Instagram began testing its in-app Checkout capabilities in the United Kingdom on Monday (June 28), a step forward for the social media company’s eCommerce aspirations, allowing consumers to purchase products using Facebook Pay without leaving the app.
California-based Instagram, which has been owned by Facebook since 2012, said this is a “very early test” in the U.K. with 10 businesses, including women’s clothing shop Oh Polly, which has four million followers; fashion brand In the Style, which has over three million followers; and sneaker shop size?, which has one million followers.
The company said it doesn’t have a specific timeline for when other businesses will have access to Checkout because it wants to take time to “test and learn so we can offer the best purchase experience for shoppers and sellers.”
“It will take time to get it right before we expand to more brands,” Jordanna Whayman, product marketing manager at Facebook, told PYMNTS.
Instagram Shop, an “in-app shopping destination,” launched in the U.S. in July, and Facebook has global ambitions for the feature. The company introduced in-app Checkout in the U.S. the following month; Instagram said the current stateside focus is onboarding new businesses to Checkout and helping them use it with customers.
Shopping is “an important interest” to the Instagram community, the social media company said, with over 90 percent of people following a business through the app. However, just over 26 percent of U.S. Instagram users made social commerce purchases in 2020, according to eMarketer, a share that is expected to rise to 30 percent next year but remain stagnant through 2025 as social commerce “reaches a saturation point.” Approximately 32.4 million U.S. Instagram users are social commerce buyers.
Facebook has spent months trying to make it easier for content creators to make digital Instagram shops, allowing them to add shops on their personal accounts and link merchandise from companies. The company is also looking to make it possible for users to get paid for promoting products via an affiliate tool, allowing Instagram creators to earn commission by recommending products to followers.
Facebook spent much of the pandemic using eCommerce offerings to draw in new customers as well as creating new monetization tools for content creators to compete with rivals Snapchat and TikTok, the latter of which saw massive growth in 2020.
The big blue social media giant in April also announced a marketplace for matching brands with creators whose content fits the market they’re aiming for.