WhatsApp to include shopping inventory feature, pursuing online business

Facebook has been attempting to help income from higher-development units like Instagram and WhatsApp, which has 1.5 billion clients

Facebook on Thursday launched a catalog feature for its WhatsApp messaging app, building out the service’s e-commerce tools because it moves slowly toward monetizing the app it bought in 2014 for $19 billion.

Facebook has been attempting to spice up revenue from higher-growth units like Instagram and WhatsApp, that has 1.5 billion users. The company’s flagship News Feed product continues to draw massive ad dollars, however is troubled to get new users.

The move comes once Facebook added a shopping feature to Instagram in March that lets users click a “checkout” option on things labelled ”for sale” and purchase them directly inside the app.

The new WhatsApp tool stops wanting that, as transactions still occur elsewhere.  However tiny businesses, the most users of the free WhatsApp Business app, will now show a “mobile storefront” showcasing their wares with pictures and costs.

“We’re opening commerce as a brand new chapter,” Amrit Pal, a product manager at WhatsApp, told Reuters. “We hear from businesses each day that WhatsApp is where they meet their customers, instead of sending them to a web site.”

Chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has declared plans to shift the company’s focus to personal chats, adding bots and augmented reality tools in recent years to encourage businesses to speak with customers on its electronic messaging services.

Facebook said last year that it’d begin charging businesses for causing promoting and client service messages on WhatsApp at a fixed rate for confirmed delivery, starting from 0.5 cents to 9 cents per message depending on the country.

More than a hundred businesses are currently using that paid product, per a WhatsApp spokesman, whereas around 5 million use the free WhatsApp Business service. Facebook has not disclosed revenue from its business messaging efforts.

WhatsApp’s catalog feature is accessible for users in Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, UK and the US and will be unrolled round the world within the next few weeks, said the representative.


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