There’s a lot of buzz being generated around Instagram’s checkout beta announcement: They’re going to let you buy products you find on Instagram, right within Instagram.
We think anything that can make it easier for consumers to go from inspiration to transaction is a great step forward in improving shopping experiences online. But the real reason we’re excited about this is that this just further emphasizes how important “discovery” is for consumers.
The story behind the story, isn’t a checkout button on Instagram. Afterall, in 2017 Pinterest, too, launched “Buyable Pins” to capitalize on the product intent happening on that platform, and we have experimented with Buy Buttons via AmazonPay, as well. The real story is that enough people are engaging with shopping posts on Instagram for Instagram to feel like experimenting with a checkout button is worthwhile.
And that’s because, at their core, people enjoy discovering new things. It’s foundational to shopping.
Instagram and Pinterest—each in their own ways—do a great job of creating opportunities for people to explore and discover. The path from discovery to purchase, though, can take time. Discovery, in fact, often happens long before a person has any intention of buying. However, these discovery moments often plant the seed in a person’s mind, enabling a product to enter into a consumer’s consideration set for purchase later.
But the vast majority of ecommerce sites—the places where people actually transact—are pretty bad at making it easy for people to experience the joy of discovering their next great find. Brands, in a sense, are outsourcing discovery to social.
But they can’t afford to do that. As vast as social’s reach is, today, it accounts for just a fraction of the traffic, and an even smaller portion of the revenue, a typical ecommerce site receives. For at least the next three to five years, the vast majority of a typical ecommerce site’s traffic will continue to come from sources other than social.
The real discussion we should be having is, given that social has validated how much consumers enjoy discovery, why aren’t we doing more to foster discovery in ecommerce?
This underlies everything we work on at Curalate. We’re trying to change how people discover and, in the process, create better shopping experiences online.
In 2018 alone, the 1,100+ brands we work with created over 700MM discovery experiences for their consumers. Less than 10% of these experiences came as a result of our Like2Buy solution, the original shoppable Instagram solution, and the vast majority of the discovery we create now happens on ecommerce sites, in apps, in email, and more.
Ecommerce isn’t going away. And consumers’ desire to discover isn’t reducing. The most forward-looking brands have realized that, as consumers increasingly shop online, the key to making those shopping experiences amazing will be discovery.