Technology for MSMEs: In order to further ease selling for small businesses on WhatsApp, Facebook-owned messaging app will be launching a ‘shopping button’ for customers to purchase goods from within the app. “They might use their catalog to showcase their goods or services, and then chat with the customer to coordinate the details and payment. We want to make all of this even easier and simpler in WhatsApp for everyone involved,” WhatsApp said on Thursday. While globally, the shopping button will be live on Thursday but it “will come to India later.” WhatsApp said that users would be able to “add items to a cart, and check out, right within WhatsApp” in future.
The button, which resembles a storefront, would provide users access to the business’s catalogue from the chat screen apart from accessing the same from their business profile. However, businesses would need to set-up their catalogue for the button to show up. WhatsApp, which reportedly has over 400 million users in India, had said in July this year that there are over 15 million business users every month.
The move is likely to enhance WhatsApp Business’s use case as among the default platforms for businesses particularly small firms to sell goods to customers as users might find it seamless to chat and discuss a particular product with their friends, family, or colleagues and buy it without stepping out of the app. Hence, the process of decision making for a purchase to selecting a product and eventually buying it would happen on a common platform.
WhatsApp also said that it would be investing more towards expanding ways for users to check out products purchases from within the chat along with easing integration of these features for businesses into their existing solutions. “This will help many small businesses who have been most impacted in this time,” said WhatsApp. The company will also offer a new option to businesses to manage their WhatsApp messages via Facebook hosting services that the latter intends to offer. “This will make it easier for small and medium size businesses to get started, sell products, keep their inventory up to date, and quickly respond to messages they receive – wherever their employees are.” However, WhatsApp will charge businesses for “some of the services we offer.”
According to The Harris Poll survey on business messaging by global research firm Harris Insights & Analytics based in the US, 81 per cent of adults in India agreed that messaging through a chat app, text, and others is a quick and easy way to communicate with a business. Also, 78 per cent said messaging with a business saves them time vis-à-vis calling a business while 76 per cent claimed they are more likely to do business with a company that they can contact through messaging. The results were part of the online survey conducted in the U.S., Germany, the UK, India, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia and among 8,214 adults aged 18 and older.