Recently, WhatsApp said that their new test would include thousands of categories in and around Sao Paulo, Brazil. Reports show that small and large businesses will flourish because of this new WhatsApp feature.
In certain neighbourhoods of Sao Paulo, Brazil, this new test would cover thousands of companies in categories like food, retail, and local services.
The Facebook-owned messaging app now allows users to search within the app for businesses or stores offering a specific product.
This move is the company’s latest effort to enhance e-commerce services on its platform. It is the only way WhatsApp can allow business to flourish since contrary to Facebook and Instagram, WhatsApp does not run ads in its app.
Generally, people use Google or similar platforms to find information about local businesses. Thus, by announcing this new feature, WhatsApp will be starting to pilot a local business directory within the platform.
WhatsApp’s head Will Cathcart’s Twitter post indicated that the new feature will help people to find and contact local businesses, like neighbourhood coffee shops, florists, clothing stores and more!
“This could be the primary way that people start a commerce process in WhatsApp,” noted Facebook’s vice president of business messaging, Matt Idema to Reuters. As part of its assistance to small businesses, Facebook introduced the Facebook Shop feature in the past. It was a move to help businesses recover from the losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Idema also mentioned that the company may expand the test to countries such as India and Indonesia, adding that these are “good candidates” for the expansion. He also hinted that the company may introduce in-app ads in the future, something users have long feared.
He told the news agency, “There’s definitely a route on ads, which is Facebook’s core business model, that over the long term I think in some form or another will be part of the business model for WhatsApp.”
On a related note, WhatsApp now lets non-beta users test its multi-device feature. In July, the company rolled out the feature to beta testers only. For testers, the feature was made accessible so that they could provide feedback on it.
Before announcing a stable rollout, WhatsApp wanted to be doubly certain about the feature. However, it appears that WhatsApp is getting closer to rolling out the feature to all users.
WhatsApp said that one million advertisers are currently using Facebook and Instagram direct links to WhatsApp to send users to the messaging app. Essentially, it was designed to entice people into enquiring.
Additionally, according to Mark Zuckerberg, the services will move to more places soon. The post he made reads, “We’re building a modern-day Yellow Pages into WhatsApp where you can look up and contact local businesses right inside the app. Launching in São Paulo today, and hopefully more places soon.”