WhatsApp has taken another small step towards maximizing its eCommerce potential with the addition of a new shopping button in business chats to streamline purchases and transactions.
As explained by WhatsApp:
"Now you can easily discover something you'd like to buy from your favorite business by tapping on the new shopping button at the top of chats."
Similar to the new Shop options on Instagram and Facebook, the WhatsApp shopping button takes you through to a product listing in-app, where you can select items and tap through to make a purchase.
It's a relatively small addition, but it could have a big impact, especially as WhatsApp looks to build on its presence in India, where it's already the most used messaging app, and a key platform for keeping millions of Indian users connected.
Last week, India approved the broader use of WhatsApp Pay in the nation, which WhatsApp quickly followed up on with the addition of funds transfers within the app.
Starting today, people across India will be able to send money through WhatsApp ???? This secure payments experience makes transferring money just as easy as sending a message. pic.twitter.com/bM1hMEB7sb — WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) November 6, 2020
The idea here is that by getting people to transfer money within WhatsApp, that will then make it easier for people to make subsequent purchases - if they're already moving money through the app, paying for goods is a natural extension, and could see WhatsApp become a key eCommerce provider in the region.
Which will enable parent company Facebook to monetize the app. Ads in WhatsApp didn't work, but if Facebook can make WhatsApp a more critical business tool, it can then charge brands to use it, or take a percentage of transactions, while also becoming a critical platform for facilitating connection.
Given this, the addition of a dedicated shop tab is important, and will help to further normalize shopping behavior in the app.
Of course, this is not just relative to India. WhatsApp has 2 billion active users worldwide, presenting significant opportunity for many brands, in many regions, and if it can make in-stream shopping more habitual, that could present a range of opportunities for businesses within the app.
WhatsApp is not as big as Messenger in Western markets, but it's still significant, and additions like this are worth keeping tabs on as it continues to evolve into a much broader connective tool.