Merchant Innovation

Instagram Bows New Business Tools Focused On Messaging, Booking, Payments

In an effort to boost its presence in the business realm, Instagram unveiled new features on the social networking platform that will help users contact companies and enlist them for goods and services.

The tools that bowed on Tuesday also enhance companies’ visibility on Instagram.

As detailed in a post via Business Blog, Instagram said 200 million active Instagrammers visit a business profile each day.

More than 150 million have a conversation with businesses on a monthly basis, the company said in the post. The features introduced through Instagram Direct will offer what is being termed a “better” way for businesses to manage their messages and also run operations. Messages are routed to the main Direct Inbox, rather than the pending folder.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll begin testing quick replies so that [businesses] can easily respond to common questions,” the company said in its blog post.

The services are being offered for free.

Among the features on offer: Companies can filter messages in their inbox — for example, organizing conversations — they can tailor messages to be organized according to the businesses’ own parameters (unread messages, for instance) and, as stated above, Instagram will soon help businesses craft responses.

Users will also be able to book appointments via Instagram. The company said users can store payment information that would be tied to those activities through “action buttons.” Booking is done through third-party partners, but users will not have to leave Instagram to make those bookings. Current partners include Acuity, ChowNow, Yelp Reservations and more.

In an interview with CNBC, Instagram Director of Product Vishal Shah said, “We’re taking steps to turn Instagram from not just a place of business discovery but really a place where business can get done.” He added that Instagram has 25 million business profiles that stretch across its platform, and half of that tally does not have a website listed.

The aforementioned functions will be available in the United States initially and then will be available in other countries.



The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.