Instagram has launched a new feature for the ability to make purchases directly on the platform without public announcement. So far, this innovation is available to some users, but the company plans to make it open to anyone who has an Instagram account. Thanks to this feature, a person can link his or her debit or credit card to a personal profile and then freely shop on the Instagram platform. Due to the lack of need to leave Instagram — go to another website and fill in personal data for making a purchase every time a user becomes interested in a particular product — many will view this social network as one of the largest, reliable and popular players in the world trade.
An Instagram spokeswoman reported that the payment function was under development and active testing, and for 2018 only a limited circle of partners could use it. However, at that time, only the possibility to make payments for booking appointments was available, which included restaurant reservations and pre-registration to the salon.
The Resy dinner booking app was one of the first to be connected to the Instagram system. Therefore, some pages are actively offering native payment for the booking. Moreover, the company reported that very soon, users will be able to order movie tickets without leaving the platform. Back in March 2017, Instagram confirmed its intention to launch a new feature that allows making payments within the system, however, the company never touched on the topic of native payments.
For 2018, payment settings were available to some users from the United States and the United Kingdom. But the most interesting point was that Instagram Payments are tightly connected with Facebook’s Payments rules.
The opportunity to make purchases on the Instagram platform, without going to additional sites, can become very convenient and gain great popularity among both users and brands represented on the network. Moreover, if companies can increase conversion rates, they will be more interested in ordering advertisements. Thus, a kind of vicious circle of mutual benefits will be formed since users will save time on filling in data for payment, brands will receive more orders, and Instagram will receive a large part of the revenue from paid advertising.
Back in 2013, Facebook first tried to introduce native commerce. It all ended with the company starting to use Messenger to conduct peer-to-peer payments, while the native payments for shopping remain in a closed beta version. News about whether Instagram will not implement peer-to-peer payments yet, however, the ability to add a credit or debit card is an essential promotional building block towards the introduction of this feature.
In 2018, there were suggestions that the payments option would be associated with “Shoppable Tags”. Instagram tested this feature, which is now actively used in 2016. It provided that the user could go through the tags to the brand website and buy a specific product. Thanks to this innovation, Instagram has established partnerships with BigCommerce and Shopify. This allowed attracting more people to the platform, as well as to start developing new shopping features that led the Instagram community to the opportunity to make purchases within the social network.
Instagram still doesn’t allow links to other sites to be added to the description, to ensure that users surf the platform continuously. However, the “Shoppable Tags” feature slightly changed the rules of the game as users became more likely to make impulsive purchases. In turn, this launched a new cycle — more and more brands began wanting to join Instagram. Although it did not bring the company direct income, willing to use paid advertising has become much more. Moreover, Instagram did not stop at this feature and continued to work on improving the entire system. Now the company is preparing to ensure that all Instagram users have the opportunity to make purchases without going to other sites.
Instagram is not the only company to see a promising future implementation of payments for shopping, as Snapchat also began to test native payments and checkout feature actively last winter.