Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, to name a few) is running yet another experiment for in-stream shopping: a payment option inside Messenger Chat — even if the business doesn’t have a Facebook or Instagram Shop.
While none of Meta’s previous experiments have hit a home run, founder Mark Zuckerberg and crew have high hopes for this one. When consumers message businesses through Instagram about a specific product, the business can now reply with options and provide a direct path to payment using Meta Pay (formerly Facebook Pay).
According to Meta, the sales conversation doesn’t end there: “In that same chat thread, you’ll also be able to track your order and ask the business any follow-up questions.”
Features of Meta’s New In-Stream Payment Option
Small businesses will now be able to do the following through Messenger Chat on Instagram:
- Chat with customers in real-time.
- Generate sales orders.
- Process orders through Meta Pay.
- Track orders.
How It Affects Small Businesses
For small businesses that promote products on Instagram, this process creates a frictionless customer experience. According to Meta, consumers often chat through direct message with businesses before purchasing. However, consumer sales are often lost by bouncing buyers from one app to another to complete a transaction. Meta believes that fewer steps to purchase will eliminate hurdles and cart abandonment issues, leading to more closed sales.
Small Business Opportunities
Many small businesses have a digital presence on Instagram but haven’t yet set up Shops on Facebook or Instagram. This tested feature will now allow those businesses to talk about products, create orders, and take payments, all inside Messenger Chat. A small business can now test this kind of digital presence and then migrate to Shops when the time is right.
How Could Your Business Leverage the In-Stream Payment Option?
As a small business, there are many ways you can optimize your in-stream payment options to close more sales:
- Be available to answer consumer questions in chat.
- Be prepared to answer typical buyer questions like sizing, materials, country of origin, what the item can or can’t do, how long it will take to arrive.
- Make sure you’ve got good photos of your items.
- Set up and test payment options.
- Promote the ease of transaction on social media.
- Consider a bonus or incentive to close the sale in conversation, like an extra accessory, if they purchase now.
Meta says 1 billion people across their platforms each week message a business. That’s a lot of opportunities to close a sale. Meta continues to push initiatives and experiments to keep its properties at the forefront of the metaverse’s emerging immersive virtual world.
Zuckerberg indicated that rebranding Facebook Pay as Meta Pay represents Meta’s first step toward creating a digital wallet for the metaverse. Will it work? Only time will tell. Yet, Meta is on the right track by creating technology that makes it easier for consumers to buy what they want. The company is already rumored to be looking at another experiment with WhatsApp using the in-stream payment technology.
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