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Facebook Launches Shopping on Instagram and Introduces a Dilemma for Retailers

Instagram Shopping (retina)

Amazon sells things, Google lets people find things, Uber moves things, and Facebook connects people — but now, Facebook is going to try to sell things via Instagram Checkout on top of all these connections.

Facebook was about connecting people, I agree, and that recent blitz of nationally-televised ads did make me feel warm and fuzzy — but the launch of Instagram Checkout should be viewed by retailers with a skeptic’s eye.

Facebook launched Instagram Checkout saying that its goal was to build a better experience for users to shop directly on Instagram. What they didn’t share is that this is a step further in the direction of Facebook’s all-out war against Google and Amazon to become the “starting point for all things.”

In other words, it’s the age-old battle of the titans of the internet — from the dial-up days with AOL to Yahoo’s categorized listing to Google’s beautifully simple open query box. The new frontier is the battle for your mind, attention, and dollars in mobile.

The dilemma that retailers must now wade through is centered on whether they are willing to be disintermediated and have their customers’ start and finish their shopping journeys through Facebook and Instagram, or whether these retailers want to be their customers’ starting point and have customers buy from their sites and apps directly.

To continue reading, check out my article on Business Insider for further insight on how disintermediation is Facebook’s commerce strategy, what the implications are for retailers, and how the model where advertisers pay for true performance is one of the future.

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