WhatsApp adds shopping catalog feature, courting e-commerce

Facebook launched a shopping catalog feature for its WhatsApp messaging application, it said in a blog post, working out the services’s e-commerce tools as it moves gradually toward monetising the application it purchased in 2014 for $19 billion.

Facebook has been trying to boost income from higher-growth units like Instagram and Whatsapp, which has 1.5 billion users. The company’s flagship News Feed item keeps on drawing enormous advertisement dollars however is attempting to produce new users.

The move comes after Facebook added a shopping feature to Instagram in March that gives clients a chance to click a “checkout” choice on things labeled available to be purchased and pay for them directly within the app.

Facebook launched a shopping catalog feature for its WhatsApp messaging application, the new WhatsApp tool stops short of that, as transactions still occur elsewhere. But small businesses, the main users of the free WhatsApp Business app, can now display a “mobile storefront” showcasing their wares with images and prices.

“We’re opening commerce as a new chapter,” Amrit Pal, a product manager at WhatsApp, told Reuters.

“We hear from businesses every day that WhatsApp is where they meet their customers, rather than sending them to a website.”

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declared plans to shift the company’s focus to private talks, including bots and enlarged reality tools in recent years to urge businesses to speak with purchasers on its messaging services.

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Facebook said a year ago that it would begin charging businesses for sending marketing and customer service messages on WhatsApp at a fixed rate for affirmed conveyance, running from 0.5 cents to 9 cents for every message depending on the country.

More than 100 businesses are now using that paid product, according to a WhatsApp spokesman, while around 5 million use the free WhatsApp Business service. Facebook has not disclosed revenue from it is business messaging efforts.

WhatsApp’s shopping catalog feature is available for users in Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Britain, and the United States and will be rolled out around the world in the next few weeks, said the spokesman.

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