Once set-up is complete, you can use the feature to make advance payments for bookings at places like salons. Instagram has confirmed the trial and says in the future, it could be used for a range of services, such as booking movie tickets.
While Instagram already offers shopping opportunities via tagged items shown in an image, making a purchase currently involves navigating a pop-out page and completing various steps, including entering payment details for each new merchant. This new feature is more integrated and convenient, and keeps users within the app instead of losing them while they make payments via the merchant’s system. Shoppers can also view a record of their purchases from multiple merchants in just a few taps.
Instagram hinted at its intention in March last year to allow bookings for services directly from profiles, but at the time said nothing about native payments. Now that the trial is up and running, it might not be too long before it’s rolled out to the entire Instagram community, brands and businesses included. Weaving commerce more deeply into social media apps offers potentially huge rewards for companies behind the apps, as well as those with products to sell.
Rival social media platform Snapchat recently started offering businesses the opportunity to sell products directly from a Snapchat filter. Instagram says that more than 80 percent of its 800 million users follow a business on the social network. With numbers like that, they will be motivated to build out its shopping services to draw in more advertisers and boost revenue even further. Instagram hasn’t said when it plans to roll the service out more widely.