The app just sneakily added a native payments feature, which some users have now discovered. With it, accounts are allowed to register a debit or credit card to their profiles, set up a security pin, then start purchasing products directly from Instagram.
Go Shopping On Instagram
There are already a lot of brands and businesses relying on Instagram to promote their respective lineups, so selling isn't really a new phenomenon on the platform. But as it stands, users simply aren't able to make transactions on there because the app itself doesn't offer a formal system of shopping. That seems to be changing soon. With native payments, sellers and buyers don't have to leave the app to complete purchases, potentially making Instagram — which announced it had over 800 million users as of last September — a key player in e-commerce.
Twitter user Genady Okrain was the first one to spot the feature, as TechCrunch reports. Instagram has since confirmed that booking appointments at restaurants or salons are now possible for a limited number of partners.
One such partner is Resy, a dinner reservation app, and a number of its clients' Instagram pages now offer in-app bookings.
Instagram says that in the future, users can expect direct payments for other services as well, such as movie tickets. The news is only slightly surprising. Instagram had already hinted in March 2017 that "the ability to book a service with a business directly from their profile" was coming, but it didn't mention anything about native payments.
What This Means For You
More than anything, Instagram serves as a venue for discovery — of art, food, places, and most importantly, products. But until now, there hasn't been a proper way of purchasing items directly within the app. Users have had to rely on third parties to complete their transactions.
The introduction of shopping on Instagram could prove popular and give businesses yet another reason to promote products and services on the platform. But that said, an interesting question arises: why is this feature is only being added now when Instagram has been a venue for curating products for so many years?
Even the way Instagram is designed practically screams e-commerce — users have a near-infinite feed of things they love, from people, brands, and companies they follow or support. The only thing missing, indeed, is a "Buy" button.
Apart from native payments, Facebook also recently announced a bunch of other new features coming to the app, including Spotify and GoPro integrations, a bully filter, video chat, and more.
Do you think shopping on Instagram would be useful, or would it muddy the app's core purpose? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!