Instagram tests way to let you buy products directly on the app
Queenie WongFormer Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
ExpertiseI've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art.Credentials
Buying an eyeshadow palette or a pair of sneakers you spot on Instagram is about to get easier if you're in the US.
Facebook-owned Instagram said Tuesday it's testing a feature called checkout that will allow users to buy a product without leaving the photo-sharing app. That means Instagram users don't have to go through the extra step of visiting a brand's site and entering their payment information there.
Instagram is testing the feature in the US and users can buy products from more than 20 brands including Adidas, H&M, Zara, Warby Parker, Revolve, Uniqlo and MAC Cosmetics.
Watch this: Instagram's Checkout feature lets you buy in-app
The move highlights how Instagram is trying to become more than just a place for its more than 1 billion users to browse through beautiful photos.
"Checkout is just one part of our long term investment in shopping," Instagram said in a blog post. "We're excited to introduce even more ways for people to enjoy shopping on Instagram this year."
To buy something on Instagram, users tap on a photo's "product tag" and are shown an option to "Checkout on Instagram." Users then enter their contact information, address and payment information to purchase a product. That information will be saved on Instagram for future purchases, and users manage their orders through the photo-sharing app.
The new feature also gives Instagram, which earns money from ads, another way to rake in revenue. During the test of the checkout feature, the company is charging brands a selling fee to help fund the checkout feature and offset credit card processing costs and other expenses. Instagram could also use a person's shopping history to show more targeted ads.
The feature's testing comes as Instagram faces competition from other sites, including social bookmarking site Pinterest, which also allows users to buy products from images they see on the platform. To succeed, Instagram needs to convince users they can trust Instagram with their payment information. Instagram is owned by Facebook, which has been plagued by a series of scandals over privacy and security.
Instagram is partnering with PayPal to process payments and the information is stored on secured servers. Instagram doesn't share a user's payment information with other users or credit and debit card information with sellers.
More than 130 million Instagram users tap on a shopping post every month to reveal product tags, according to the company.
The checkout feature will be available on the Instagram app for iPhone and Android, but isn't currently on desktop.