With 2014 right around the corner, Instagram has added one new feature and is rumored to be considering another one. Recently, Instagram gained support from Soldsie that allows businesses to sell products via the popular photo and video sharing social network. In addition, sources report that Instagram has a private messaging feature in the works, rumored to come out with the app’s next update sometime before 2014. With these new features in play, experts believe that Instagram could raise competition with Snapchat, the 10-second photo sharing service that is widely popular amongst kids and teens.
In a past post, I discussed how the launch of ads on Instagram was met with criticism from businesses because they could not be monetized with affiliate links. Now, businesses have a new way to monetize on Instagram – direct sales through Soldsie. Soldsie, which has allowed businesses to sell on Facebook for some time, has now added Instagram support that enables users to simply purchase through comments. A company posts a photo of an item for sale, and when a user comments “sold” and adds their email address, they can instantly purchase the item. An invoice will automatically be sent to the buyer through email, and another option directs users to a form that is hosted by Soldsie.
While selling on Instagram was made possible in the past by Soldsie competitor Chipify, Soldsie’s service was designed for small to mid-sized businesses that are hosting daily and weekly sales. This means that Soldsie support is a huge benefit for small businesses looking for a simple e-commerce solution. In beta testing, one company received 72 orders during the first day, and another business saw an average of $1,000 in sales each day. While the beta tests were small in scale, they show that sales on Instagram have serious potential for businesses. To learn how to use Soldsie on Instagram, visit the guide on Soldsie’s support center.
Another new feature that may be in Instagram’s future is private messaging. First reported by GigaOm, sources report that private messaging may be available in the next Instagram update, which is expected before 2014. Group messaging will also be a possible feature. Instagram has not made a comment on this rumor, but Mashable suspects that this feature may allow users to share photos with specific friends without having to post them publicly.
Raising the Competition
Experts are noting that the addition of this private messaging feature could help Instagram pull ahead in competition with Snapchat. GigaOm adds that the timing for implementing this new feature would be perfect with the holidays coming up. Many people will receive new mobile devices for the holidays, and private messaging could draw them to Instagram versus Snapchat or even Vine, another major competitor. However, with the trend in social media shifting more toward single-service apps, could the addition of this new messaging feature backfire? I predict that so long as Instagram continues to focus on photo and video sharing, adding private messaging will not detract from the appeal of this social network.
Will your brand take advantage of Soldsie support for Instagram?
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