Usually, Instagram updates are announced with a big Va Va Voom! There’s a conference, an official statement, some well-placed quotes, pleasantries and the whole package. You get it. However, the newly introduced payment feature was passed on with much discretion. Whether this hush-hush attitude was simply because the feature is only available to a selected few in the US and UK (but aren’t almost all the roll-outs initially so?) or because they are really trying to keep things under the radar, one thing is sure: this native payment capability is a game changer!

The story is not, by all means, that new. Actually, Instagram slowly introduced us to the idea from March last year. Back then, Instagram announced that they’ll be soon rolling out the ability to book a service with a business directly from one’s profile in 2018. It seems like that moment has arrived. But let’s see exactly what are the main features related to the new payment capability and how this new feature changes the way e-commerce brands, retailers and businesses act on the platform.


What’s the deal with the Instagram native payment capability?

So, how does this new native payment capability work? Well, very few know because, as mentioned, only a few accounts have access to it. But, as with all other features, it will soon become mainstream. If it works as it should, of course. Okay, getting back to the basics. The native payment capability allows users to register a card (debit or credit) on their profile and set up a security pin. Once they’ve done this, users can start buying things and even booking tickets through Instagram, without leaving the platform!

Another burning question is “who exactly is benefiting from the feature now?”. Thanks to TechCrunch, who asked Instagram directly, we now know that a limited number of partners such as restaurants and salons can now accept native payments for booking appointments. In the future, users can expect to also be able to buy movie tickets.

What’s more, if you are among the scrupulous ones who read the Terms and Conditions, you’ll find that the Facebook Payment rules reveals the terms of service for Instagram Payments. Yes, you should definitely check that out as soon as the feature becomes available to you.


What does the Instagram native payment capability mean for businesses?

Good news. Very good news. And a bit more work for brands. But, all in all, the future looks bright! So, let’s dig in: why is it great and why does it involve more work?

First, the good: Instagram is already a wonderland for beauty-pictures. That means products and services are and can be portrayed in a stunning way to capture attention without disrupting the credo and aesthetic of the platform. What’s more, with followers not having to go outside the platform to buy, it eliminates the middle step in the checkout process. And you know what this means, don’t you? Yes! Higher conversion rates. Without the need to fill in payment details, people might be more inclined to buy and not change their minds.

Businesses and brands on Instagram already have a tool to redirect users to their shopping pages with the help of Shoppable Tags. Since 2016, the feature has gone a long way and we’ve covered it in detail, letting you in the benefits of using Shoppable Tags and how. With the new native payment feature, however, loads are going to change in shortening, even more, the purchase chain.

Next, the work: as a brand, you’ll need to put in extra efforts to make certain that your posts are absolutely stunning. Don’t get us wrong, that’s what you had to do so far as well, but now it’s even more imperious. And chances are that when the new native payment feature becomes available to all, a whole bunch will need to change with your strategy. You’ll need to tweak it in order to accommodate a slightly more targeted objective due to the new tactic. As we said, it’s going to be a bit more work, but it’s going to be highly exciting and, most of all, fun!


The verdict

The first verdict, that’s actually on everybody’s lips, is that even if the move came unexpectedly, the aftermath makes a lot of sense. From various perspectives.

For Instagram, it maintains a seamless flow for the users who will now be able to purchase without getting switched out of the platform. And that’s exactly why Instagram doesn’t want links in its captions. Why send its users away when it can accommodate them right here, right now? Also, Instagram’s revenue out of sponsored posts and ads is guaranteed to increase as businesses will want to make the most out of this feature.

For brands, the update means more chances to advertise and to convert followers to customers. As a business, you’ll need to make sure your product/service posts are stunning. Now more than ever. It’s a once in a lifetime clickable chance.


Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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