22nd July 2022

POV: Latest In-Stream Commerce Updates


There have been more in-stream commerce updates and integrations this week, as social platforms continue to push their commerce ambitions. Instagram has a new ‘payments in chat’ feature and Shopify and Google’s new partnership will enable Shopify merchants to integrate their online stores on YouTube.

Details and Implications:

Instagram is getting a new ‘payments in chat’ feature that will allow users to buy from small businesses through direct messages. They will also be able to track the order and ask the business any follow-up questions in the same chat thread. The company says that customers often chat about their orders with businesses via DMs on Instagram before purchases are made, so now they can complete the purchase directly with the seller in the chat thread.

The ‘payments in chat’ feature is available to US based SMBs who don’t currently use Instagram Shops. Instagram's new feature will use Meta's payment service Meta Pay (previously Facebook pay) to enable users to complete their purchases in just a few taps within the app.

According to Meta, one billion users message businesses weekly across its family of apps. This includes chatting with brands, browsing products, and asking for support, so enabling more merchants to easily drive payments directly from Instagram will encourage more use of the app to build their businesses, which Meta sees as a big opportunity.

Meta is also working on similar payment options within WhatsApp, which could open up more in-stream commerce opportunities in emerging markets, while it also has a vision for a digital wallet in the metaverse that would let users securely manage their identities, what they own and how they pay.

Also announced this week, YouTube will enable merchants across the globe using Shopify’s platform to integrate their online stores with YouTube. This would give Shopify merchants the potential to reach the video platform’s 2 billion+ monthly logged-in users. Creators who link their stores can display their products across their channel and benefit from Shopify’s real-time inventory syncing. They will be able to display their products via livestreams, a store tab and at the end of videos. And, for a more seamless shopping experience, eligible creators in the US can enable onsite checkout so that viewers can complete their purchases without leaving YouTube.

In addition to the Shopify integration, YouTube says it will dedicate a section of the Explore tab to a “shopping destination” that will display shoppable content for US, Brazilian and Indian users, beginning next week.

YouTube is also moving forward with livestream shopping and has more tools available to eligible creators to allow them to tag products during live streams. Live shopping is very popular in China and other parts of Asia and many platforms like TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest have introduced similar features in other regions of the world hoping this shopping format gains popularity. The results are uncertain so far, as demonstrated by the reports that TikTok may be slowing down its live shopping expansion in the US and Europe as the take up hasn’t been as expected.


These latest updates continue the race for frictionless commerce as all social platforms want to be the place where users find things and then purchase them, without leaving the ecosystem.

Further Reading:

TechCrunch (Insta) | Social Media Today (insta) | Adweek (Shopify) | The Verge (Shopify)

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