WhatsApp has launched a pilot test of a new business directory in São Paulo Brazil. The feature will enable users to search for businesses within the app, according to Reuters.
This test is of one of several moves being made by WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook to strengthen its ecommerce drive.
“This could be … the primary way that people start a commerce process in WhatsApp,” Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of business messaging, said in an interview this week per Reuters.
WhatsApp has enlisted thousands of businesses in categories such as food, retail, and local services across São Paulo neighborhoods. The company plans to expand the feature by adding India and Indonesia, which Idema claims were good places to expand to.
On ads, Idema says this has not been ruled out, and remains a possibility in the future. “There’s definitely a route on ads, which is Facebook’s core business model, that over the long term I think in some form or another will be part of the business model for WhatsApp, Idema said.
WhatsApp is reportedly working on a dedicated Pay button. The button, according to reliable leaker WABetaInfo, will allow you to send money via WhatsApp pay in the app. The new button according to the leaker, is already available to beta users.
When fully available, users in India and Brazil will be able to send money by clicking on the button. WABetaInfo already boasts of excellent track records when it comes to information about WhatsApp.
Users who want to send money via WhatsApp can do so by clicking on the “+” button, then hit “Payment.” Some beta users in India have confirmed the availability of the button—but this is not exactly new because it has been available to them for sometimes now. However, a wider roll out is being confirmed by more people in India.
In 2020, India gave the nod to WhatsApp Pay in the country. This came as a big relief for the Facebook-owned app whose attempt to roll out the service suffered several setbacks.
The roll out approval was given by the National Payments Corporation of India [NPCI]. The permission given to WhatsApp Pay, however, is not without a caveat. WhatsApp was told by the NPCI that expansion of payments to users can only be in “graded manner.”