WhatsApp, Facebook’s messaging app, debuted a new feature on Wednesday that allows users to search for businesses within the app.
The pilot, which allows WhatsApp users in São Paulo, Brazil, to access stores and services through an app directory, is the latest feature in Facebook’s push to boost ecommerce on its services.
“I’m excited we’re starting to pilot a local business directory within WhatsApp. This will help you find and contact local businesses, like your neighborhood coffee shop, florist, clothing store and more.” Head of WhatsApp, Will Cathcart said.
Will added that they’ve built the feature in a private way and will not be logging users’ location or the businesses they browse.
With a specific app for small businesses and an API, or sort of software interface, for larger enterprises to link their systems and make cash, the messaging service has steadily courted corporate users in the recent past.
Facebook has expanded in-app buying functionality across its apps as online retail has continued to boom amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Zuckerberg stated in June that Facebook’s Shops function would be rolled out to WhatsApp in a number of countries. WhatsApp has recently introduced shopping features like as product catalogs and shopping carts.
Whilst the Facebook-owned messaging service is most known for its person-to-person messaging, e-commerce has become a more prominent element of its offering in recent years. According to WhatsApp, over 175 million individuals utilized the service every day to message a WhatsApp business account as of late October.
“Based on feedback from the people who try it over the next few months, we’ll look at expanding this service to other cities and other types of businesses available on WhatsApp.” Will Cathcart added.