Facebook-owned Instagram, over the past few years, has worked to go beyond being just a photo sharing platform to become a place for commerce as well. The platform already opened its doors to brands that are allowed to display their items on the platform. However, to buy the items, users were directed to the brand’s website.
Now, it seems, the company does not want users to leave the platform even for making a purchase. Instagram has now introduced a payment system, which as of now is visible to some users in the U.S. and the UK, according to TechCrunch. In March 2017, Instagram first announced to was coming up with the “ability to book a service with a business directly from their profile later this year.” However, nothing came out then.
Currently, the payment feature supports booking appointments and making reservations. Since it’s a limited roll-out, the Instagram payment system lists only a few partners such as Resy, a dinner reservation service. Going forward, the Instagram payment system will surely be added to more categories provided all things go well in the testing phase. According to TechCrunch, a click on the terms of service reveals that the Instagram payment system is backed by Facebook’s Payments rules.
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A native payment system will ensure that users stay on the platform for longer. Further, an Instagram payment system would give brands a new reason to advertise on the app. Through the platform, brands might get higher conversion rates as people are less prone to quit on their way to checkout while filling in their payment info.
Instagram recently announced that over 80% of its 800 million plus users are following a business on the social network. Such a massive user base is a good enough reason for the photo sharing site to design its own shopping services to attract more advertisers and boost revenues further.
For users, a native payment system means they would be able to make the transaction more conveniently. With payment details already stored, users can make a quick purchase involving lesser steps. Shoppers would also be able to get hold of their purchase records from multiple merchants in just a few clicks.
So, the integration of commerce into the social media apps is a win for all involved parties – the platform, buyers and sellers. This is the reason why Snapchat also recently started offering businesses the opportunity to sell products directly from a Snapchat filter.
Separately, several new features have made their way to Instagram lately to make the platform even more useful. One of the updates is to Instagram Stories, which would be integrated directly to other apps such as Spotify and GoPro. Users now would be able to post the songs or the pictures they just shot on GoPro.
Instagram Stories would be accessible under the share option in Spotify and GoPro apps. Users would be allowed to edit, and share the content via Direct or post to Stories. The photo messaging app would also offer greater flexibility to the third parties to design unique and interactive camera experiences. Users would come across new effects in “Stories” with the “Try it on” feature.
Further, a recent update will also allow users to video chat via Direct (both one-to-one and group). For the video call, a user will need to click the camera icon in the top right corner of a Direct message thread. In case the user is not able to join the call, he/she can still message within the thread. Also, users can minimize the video chat to check the feed.
Instagram is also working toward putting a leash on the “hate culture.” For the same, the app has tweaked its customized comment filter.
Kevin Systrom, Instagram Co-Founder and CEO said, “Last year, we announced our offensive comment filter, which automatically hides toxic and divisive comments, particularly those aimed at at-risk groups. This new filter hides comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health.”
The recent updates also change the personal Explore page. The page would display the topic channels based on the personal interest of the user. On the Explore page, users can select topics such as photography or animals to look for new images and users to follow. Instagram believes this new update would make it easier for the users to find the content of their choice.
As of now, many of these features are in the testing phase and should start rolling out over the next few weeks.