Instagram Forays Into Online Shopping With New ‘Checkout’ Feature

Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram on Tuesday, 19 March made a move into the potentially lucrative e-commerce industry by adding an option to buy products shown off in posts by selected brands.

A new "checkout" button for instant purchasing launched in a beta version of the app in the US with a limited number of businesses, according to the popular image-centric messaging service.

"We're introducing Checkout on Instagram," the Silicon Valley based division of Facebook said in an online post.

"“When you find a product you love, you can now buy it without leaving the app.” " - Instagram

Tapping the checkout button will allow shoppers to select options such as size or colour and then pay for items without leaving the Instagram app. Previously, people inspired to buy products featured in Instagram posts had to follow links to outside online shopping sites.

Information entered for an initial purchase will be stored for future use, according to Instagram.

It remains to be seen how people will feel trusting their payments information such as credit card details to a service owned by Facebook, which has been hit with waves of criticism for its handling of personal data.

Brands taking part in the checkout feature included Adidas, Burberry, Dior, H&M, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, and glasses retailer Warby Parker.

Facebook makes the bulk of its money from digital advertising, but has dabbled with e-commerce in the past.

It has pitched its Messenger service as a communications platform for shops or brands to connect with customers.

(Published in an arrangement with PTI)

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