How Instagram’s New In-App Checkout Will Impact Social Selling

Instagram has had quite the year. Last June, the social media giant announced it has one billion worldwide users. It also launched a new feature, IGTV, Instagram’s answer to YouTube. You can download the app or use it within Instagram itself. Like TV, IGTV has channels and anyone can create one, up to an hour-long and shot vertically. Let the constant watching of dog videos begin!

But, as big as those announcements are, the most significant new feature debuted on Instagram is the launch of “shoppable media,” which, considering those billion users worldwide, is poised to be a catalyst for e-commerce growth.

It started with shoppable posts, which rolled out one year ago. It’s a feature that allows brands to tag their products within posts. Imagine you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and come upon a photo of a living room. It could be posted by a major home store or an influencer or another third party. Like that pillow on the couch? With a few clicks, you can buy it. Then, we saw the debut of shoppable stories stickers, basically the same thing within stories.

These features have had a great impact on sales for retailers. According to, brands who adopted early reported a nearly 1,500 percent spike in traffic and a 20 percent increase in revenue since the rollout. Yep, huge.

And now, Instagram is offering consumers the opportunity to check out directly inside the app. Instagram is a visual platform, with many of its influencers excelling in some form of aesthetic, whether it’s photography, fashion, interior decorating, food and so much more. When users see a product they just have to get, there are now fewer barriers to purchase.

So, what does this mean for e-commerce, and how can your business get in on it? Here are a few things to consider:

Who are the merchants?

In-app checkout launched with a beta program consisting of 20 brands and is currently available in over 40 countries. Will it eventually be available for small businesses of the world as well? Could it become the new Etsy for home crafters? Can anyone and everyone set up a stand in this online bazaar? Or will they be required to have a business account?

Depending on the evolution of the in-app checkout, current influencers and DIYers with large followings could see increased opportunities for affiliate sales. Instead of users only being able to purchase from a brand’s Instagram profile, what if a brand’s affiliates could also offer the opportunity to purchase directly from Instagram? Suddenly, your e-commerce store could become a lot bigger.

What about security?

But, how is Instagram going to ensure the trustworthiness of the merchants if they’re not big, established brands but, say, the small essential oils merchant whose newest scent is breaking the internet? Facebook (which owns Instagram) is limiting the field to merchants who sell physical products that fit its privacy policy. You set it up with Facebook, and it’s pushed to IG.

It will be important for e-commerce retailers to watch feedback from consumers about the in-app checkout experience and security features. While it can be critical to adapt to new digital offers at lightning speed, it’s also critical to ensure that the channel where you conduct sales is credible and trustworthy. It’s not a bad idea to proceed with caution.

Who will benefit the most?

Sure, big brands like Gap and Nordstrom have already optimized their Instagram feeds for shopping, but it will be the smaller brands and businesses that stand to gain the most from this.

How can partner marketing help your business?

Here’s the big question. Instagram has the highest engagement rate of any social media site, so the opportunities are huge. The key is finding the right affiliates, or influencers, who fit with your brand, whose promotions of your products make sense.

Though Instagram’s in-app checkout hasn’t yet rolled out to the masses, you can get a head start by making sure your partner program is already performing to get you the results you’re looking for.

Finding the right partners that align with your brand is what we do at iAffiliate Management. We create strategic partnerships, which is why our affiliate management solutions are recommended by today’s leading brands. Contact us today to talk about tailoring a program to fit your needs.