Social media giant Instagram and global marketplace eBay have separately announced new features they claim will enhance the experience of SMEs selling on their respective platforms.
The moves appear to be timed to capitalise on an anticipated exodus of businesses using Facebook given recent privacy scandals and its move to restrict unpaid business posts.
Instagram unveils direct messaging
Photo-sharing site Instagram has launched a new messaging tool for businesses, allowing its 150 million global users to actively engage with one another.
The tool, called Instagram Direct, will enable businesses and customers to directly engage with one another, which it is hoped will boost transactions for merchants.
According to Instagram, the associated inbox will allow businesses to “star” and filter messages for fast referencing, while a new quick reply function will be tested over the coming weeks.
Profile buttons will also be added to business profiles, allowing users to make fast responses (e.g. buy tickets, or reserve).
It follows Instagram’s announcement in late March that it had opened its in-app shopping feature to Australian businesses, in a bid to allow sellers to directly commercialise on their established group of followers.
eBay offers loyalty program
Meanwhile eBay announced the immediate launch of flybuys on its platform, which it claimed would provide smaller businesses with a leg up on their larger counterparts.
It said the partnership with flybuys will allow its 40,000 Australian small business merchants to offer customers access to the loyalty rewards, and open their businesses up to the program’s 8.2 million members.
“We know Aussies love rewards points, and at eBay, innovation is the focus for our connected community,” said Julie Nestor, the group’s chief marketing officer.
“It was a no-brainer to partner with flybuys to achieve this, as we continue to evolve our own platform in order to stay the number one online retail choice in Australia.”
Ms Nestor said the move followed in-house research that revealed 71 per cent of SME retailers felt that a loyalty program would be too expensive for them to operate, despite 62 per cent admitting it would help their business.
“We have listened to our small business community who say that loyalty programs are something they would like to engage in but don’t have access to, which is where the power of the eBay platform comes in,” she said.
“This partnership opens our small business retailers up to millions of active flybuys members and, on the flip side, creates a simple avenue for the millions of ebay.com.au users to join the flybuys program, collect flybuys points on their regular eBay spending and redeem points for thousands of rewards on offer.”