WhatsApp Carts: A New Business Friendly Feature to Make In-App Shopping Easier

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WhatsApp might be one of the biggest messaging platforms in the world, but the app does little to add to its parent company Facebook’s revenue. To rectify this, the messaging app has been adding a series of new features that have built up over time, especially this year.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it will be adding a new “Carts” feature to its messaging platform to make it more e-commerce friendly.

The new feature is tied to another feature WhatsApp rolled out in November, the catalog or the shopping button. This button appears on the top of chats with business profiles and lists all the items the business offers along with their respective prices. Previously, users could only message about each item individually. But with new WhatsApp Carts, users will be able to place orders all at once.

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It seems the cart icon will appear on the top right corner of the catalog itself. In other words, users will have to click the shopping button in the chat to access the cart. The cart has a message button which also appears in WhatsApp chats. Thus, businesses will receive orders in the form of a single message once all desired items have been added to the cart by the customer.

WhatsApp becoming A ‘Messaging Commerce’ Platform

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has been making attempts to dominate the fintech industry, or at least gain a footing as one of the big shots. The trend WhatsApp is following was partially seen with Facebook.com, which now has a full-fledged e-marketplace within its ecosystem. Facebook uniquely combines its initial role as a social networking site with various business features, including ads.

WhatsApp does have a significant difference in that it is primarily a messaging platform, but Facebook has been deft in adding business features to this ecosystem, as well.

WhatsApp has a separate app for businesses where retailers can create business profiles and now even add catalogs of the products they offer. It has also tried to make the payment procedure more seamless with the addition of WhatsApp Pay.

This feature, which was first beta-tested in India, WhatsApp’s largest market in terms of number of users, was then rolled out in Brazil. However, it was soon suspended to investigate its potential effects on the country’s existing payments infrastructure. This particular impediment seems to be one of the last roadblocks WhatsApp has been facing in its journey to becoming a “messaging commerce” platform.

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Once this gets sorted or WhatsApp succeeds in adding other payment options such as paying at checkout within the app, it will become a formidable opponent for other e-commerce giants. WhatsApp will also have a significant edge in its unique position to boost the reach of local and small businesses.

WhatsApp currently has over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, out of which over 400 million are from India. According to WhatsApp’s official figures, more than 175 million users message the 50 million business accounts it houses. India, where all of WhatsApp’s new experiments are seemingly carried out is currently the only country with WhatsApp Pay. Additionally, the messaging service has paired up with retail giant Reliance Industries to expand its e-retail prowess.

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