Instagram has added the ability to make purchases from businesses directly through chats. In the same thread, businesses will be able to confirm purchases, create payment requests and collect payment.
The feature is only available for “qualified” small businesses on Instagram and is designed to allow them to work in tandem with customers on custom orders. Qualified users are just those who have set up business accounts on Instagram and have turned on the ability to make sales through messages.
“For example, if you’re interested in a backpack, all you have to do is send a message to the business about the one you love,” the company explains. “From there, you can chat about customizations — like adding your initials — and then place your order right in the chat. In that same chat thread, you’ll also be able to track your order and ask the business any follow-up questions.”
The platform leverages Meta Pay — because of course it does — and allows customers to check out from the chat quickly and easily.
The company positions the feature as able to allow small business owners to chat with customers and answer questions in real-time as well as create a payment request with an item description and price all from within the conversation, which reduces barriers and theoretically allows business owners to close sales more reliably.
This is the second major enhancement to chats that Instagram has made this year. In March, the company announced several new messaging features including the ability to share music previews, send a message silently, the ability to see who’s online and available to chat, as well as the ability to reply while browsing a feed.
Last year, Instagram said that it was no longer a photo-sharing app and was dedicating significant resources to growing the shopping and video aspects of the platform instead. The company quickly followed with several updates to Reels, its TikTok-like offering, and now has updated the shopping experience on the app multiple times in 2022. Most notably, in April, the company made it possible for users to tag products in feed posts which effectively made any photo uploaded to the platform capable of becoming an ad.
Many photographers lament the changes to Instagram that have greatly affected the ability to reach audiences the same way they had in previous years. Unfortunately, the issues don’t appear to be getting better and experts say the best thing photographers can do is stop searching for an Instagram replacement and diversify instead.
Image credits: Meta