WhatsApp has given a progress update on new business-focused features that can embed the entire shopping experience directly into the WhatsApp chat.
Find A Business – Browse Businesses By Category
WhatsApp says that it is launching a new ‘Business Search’ feature. This allows users to browse businesses by category, or search by the business name. WhatsApp says that using this feature within the app can “save people from having to find phone numbers off websites or type a number into their contacts.”
Also, WhatsApp says an added privacy bonus of this feature is that whatever users search for within business search is processed in a way that means it can’t be linked back to their account.
Make Secure Payments Within Chats
Although WhatsApp stressed in its progress update that its “first principle remains keeping people in control of their conversations”, i.e. its message service, its new secure checkout feature allows users to make a secure payment right from a chat with their credit or debit card. Recently launched in India and being tested in Brazil with “multiple payment partners,” WhatsApp describes the seamless checkout within its App as “a game-changer for people and businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person.”
Many Business Focused Features Being Introduced
These latest features follow WhatsApp’s launch of ‘Communities’ which was designed to capitalise on the fact that many non-profit organisations, as well as businesses now use WhatsApp, and build more engagement and loyalty among these valuable segments. Meta’s WhatsApp has been introducing many features over the last few years designed to attract more business users an monetise the app. These include, for example, voice and video calling, the ability to share files within WhatsApp up to 2GB in size, improvements to voice messaging, Linked Device (WhatsApp Web) and more. WhatsApp already has ‘WhatsApp Business,’ launched in January 2018 in the UK.
Staying Within The App
The new WhatsApp features also highlight how many apps, WhatsApp included and recently Zoom (with its Mail and Calendar Clients and Services) are trying broaden the range of services that can be accessed within their apps so users (especially business users) don’t have to leave the app. Eventually, many apps are looking to become ‘super apps’ that provide a diverse range of service and shopping opportunities in one app.
Trouble At Meta Mill
Recently however, following a slump in advertising revenue from Facebook and Instagram, alongside two poor financial results from investor confusion about and huge investment in the slow-burning Metaverse concept, there’s trouble for Meta. WhatsApp’s owner Meta recently announced that it was laying off a massive 13 per cent of its workforce globally in re-structuring. The pressure, therefore, is now even more on WhatsApp to bring in more revenue and attract more business customers.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
With Meta’s recent poor financial performance, declining advertising revenue from its core services, plus competition from other apps targeting the business market WhatsApp needs to keep adding more features (as it has been doing for some time) and broadening these features to attract and bring in more revenue from business customers.
Features like business search and secure checkouts within chats may help both businesses and users as well as a way to keep users within the app and move it more towards being a potential complete and secure service. This will help WhatsApp compete in an environment where individual apps are trying to gain share by expanding their range of services to become one-stop shops and super apps.