WhatsApp Adds A Shopping Button As It Enters E-Commerce
WhatsApp has entered online commerce with a shopping button.
The messaging platform introduced the feature that will allow users to shop, and soon, pay for goods and services via WhatsApp chats, Facebook Inc.-owned company said in a statement. WhatsApp’s business account holders can provide catalogues from the chat screen to customers, letting them to purchase directly.
The buy button going live globally will come to India later.
“We will expand ways for people to check out available products and make purchases right from a chat," WhatsApp said in a blogpost, adding that it will make it possible to add items to a cart, and check out within the platform. "We also want to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions.”
WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users worldwide. Every day, over 175 million people message to WhatsApp business accounts that allow businesses to display goods and services catalogues. India, with more than 400 million WhatsApp users, offers a captive base that could be an asset for an online foray.
WhatsApp already awaits permission from the Reserve Bank of India to launch its payments service in the country. At present, the feature is in the beta phase. Once both payments and shop features go live in India, it will vie with Amazon.com, Walmart-owned Flipkart, and Mukesh Ambani's JioMart in next big online battleground.
The social messaging platform is also working on a customer service to help businesses use WhatsApp more seamlessly to provide support to customers, and add additional features to help people buy, and business buy and sell. It will also offer hosting services through Facebook. WhatsApp, however, will charge customers for some of the services it plans to offer.
Parent Facebook is already dabbling with e-commerce with a pilot in the U.S. Its users will also be sell products via WhatsApp. Earlier this year, Facebook unveiled a similar shopping tab on Instagram.