Image via Adobe Stock

Instagram introduces gift cards to assist small businesses

Here’s how Facebook will be helping its users who want to do their bit to keep their favourite local businesses afloat.


Image via Adobe Stock

The national lockdown has been in place since the end of March and has left thousands of small businesses on the brink of financial ruin.

The lockdown restrictions have been especially cruel to the service industry. Restaurants, fitness studios and salons will not be able to open for the foreseeable future.

The strict prohibitions have led to many businesses closing their doors for good thanks to pressure from landlords and suppliers while their companies are unable to generate any income.

In South Africa, many restaurants have remained closed despite being able to open for food delivery. The reality is that not every business can be sustained with delivery revenue.

Altered customer behaviour

The other thing to remember is that customers will likely not be eager to visit a lot of these public businesses soon after the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Customer behaviour is likely to be altered for a long time to come.

In addition to this, many of these businesses will re-open into a fundamentally weaker economy. The fallout from the lockdown will see many households facing financial difficulty as companies go out of business or retrench staff.

Facebook is looking to help businesses which are facing the very real possibility of not surviving until lockdown restrictions are lifted generate some much-needed revenue.

Instagram gift cards

The social media giant will be facilitating users wanting to support local businesses. They’ll be doing this by allowing users to buy gift cards online on Instagram for when their favourite local businesses can start trading again.

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa said they are aware that small businesses in South Africa have been “deeply impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19”. Ntshingila adds:

“This new gift card feature is just one of the many ways we continue to support them. Small businesses will continue to play an important role in the economic recovery after the pandemic, which is why it is critical to help them keep the lights on and save jobs. We know when businesses do better, economies do better.”

In addition to that, Facebook will also be enabling food orders from Instagram. Users will be able to follow “Support Local Businesses” ads in their Facebook feed or click on a gift card button on a merchants’ Instagram profile or their Stories.

Businesses who want to use Facebook and Instagram to offer digital gift vouchers can learn how to sign up from one of their partners.