The test builds on Checkout, the Instagram feature the platform announced last month that lets a shopper complete her transaction without leaving the social network.

Facebook Inc.-owned Instagram on Tuesday announced that starting next week it will launch a test that lets influencers create shoppable posts on its platform. The test aims to leverage influencers’ ability to drive consumers to make a purchase.

The test builds on Checkout, the Instagram feature the platform announced last month it is testing  that lets a shopper complete her transaction without leaving the social network. When a consumer taps on a product tag within an image to view the product detail page, she will see “Checkout on Instagram.”

The test enables influencers to tag the items from brands participating in the Checkout test in their posts. They can also add details in the caption, as well as respond to comments and direct messages. When a consumer taps the tagged item, he can check out on the platform.

“No matter when people are inspired, we are committed to making the shopping experience simple, convenient and secure,” Instagram writes in a blog post. “This is yet another important step in our shopping journey and we’ll continue to listen to feedback from our community on how we can make the experience even better.”


The tool will reduce friction, says makeup artist and influencer Camila Coelho.

“My followers are always asking in comments and DMs [ed: direct messages] about what brands I’m wearing or where to buy certain pieces,” she says. “Shopping tags will make it so much easier to give my followers the information they’re looking for with a single tap. The days of screenshotting, saving to your camera roll, and scavenger hunting to find my go-to products are gone.”

Instagram is testing the feature with a few dozen influencers and content sites, including Coelho, Kim Kardashian West, Nicole Warne, Refinery29 and Vogue. A little more than two dozen retailers are involved in the Checkout test, including Nike Inc., No. 34 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, eyewear retailer Warby Parker, No. 162, and apparel retailer Zara, No. 26.

Retailers should take note of the move, says Jon Reily, vice president, global commerce strategy lead at digital marketing firm Publicis Sapient.


“If a user can just click a button on Facebook or Instagram to purchase a product without having to enter billing and shipping information retailers are sure to make far more sales,” he says. “This is also a huge win for Facebook since by controlling the entire process from the first click to the last it is able to gain valuable measurement detail to apply to its ads business, which right now is 99% of its revenue. This feature is sure to grow quickly and retailers should absolutely integrate this into their mid-term strategy as one more way to reach customers without having to involve Amazon.”

Instagram announced the test at Facebook’s F8 developer conference.

In other F8 news, Facebook announced that it is giving Marketplace, its ecommerce service, an upgrade. Consumers who sell goods on Marketplace will soon be able to take payment directly through Facebook, including shipping costs, the company said. Today, people who sell goods have to arrange payment outside of Facebook, though they can do so via Facebook’s messaging app, Messenger.

PayPal Holdings Inc. will process payments for purchases made directly inside Marketplace, according to a company spokesperson. That’s the same payments partner Facebook’s Instagram is using to process in-app purchases. Facebook also says it is considering charging sellers a fee for facilitating these deals.


“We are evaluating a selling fee that is in line with competitive platforms to help cover payment processing and programs such as purchase protection,” a spokesperson says.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.