WhatsApp is entering the ecommerce race, adding a shopping button so that users engaging with brands and retailers can buy directly from their chat feed as part of an upgrade that has added a raft of new services for businesses.
Soon shoppers will be able to buy – and pay – for goods and services from WhatsApp messages and is expected to start to leverage its recently approved payments platform to help take payments.
“We will expand ways for people to check out available products and make purchases right from a chat," WhatsApp said in a blogpost, adding that it will make it possible to add items to a cart, and check out within the platform. "We also want to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions.”
The launch is part of a move by Facebook-owned WhatsApp to become more entrenched in business to consumer (B2C) communications and to leverage that to also gain a foothold in ecommerce.
The messaging platform is also working on more customer service tools to help businesses use WhatsApp more seamlessly to provide support to customers. It is also offering hosting services through Facebook. All together these make for a powerful combination.
Bringing together the power to communicate between brands and customer and to turn that into an ecommerce sale offers a new way for brands to reach consumers – one that bypasses companies such as Amazon and Google that have something of a hegemony over organic search and search marketing as an ecommerce on-ramp.
It also follows Facebook’s tentative steps into ecommerce on its social media platform.