Instagram launched Checkout on Instagram this week, which makes it possible for users to buy products without leaving the app (before, users could click on a product, and would be directed to the retailer’s website to complete the purchase).
In other words, it’s all too easy to impulse-buy a new sweater or pair of heels off of Instagram. So if you’re trying to cut back on discretionary spending, there are a few steps you should take.
Instagram explained how the process works in a press release:
When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. Tap it to select from various options such as size or colour, then you’ll proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information and shipping address the first time you check out.
Once your first order is complete, your information will be securely saved for convenience the next time you shop. You’ll also receive notifications about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram, so you can keep track of your purchase.
Checkout is currently in beta, but brands offering it include Adidas, Balmain, Burberry, Dior, H&M, Kiley Cosmetics, NARS, Nike, Outdoor Voices, Warby Parker and Zara, among others.
Obviously, the app and partner brands are hoping that this makes the shopping process so seamless, you’ll be enticed to buy more products. And Kara Cutruzzula explains how easy it is for Money.com.
“In the interest of research, I took Checkout on Instagram for a spin,” she writes. “After 10 seconds on H&M’s Instagram, I saw a shirt I sort of liked, clicked through, and bought it for $17.99 [AU$25]. The whole process took 30 seconds.”
As she notes, your second purchase will be even quicker, because you won’t have to input your payment information. “It’s disturbingly easy to buy stuff on Instagram,” she writes.
So, how can you avoid the temptation to buy during a late night scroll fest or after a couple of glasses of wine?
Unfollow your favourite brands
One way is to unfollow all of the brands who currently offer Checkout within the app, much as you’d unsubscribe from retailer emails, or avoid going to the mall in person. You don’t want to have the temptation presented directly to you.
This works on a second level, as Cutruzzula explains. If you see a shirt you like, for example, and click on it but don’t buy it, it will still follow you around the internet. “We are particularly likely to buy products that follow us around and linger,” she writes.
“It’s the reason why brands pay for those stalker ads that keep appearing online after you look at an item once. The creepy becomes the familiar — and then becomes the next package dropped off on your doorstep.”
But unfollowing brands makes it infinitely harder to see their products and click on their pages.
Save products for later
Another option is to save products for consideration on a later date by using Instagram’s bookmark feature. I use this personally: I have a bunch of different saved albums I use for inspiration, and one for “products.”
I tend to find when I look back through the album at a later date I’m not actually tempted to buy the item I’ve saved. By curbing the impulse to buy something in the moment, you may very well prevent an unnecessary purchase altogether.
Of course, Checkout makes it easy to save products on a retailer’s page. When you click a product, scroll down and you’ll see other options you can save for later.
And by the way: if you do make an impulse purchase, you can cancel it on Instagram within 30 minutes, according to Instagram.
To cancel your order:
Go to your Orders.
Tap the order you want to cancel.
Scroll down and tap Cancellations.
Select a reason and tap Cancel Order.
“If you love Instagram, limit your scrolling to cute animal photos and images of beachside margaritas,” writes Cutruzzula. “Because it’s probably only a matter of time before you can buy those with one tap, too.”