Instagram is not just popular among users, but also for businesses that want to sell things on the platform.
While it wasn't initially created for this activity, but shopfronts on Instagram have become increasingly large, rapidly growing and showing many brands that live only on the internet. In 2017, there were 15 million business profiles on Instagram, and that number grew to about 25 million at the end of that year.
80 percent of Instagram users follow a business profile, and 200 million daily users visit at least one business profile a day.
Continuing with the numbers, less than 50 percent of those business own a website, they chose Instagram because of its high interactivity and engagement.
According to Susan Rose, the director of product marketing at Instagram, this is an indication how Instagram attract new customers and complete sales.
But the problem is that Instagram wasn't having any easy ways for users to purchase things from the brands they like. Even when those businesses have an external presence online, they still require users to go through a lengthy process to be able to buy anything from them. And this is a burden.
Here, Instagram wants to ease the process for businesses to sell things on the platform with business tools dedicated for the job.
The business tools are meant to simplify the process of buying things from a seller. Here, Instagram is turning its platform into a one-stop shop for everything from scheduling a salon appointment to making brunch reservations.
Offered for free, the features include the ability for brands to filter messages in their inbox, star important messages, creating messages to be organized according to the businesses’ own parameters, and helping businesses craft responses.
However, even though the feature is only available to some sellers, Instagram is hoping that they will result in more timely and relevant responses for consumers, explained Rose.
The company said that users can store payment information, and tie them through the "action buttons.” This allows users to Reserve, Get Tickets, Start Order or Book. While Instagram is relying on third-parties for these actions, users don't have to leave Instagram to to make that happen.
Initial partners include Acuity, Atom Tickets, Booksy, ChowNow, Eatstreet, Eventbrite, Fandango, GrubHub, MyTime, OpenTable, Reserve, Restorando, Resy, SevenRooms, StyleSeat, Tock and Yelp Reservations.
"What entrepreneurs need most is time," Rose says. "We designed all of these tools to allow them to be as efficient as possible when they communicate, so they never miss out on business."
And according to Instagram Director of Product Vishal Shah, "We’re taking steps to turn Instagram from not just a place of business discovery but really a place where business can get done."