The photo and video-sharing social media service Instagram is on a high roll as it just introduced a new native payments feature for select users. For starters, this payment feature enables the user to get the debit/credit card within the user profile, put up a security pin and that’s all to be done to start shopping on Instagram. This is a significant move for Instagram as the user convenience of not having to access separate websites for entering payment information for purchases gives it an added edge on the commerce front.
Genady Okrain, a TechCrunch reader first let out the information about this payment feature and the news was confirmed by the spokesperson of Instagram, that native payments for booking services at salons or restaurants etc are now made live for selected partners.
The dinner reservation app ‘Resy’ is one of the first apps made compatible with Instagram’s payment system, with some selected clients availing this feature for booking. In the near future, Instagram will enable direct payments for booking for things like movie tickets, which is quite impressive. Back in March 2017, Instagram announced that “we’ll roll out the ability to book a service with a business directly from their profile later this year,” without mentioning native payments directly though. With this feature, however, Instagram charts out and materializes the statement made in 2017.
The payment settings are now visible on the app, available for some users in U.S. and U.K. A glance through the terms of service shows that Instagram Payments are backed and regulated by Facebook’s Payment rules. It won’t be a surprise if Instagram becomes more popular than ever now as this feature might draw in advertisements from big businesses on the app. As it is, the app is already lined with many stunning pictures featuring many brands, and from here on, the graph is only to go up the curve.
Facebook tried its hand at native commerce around 2013 and progressed to peer-to-peer payments gradually through Facebook Messenger. But native payment for shopping is still not an available option. Although it is unclear whether peer-to-peer payments would be included in Instagram, featuring a debit/credit card on the app is a stepping stone towards that feature.
Instagram’s current ‘Shoppable Tags’ that makes the user go to other business websites for shopping unlike the new feature, might support the new native payments option. The ‘Shoppable tags’ started out in 2016 to let the user browse through the products in a post and buy them on the brand’s site with a tap. Thereafter, Instagram has partnered with storefront platforms Shopify and BigCommerce to get their clients invested, and then expanded the feature in March to other countries. As it still stands now, the previous shopping feature partners like Parker or Kate Spade still redirect the user to their site.
However, Instagram does not allow links in captions to maintain smooth browsing which was disrupted by being redirected to the websites. Instagram’s native payments system is good for impulsive buying as the shopping is quicker and smoother, attracting more businesses to partner with it. The ad spends of brands featuring on the app shall add to its revenue as the brands are likely to give higher ad spend for more and more people to see their shoppable posts considering that native payments feature effect in more purchases.
Following Instagram, Snapchat is also tapping into the commercial potential of its own native payments which started from February. Launching this native payment feature is a strategic move by Instagram to gain a foothold in its commerce.