Instagram has added payment capabilities for some users of the photo-sharing social media platform in a move that could make it a major eCommerce player.
Most US users and selected UK accounts can now register a debit or credit card as part of their profile, set up a PIN number and then start buying items at certain e-retailers without having to leave Instagram.
The Facebook-owned app will expand the service so that users can book other goods and services, such as cinema tickets. It had earlier announced plans to enable bookings but hadn’t revealed it would also add payment capabilities.
Being able to shop through Instagram is likely to encourage brands to advertise on the platform – in-app purchases typically achieve a higher sales conversation rate because fewer customers get “lost” while switching to a website to complete their purchase.
Facebook Messenger already allows peer-to-peer payments, while TechCrunch speculates that in-app payment options could work in conjunction with Instagram’s “Shoppable” tags, which enable users to tap on products featured in a post and buy them via the merchant’s online shop. Fewer barriers to purchase should also bolster impulse buys.