Instagram will let shoppers place orders and track packages in DMs

Instagram shoppers in the US will be able to pay for products directly in messages, the company announced today. Buyers will also be able to ask questions about products and track orders in the same message thread with merchants.

Many small businesses on Instagram already field questions about products, arrange payments, and offer customer support via DMs. Payments in messages will only be available to qualified accounts that have set up a business account on Instagram.

The option to request a payment directly through messages cuts out the additional step of sending an invoice via other apps. By offering this step — along with tracking and customer service — Instagram is angling to be an app where shoppers find brands, browse for products, and complete purchases without ever leaving the app.

Over the past several years, Instagram has morphed into an endless shopping destination, and many small businesses heavily rely on the app for visibility, marketing, and driving sales. The platform has made shopping a central part of the in-app experience, from the prominent placement of the Shop tab to product tagging features that the company has extended to average users. To compete with shopping on TikTok, Instagram added e-commerce features to Reels, its short-form video product, in 2020.

Evolving commerce — and how businesses communicate with potential customers — is an area Meta, Instagram’s parent company, has signaled it’s looking to for revenue. In an internal memo shared with Meta employees in June, chief product officer Chris Cox identified business messaging as a key area to grow revenue as he warned of “serious times” at the company.