There’s a new reason to slide into the DMs on Instagram.
The app just made it easier for users to buy directly from small businesses by making payments available via chat.
Potential customers can start a conversation with a small business page. They can ask questions, customise their order and checkout without leaving the chat. In the same thread, buyers can also track their orders and ask the business any follow-up questions.
While the feature is only available in some countries for now, it’s a huge sales opportunity for small businesses that qualify. It’s also a new chapter in Instagram’s commitment to ecommerce.
Instagram’s ecommerce history
Last year, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said the pandemic accelerated the shift of commerce from online to offline by a number of years. It was a trend Instagram was ‘trying to lean into’, but the app already had a solid history promoting ecommerce.
Instagram first introduced ‘shopping tags’ and a ‘shop now’ button below posts in 2018, and then expanded them to stories later that year.
A shopping version of the Explore page also appeared at the same time. This grouped posts from brands that users followed, along with posts the algorithm suggested based on their activity.
Instagram catapulted its shopping experience in March 2019 when it enabled in-app buying and selling.
User engagement with small business is high across Meta apps
The decision to extend purchasing capabilities to the chat comes as one billion people are messaging a business across Meta’s suite of apps each week, according to the company.
Users are chatting with brands, browsing products, asking for support or interacting with stories.
The launch also follows the rebrand of Facebook Pay to Meta Pay last month, which can be used for Instagram’s in-chat purchases.
Meta’s screenshots demonstrate how small businesses can send payment requests in chat. Users can then review the price, payment method and shipping details, and tap pay.
The company’s announcement says users can shop with ‘confidence’ knowing payments to qualified small businesses are ‘securely processed’ and ‘purchases are protected’.