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Earlier this year, Instagram rolled out its beta checkout mode, which allows users to shop directly from the platform rather than redirecting to a brand’s website.
San Francisco—Instagram is closer than ever to letting its users shop directly from the platform.

While consumers have been able to shop products featured on the social media channel since late 2016  through product tags that, upon clicking, lead to product information and a call-to-action “Shop Now” button that redirect to brands’ websites, Instagram has streamlined the process with its new checkout feature.

Checkout, which is currently in beta mode and only available in the United States, lets users buy directly without leaving Instagram. The feature launched in March with about 20 brands including Revolve, Nike, and Burberry.

With Checkout, clicking on a product tag brings up its usual product description and a “Checkout on Instagram” button that lets users input their address and payment information to complete the transaction. Those details are stored for future purchases, according to the company.

Notifications about shipment and delivery are also delivered through the platform.

The Checkout beta mode has been available continuously since March, unlike another shopping initiative Instagram announced—shopping directly from influencers, rather than having them tag the brands they’re wearing and provide details in captions. That feature was announced on April 30, but is no longer available, not even in past posts.

It’s likely the checkout feature will be more widely available soon, as Instagram has since launched its very own “Shop” account, highlighting various brands with an emphasis on small, independent businesses, including jewelry companies like Wwake (seen on the Shop channel below).

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Clearly, Instagram’s current focus is on e-commerce and, specifically, allowing consumers to shop without leaving the platform.

Brands interested in utilizing the checkout feature as it becomes more widely available can indicate so here.

Another issue Instagram is concerning itself with is online bullying and the posting of negative or harmful content, a subject of debate that has grown even more contentious with the recent posting of images of a murdered teenager after her death, which drew criticism for Instagram’s slow response to remove them.

Instagram responded yesterday by outlining a stricter policy for disabling accounts. It said on its website: “In addition to removing accounts with a certain percentage of violating content, we will also remove accounts with a certain number of violations within a window of time.”

More innocuously, Instagram has been toying with the idea of removing likes, allowing for an individual user to see the likes their posts receive but hiding them from their audience. The move comes after numerous surveys have indicated Instagram is particularly detrimental to users’ self-esteem above other social media channels, encouraging anxiety and depression.

The platform launched a test of its hidden like feature earlier this year in Canada, and this week rolled it out to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. It is not confirmed if the social media giant will go ahead with this approach or test it in the United States. 


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