WhatsApp is a popular chat app owned by Facebook with over 2 billion active monthly users. Surprisingly, Facebook has not yet added too many “Facebook” features to this app.
However, this is changing with the introduction of a new feature that the company is testing: a business directory. This ‘Yellow Pages’-like feature is being tested by the firm in Sao Paulo (Brazil).
WhatsApp’s chief Will Cathcart announced the feature saying, “we’ve built this in a private way.” He also claimed that WhatsApp won’t track your location or the businesses you search for. Now, you can search for local shops in Sao Paulo using WhatsApp Business. It is possible through the new chat option called the ‘Businesses Nearby’ menu.
For many years, Facebook and Instagram have tried to make it easy to find businesses and shop on their platforms. Sure, the WhatsApp Business app helped. However, users couldn’t use the app to search for businesses unless they had interacted with them before.
In Brazil, WhatsApp already offers payment services. It makes sense that it now adds local discovery services to the list of its features so you can shop in person and pay via the platform.
The chat app does not have ads like Instagram and Facebook, so transactions and business interactions are the best way for Facebook to make some money. The company integrated its Shops feature into WhatsApp in June. We can expect to see more business-facing features in the near future.
Vice President of Business Messaging at Facebook, Matt Idema, told Reuters that the program is thriving in Brazil and India and Indonesia are the next candidates the company is eyeing for expansion.