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Report: Instagram is Testing a New In-App Payment Feature

Tech

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The native in-app payments feature would allow users to store their payment information in a personal profile then shop directly within the platform.

We may just start to see an influx of #impulsebuys on Instagram according to new reports that claim Instagram is testing a native in-app payments feature for certain users in the U.S. and U.K.

Per The Verge, the announcement comes just over a year after Instagram took to its business blog last March claiming, “we’ll roll out the ability to book a service with a business directly from their profile later this year.”

For reference, Instagram already has a shopping feature called Shoppable tags, which requires users to access a third-party website in order to complete their check out process. With this native option, the added steps are removed from the equation for a faster, more convenient experience.

How would it work? As the image below depicts, users would navigate to “Payment Settings” and create a personal profile for themselves including adding a debit or credit card and a PIN number for security purposes. A separate Activity tab will keep a running log of anything that a user has purchased on the platform.


Image via TechCrunch

Once users complete the setup, they can start making purchases from within the app. Per TechCrunch, an Instagram spokesperson has confirmed the feature is currently available for a select group of partners, which includes a test integration with the dining reservation app Resy. Through a third-party integration with the app, users can book appointments at restaurants and salons and have their reservations accepted by the business. Down the road, Instagram says we can expect direct payments for additional items like movie tickets and other products and services.


Image via TechCrunch

Instagram isn’t the first platform to dabble in social commerce. This past February, Snapchat was reported to be testing its own native payment and checkout feature via the Snap Store, a digital store that lives within the app itself designed to boost app loyalty and strengthen community through promoting and selling Snap merchandise.

More recently, last month the company announced Shoppable AR, a feature that allows users to not only shop within the app directly but gives companies the ability tack a URL onto a sponsored photo filter lens to make activities like buying and watching longer-form content without navigating away from the app.

In March, Pinterest announced it would be expanding its Shopping Ads to hundreds of additional retailers. These ads are designed primarily to provide inspiration while also enabling Pinners to click through and purchase the product from within the Pin.

Given most social media players have already started acting upon the potential of making it easier for brands to advertise their products and users to buy them, Instagram has nothing to lose by testing an in-app payments feature. With an uninterrupted experience, brands stand to see higher conversion rates, and users will be more inclined to complete their purchase given they won’t have to go to multiple sources to do so.

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