Instagram’s checkout feature, which allows users to purchase products without leaving the app, has become an even more important part of Facebook’s long-term investment in e-commerce now that the pandemic has so heavily skewed consumer behavior towards online shopping. When Instagram introduced checkout in 2019, it reported that 130 million users were tapping to reveal product tags in shopping posts every month.

image credit: Instagram

Business owners who operate an existing store can extend their audience to Instagram by funneling orders from the social network into their own stores, without shoppers having to leave Instagram. Checkout supports integration with several e-commerce platform partners, including Shopify and BigCommerce, and will soon be available for WooCommerce merchants.

WooCommerce is testing a new Instagram Shopping Checkout feature for its Facebook for WooCommerce plugin. The free extension is used on more than 900,000 websites and will provide the bridge for store owners who want to tap into Instagram’s market. The checkout capabilities are currently in closed beta. Anyone interested to test the feature can sign up for consideration. Businesses registered in the USA that meet certain other requirements may be selected to participate, and the beta is also expanding to other regions soon.

WooCommerce currently supports shoppable posts, which are essentially products sourced from a product catalog created on Facebook that are then linked to the live store through an Instagram business account. Instagram’s checkout takes it one step further to provide a native checkout experience inside the app. Merchants pay no selling fees until December 31, 2020. After that time, the fee is 5% per shipment or a flat fee of $0.40 for shipments of $8.00 or less. 

On the customer side, shoppers only have to enter their information once and thereafter it is stored for future Instagram purchases. Instagram also pushes shipment and delivery notifications inside the app. Store owners will need to weigh whether the convenience of the in-app checkout experience is worth forking over 5% to Facebook, or if they prefer funneling users over to the live store instead.

Instagram Shopping Checkout is coming to WooCommerce in the near future but the company has not yet announced a launch date, as the feature is just now entering closed beta.

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