Instagram has quietly initiated the process of making its platform ready for ecommerce. The ephemeral photo-sharing app has added an in-app payments feature to enable you register your debit or credit card as part of your profile. What that means is that you can now add your security pin and start buying things within Instagram.
On paper this looks quite frightening especially for rival platforms, and could make Instagram the next big thing when it comes to shopping via a social media platform.
The payments feature was spotted by a TechCrunch reader, and has now been confirmed by a spokesperson of the Facebook-owned company. The Instagram spokesperson according to TechCrunch, did not only confirm the availability of the new feature, but also added that in-app payments for booking appointments such as restaurants or salons is now live for a limited number of partners. Though, not available for now, you will be able to make direct payments for things like movie tickets on the app.
I haven’t spotted the new payments feature yet, but reports suggest that some users in the US and the UK have started seeing it on the app.
Last February, Instagram announced that it would allow select iOS users see ‘shoppable’ photos with a white icon displayed on the lower left corner. Once a user clicks on the white icon, available products that can be purchased can be clicked on to take him to the product’s description page, However, shopping can’t be done just yet until the user clicks on another link that takes him to the retailer’s website.
We’re testing a way for our community to learn more about the items they view within an Instagram post. Most mobile shopping experiences today take people from the shop window right to check out—without giving consumers the opportunity to consider a product and get more information. However, in an internal survey, we learned that the vast majority of purchases take a day or longer, with only 21% of purchases made within a day, Instagram said last February.
Snapchat, Instagram’s biggest competitor recently rolled out the ability for users to shop directly on its platform. The option lets you directly buy products, watch longer promotional videos or install apps on your phone without leaving Snapchat. The tool is called Shoppable AR—it will give advertizers the opportunity to add a website to sponsored photo filters inside the app.
Companies won’t have to pay a dime to add the function to some existing ad products. However, the feature will be available through face or world lenses where you can swipe to open your camera. Advertizers can buy lens targeted at specific audience accessible via the main camera function, starting at $40,000 per day with a pre-negotiated CPM. Companies that wish to be the first lens to show up to everyone will have to pay an extra amount.