Instagram is going to become something of a Yelp competitor soon. In an announcement saying it had reached 1 million advertisers, the company also briefly shared plans to bring a booking feature to the app.
Say you want to get a haircut. A new “Book” option on your salon or barbershop’s business profile would let you choose the style of haircut and set a time and date for your visit. You can see a video of the tool in action on Instagram’s blog post.
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The video also shows a “pricing and payment” section. In the example shown it tells you to pay at the salon, but it’s not hard to imagine payment functionality being added in the future.
This would be the deepest level of interaction we’ve seen yet between users and business on the platform. No longer will Instagram be just a place where you can find a cool coffee shop because of its artificially washed-out images of artisan, gluten-free mochaccinos, but a place where you can order one too.
That then introduces the problem of ratings. On one hand, it seems odd to include ratings on Instagram, a platform I’d never considered to use for looking up business reviews. On the other hand, it would be disingenuous for Instagram to facilitate services with a business with no way of providing public feedback. It’ll be interesting to see how Instagram handles that balance going forward, but either way, it looks like Yelp has some more competition on its hands.