15 October 2021
WhatsApp has begun an interesting test that will help users find and contact groceries, stores, and restaurants around them. Under this testing, the company has launched an in-app business directory so that users could search for places nearby within the app.
As apparent from the screenshots shared by WhatsApp itself, users can click on the “Business nearby” option provided on the Contacts page, and categories like clothing, shopping & retail, restaurants will be shown enlisted on the next page. Selecting any category will further open the list of stores falling into that particular chosen category. You can then begin a chat with them or simply view their profile.
If you open the chat window you might see the shopping button on the top bar, provided that the business has already set this up or else you can ask for the catalog directly. From here the shopping experience on WhatsApp will take over and you can place your order directly.
This is WhatsApp's newest way to bolster e-commerce on its messaging service. The new feature might make WhatsApp a one-stop destination for shopping. Currently, we search on Google for nearby restaurants and then begin messaging the owner either via Facebook or WhatsApp, provided the owner has shared the contact numbers on their Google My Business account directly. Otherwise, searching for contacts of businesses is a different task altogether. Having an in-app directory will help users find their nearby places without any difficulty.
For now, it is a test only and being tested across certain São Paulo neighborhoods. Upon successful execution and positive feedback, WhatsApp will expand it further for everyone. And, we believe this is when WhatsApp will also introduce the ads to its platform.
Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of business messaging did not rule out the possibility either. According to Reuters, he said,
“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,” he said. WhatsApp says about one million advertisers currently use Facebook and Instagram’s ‘click to WhatsApp’ ads to send users to the messaging app.
Facebook wants to serve ads inside WhatsApp for a very long time and it appears it has finally paved the way and will implement them soon. Previously, Facebook revealed its plans of monetizing the platform with ads through WhatsApp Status. These ads will look similar to how ads are being served through Instagram Stories.
For now, let’s see how the new test will go.