Expert advice on the business of running a garment decoration company

In March, Instagram introduced a brand-new feature to its app, called Instagram Checkout. Consumers can now buy their favourite products without leaving Instagram, but there’s a catch: Instagram Checkout is currently only available for several leading global brands such as H&M, Zara, Michael Kors and a few others. It is, however, being seen as the next step in the Instagram strategy, where influence and social engagement is turned into sales. 

It works by simply attaching a checkout button to posts. Customers click and fill in their details once and they will be saved for future purchases. This will likely be a popular tool with customers as its an all-in-one checkout, where your customer information remains secure and purchases can be completed without going to an external site. Of course, there are limitations. This feature is said to require heavy investment and is only currently available to some of the world’s leading brands at a cost. 

The biggest drawback, however, is that customers effectively become Instagram’s customers, as they are using Instagram’s checkout, not the brand’s checkout. This could be problematic for businesses looking to manage their sales funnel and conversions as they will not be able to identify users, their behaviours or any complex information – they will only receive the basic order details.

While only big brands are involved at this early stage of development, who is to say that, in time, it won’t be introduced to all businesses using Instagram? UK businesses are already spending millions of pounds advertising on Instagram and engaging with influencers – the new checkout feature will offer another way of quantifying the impact of these investments.

The garment decoration industry is a highly visual one; companies using social media to sell their print and embroidery rely on imagery of previous work and case studies to push their business and their quality. If the Instagram Checkout were introduced for small businesses, it would be an ideal fit for our industry.

Andrew Langridge is from eTrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK.