Here at Colourcake, we talk a lot about the different touchpoints on a customer’s journey. You’ve got your website, your social channels, your billboards, your in-store activations and so on.
But in-app shopping and checkout technology may reduce that lengthy, convoluted user journey down to just a few touchpoints, and transform social platforms such as Instagram into e-commerce platforms.
This is what Instagram’s ‘Checkout on Instagram’ feature enables.
“ For Instagram, the benefits are threefold. ”
First of all, there’s a monetary incentive. Instagram charges brands a high 5% transaction fee for every purchase made through the platform. Instagram claims that this fee covers taxes and payment processing costs, while also helping to “fund other programs for a good buying and selling experience” - but it’s not difficult to imagine it as a huge money-maker for the platform in the near future as the function is rolled out to markets and brands outside of the US.
Secondly, it keeps users within the app. If users stay within the app, they’ll keep browsing, keep shopping and keep spending, especially if they enjoyed the seamless experience.
Thirdly (and this is the big one that’s slipping under the radar), it appears that Instagram currently maintains ownership of all of the data from the transactions made within the platform, and forbids brands from using that data to contact, retarget or market to users that have made purchases.
From a brand perspective, this can have a major impact on the customer journey, as they aren’t even allowed to send order or shipping confirmation emails - touchpoints which are often viewed as crucial for customer retention and satisfaction.
For consumers, in-app shopping and checkout technology will likely only smooth the customer journey further.
Imagine you’re scrolling through Instagram and you see an influencer posing in a cute skirt. You click on the image, and instead of redirecting you to a clunky mobile site, you’re taken to a checkout page within the app itself.
Even when you go to pay, you don’t find yourself trapped in Paypal redirect hell - you simply enter your payment and shipping details within the app (or, even better, it remembers your details from the last time you made a purchase) and voila!
Your cute new skirt is on its way and you can go back to your mindless scrolling.
So what are the benefits for brands?
- By selling directly through content creators and influencers, brands will be able to maximise their shoppable reach
- The effectiveness of influencers can be measured in more detail - rather than focusing on vanity metrics such as reach and likes, brands will be able to see the direct impact of influencer campaigns on conversions and purchases
- By keeping browsing, purchasing and payment all within one app, brands can hope to see a reduction in user journey friction for consumers and therefore higher conversion rates
With in-app shopping becoming more prevalent, not just on Instagram but on TikTok too, it looks like customer journies will be getting shorter and shorter.
For brands, this means fewer touchpoints - which means fewer marketing opportunities. Instead, they’ll have to double down on creating social content that not only looks good, but which drives conversions and encourages customers to make that all-important purchasing decision.
In a closed-loop social and shopping experience, content will need to be designed with this new dual purpose in mind.