The Meta-owned social media platform Instagram has released a new way for small businesses to manage their customers online, via the DM (direct messaging) section. On 18 July 2022, Meta announced via its official website that it wants to "help people start conversations with businesses they care about and help them find and buy products they love in an easy, seamless experience, right from the chat thread." Going forward, whenever users are chatting with a qualified small business account on Instagram, they'll be able to make purchases without leaving the chat.
For instance, if users are interested in buying a t-shirt, they can message the business about it. Further, users can also talk about any accessories or customisation offered by the business. Thereafter, the business account will be able to send them a payment request via Meta Pay, fulfilling which users can place their order right from the chat. Additionally, users will also get options to track their orders and ask the business any other questions.
It is important to mention that the chat-based shopping feature already exists on WhatsApp, one of the communication platforms owned by Meta. However, it is not available in all countries around the world. Additionally, the Instagram chat-based shopping feature uses Meta Pay, which is yet to be launched in India. Although, the platform is expected to provide an update on this soon as India is one of its key markets.
Initially, creators could post subscriber-only stories and perform subscriber-only livestreams. Furthermore, subscribers are given special badges when they pay for a creator. Going forward, Instagram subscriptions will be updated with more features including Subscriber chats, Subscriber reels, Subscriber posts and Subscribers' home. These additions were announced by Mosseri through a tweet on 14 July 2022. They will be able to publish exclusive posts and stories for their subscribers, which will make it easier for them to justify the subscription price. Further, Subscriber-only chats will allow up to 30 people to talk to the creator.