For a couple of months, WhatsApp is working to add new features rapidly to its messenger. We recently saw that company roll out the End to End Encryption while taking backup on the drive. Also, show the payment shortcut for a few days in the chat section. Now they have come into the field again for the new feature. That is searching for Whatsapp nearby businesses as well as shops within the WhatsApp app. This is happening to increase the e-commerce capabilities of the platform.
Now, although WhatsApp did not announce the feature officially, as per a recent Reuters report, the company has started testing it in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Later in the day, WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart shared a tweet to confirm the ongoing test. Cathcart mentioned that one of the primary reasons for pilot testing the feature in Sao Paulo is because the city is “home to millions of small businesses.”
Now coming back to the discussion of this new feature. So there will be a dedicated directory where users can search their favourite shops. But here there is a catch the WhatsApp will not allow the businesses to promote their products via ads, similar to Facebook and Instagram. This will be a purpose from WhatsApp that their users should not go for Google Maps or other apps to find out something. Which they can easily search and get connected with them ASAP.
“This could be the primary way that people start a commerce process in WhatsApp.” The Vice President of Business at Facebook, Matt Idema told Reuters. “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.” Idema further added.
As for the availability, the business directory feature is currently being tested in some neighbourhoods of Sao Paulo. However, Cathcart says that the company will expand the feature to other regions based on user feedback. Plus, Idema told Reuters that the company could expand it to Indonesia and India next. So stay tuned for more information.