WhatsApp is taking its shopping experience to the next level by launching a new feature that will allow users to discover businesses, message them about their products/services, and make a purchase, all without leaving the app.
As announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the first WhatsApp Business Summit in Brazil:
“Wherever you go in the world, people are crazy about WhatsApp, but that’s especially true here in Brazil. The creativity here is really inspiring. This is one of the only countries where I’ve heard of people opening bank accounts, buying cars and ordering dinner, all on WhatsApp. We want to make it easier for people to get more done on WhatsApp. Part of that is building better ways to engage with businesses. And while millions of businesses in Brazil use it for chat, we haven’t made it easy to discover businesses or buy from them, so people end up having to use work-arounds.”
How will it work?
WhatsApp will give users the ability to search for relevant businesses in their area. Users will be able to search for businesses via name or category, such as groceries or banking.
Once the user has found the business they are looking for, they will be able to communicate with them via message, as opposed to Googling them and having to call them on the phone (so old school). If everything goes well, a transaction can be offered by the business and payment can be made, all inside WhatsApp.
“Ultimately we want people to be able to make a secure payment right from a chat with their credit or debit card.” Zuckerberg continued, “This seamless checkout experience will be a game-changer for people and businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person.”
This new feature could be a game-changer for small businesses looking to use WhatsApp as a discovery and communication tool. With WhatsApp usage on the rise globally and people naturally becoming more comfortable communicating via message as opposed to a call or face-to-face, this could see businesses acquire many more customers just through pure ease of discovery.
So when should we expect to start chatting with customers?
“To start, we’re bringing the ability to search for a business to Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and the UK where people can find companies using our WhatsApp Business Platform. In Brazil, search will help people find small businesses as well.”
From there it’s anyone’s guess how long it will take to roll out in other countries around the world - but we won’t imagine they will wait too long.