’ card info when that checkout at individual stores. In this way, Instagram is also playing the part of payment arbiter–– becoming a trusted party that securely processes online transactions. This increased payment security may also encourage customers to make impulse purchases with less-known brands, effectively boosting the value of the pay-to-play Checkout feature for retailers who are considering the investment.
Quick Tip: Security is a big issue for online shoppers. A whopping 79 percent of customers are concerned about the security of their credit card information when paying digitally, and asking for customers’ credit card information is a last mile friction point that your business simply doesn’t need. Instead, consider accepting third party payment platforms such as PayPal or Apple Pay to get customers past the final hurdle.
Meeting delivery expectations
Instagram will soon be faced with the task of meeting the social-savvy shopper’s high expectations for fast and cheap order delivery. NRF reports that 75 percent of consumers expect free shipping, even on orders under $50 dollars . Instagram’s delivery team can rest assured that 81 percent of customers who want their orders shipped overnight are willing to pay for the convenience. While we still aren’t clear how Instagram will navigate customer demand for alternative delivery capabilities such as BOPIS, Instagram is already investing in order transparency. When customers make a purchase on Checkout, Instagram tracks the order, sending delivery updates as notifications within the app. Checkout also gives users the option to make returns, cancel orders in progress, or even request help throughout the delivery process.
Quick Tip: Customer expectations surrounding shipping continue to grow. To meet these expectations, invest in an order management solution that can reduce shipping times and give you the data you need to identify and eliminate unnecessary expenditures–– so you can give your customers the best ordering experience possible as you scale your business.
Bringing it all together
Instagram’s Checkout launch is the perfect example of a company using advanced supply chain analytics and real-time order visibility to erase the friction points along its customer’s path to purchase. The store of the future is frictionless and able to immediately respond to consumer demands, and now that social media platforms like Instagram are investing in e-commerce, real-time inventory insights have never been more crucial for retailers to be agile enough to respond to customer needs.
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