WhatsApp to offer in-app shopping, hosting services globally; India launch ‘later’

WhatsApp to offer in-app shopping, hosting services globally; India launch ‘later’
Photo Credit: Reuters
23 Oct, 2020

Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has rolled out an in-app shopping feature and hosting services for its business users. 

While the new features were released globally on Thursday, the company said that it would launch the services in Indian market “later”, without specifying a timeline. 

The Facebook Shop feature, the statement said, had been extended to WhatsApp to allow customers to connect with businesses and view products in their chat windows. The service was launched for Facebook and Instagram in August. 

Screenshot of WhatsApp for Business in-app shopping feature | Credit: Company photo

WhatsApp for Business users will also be able to manage customer care, notification and inventory using managed, project-based or SaaS solutions. Facebook has partnered with 65 firms, including Freshworks and Haptik, for the paid service.

The statement claimed that nearly 175 million customers message a WhatsApp business account in a day. In India, WhatsApp for Business has close to 15 million monthly active users.  

In India, Facebook has invested $5.7 billion in Reliance Industries-run Jio Platforms to onboard small businesses and retailers on the WhatsApp platform. 

WhatsApp’s UPI-based payments product in India, WhatsApp Pay, continues to be in beta stage as it awaits Supreme Court approval for a full-scale launch. The payment option, which is available only to one million of the over 450 million monthly active users in India, restricts the launch of its chat-based shopping feature.