WhatsApp expands in-app features to help users browse and find businesses • TechCrunch

WhatsApp is introducing new Yellow Pages-like features to help users find businesses within the instant messaging app, part of the Meta-owned platform’s growing attempts to make deeper inroads into e-commerce.

The encrypted messaging service, used by more than 2 billion users worldwide, said on Thursday it was expanding a feature called “Directory” to all users in Brazil’s key overseas market to help them browse and discover local small businesses. in their neighborhoods. The nationwide rollout follows WhatsApp testing the directory feature in São Paulo last year.

WhatsApp is also introducing the ability to find larger businesses from within the app. The feature — launched in several markets (Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico and the United Kingdom), a spokesperson told TechCrunch — will allow users to browse businesses by category such as banking, food and beverage, and travel, as well as by name.

The feature, called “Business Search,” aims to help people avoid having to spend time looking up company phone numbers from their websites and typing and saving those details to their phone contacts, the company said at a summit. company focused on WhatsApp in Brazil.

The new features underscore WhatsApp’s growing attempts to turn the behemoth messaging app into a commercial engine, one of its biggest bets to generate revenue from the otherwise free service. The company revealed in last month’s quarterly earnings that its click-to-WhatsApp ad business grew 80% year-over-year and was on track to generate $1.5 billion in annual revenue.

“We want to make it easier for people to do more on WhatsApp,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the summit. “Part of that is building better ways to engage with businesses. And while millions of businesses in Brazil use it to chat, we haven’t made it easy to discover companies or buy from them, so people end up having to use workarounds. The ultimate goal here is to make it so that you can find, message and buy from a business all in the same WhatsApp chat.

Brazil, the most populous nation in Latin America, is a key region for WhatsApp. The platform, which has amassed over 120 million users in Brazil, has chosen the South American market to test several new commercial offerings.

WhatsApp introduced a merchant payments service in Brazil last year, in what was briefly a world-first feature for WhatsApp. It restored functionality shortly after after the local central bank said that proper risk and regulatory testing needed to be done first.

The Brazilian monetary authority said at the time that its decision would “preserve an adequate competitive environment, which guarantees the functioning of an interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and economic payment system”.

The encrypted messaging platform, which received approval to operate peer-to-peer payments in the nation last year, said it was still awaiting regulatory clearance on merchant payments. But that doesn’t stop him from continuing development work.

Payments giant Cielo, multinational Fiserv, merchant acquirer Getnet, payments platform Mercado Pago and credit and debit card player Rede have built technical integration with WhatsApp and many of them are participating in testing of production, the Meta-owned unit said.

“If you’re running a business in Brazil, that means people will be able to find you, contact you and buy from you all in one WhatsApp chat, and we’re working to bring that experience to even more countries in the coming months,” Zuckerberg said. “This is the next step for business messaging and I look forward to hearing about the opportunities this unlocks for all of you.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *