You Thought Shopping on WhatsApp Would Never Come? Here it is!
Meta has just launched the very first end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp. It allows users to browse and shop groceries from India’s online grocery store JioMart.
There has been a lot of talk about more in-app options for businesses on WhatsApp. This year, we are finally seeing some actions. WhatsApp is heavily working on launching WhatsApp Pay in Brazil for payments between users and companies, and just this week Meta announced another brand new in-app feature: end-to-end shopping on WhatsApp.
For this, WhatsApp has partnered with JioMart, an online grocery store in India. JioMart customers can now browse for products, put them in their shopping carts, and pay for them—all without leaving the WhatsApp chat.
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Shopping on WhatsApp: This is how it works!
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new partnership this Monday on Facebook.
The idea of in-app shopping on India’s favorite messaging app is pretty straightforward. Instead of going to JioMart’s website, people can just pull up the product catalog on WhatsApp by simply sending “Hi” to JioMart’s WhatsApp number. Here, they can browse products, and place them in their shopping carts.
Once a customer has finished shopping, they can then move on to the payment process. And here they will now find the brand-new option of paying directly on WhatsApp.
The new in-app payment option is meant to make it easier for Indians, who primarily surf on mobile devices, to access online services. And even though India’s digitalization is moving at full speed, a vast part of the population still doesn’t have access to the internet. Being able to complete an entire shopping experience on WhatsApp will therefore make grocery shopping more accessible, says Meta.
The launch is part of a strategic partnership between Meta and Jio Platforms to accelerate India’s digital transformation and provide people and businesses of all sizes opportunities to connect in new ways, fueling economic growth in the country.
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Will there be a global rollout of WhatsApp shopping?
The possibility to shop and pay directly on WhatsApp, without ever having to leave the chat, is a feature many companies have waited for. Being able to start and finish an entire shopping process in the app will make the customer experience much smoother.
So when will other businesses in other countries will be able to use the in-app shopping feature?
It’s unclear at this point if the end-to-end shopping feature will roll out globally. Meta has not mentioned any launch plans beyond its project with Jio Platforms. However, as Meta has gradually expanded business features on its messaging platforms, like in-chat payments on Instagram or bulk messaging on Facebook, it is likely that there could be a broader launch of the end-to-end shopping feature in the future.
Yet: Since the in-app payment process works with WhatsApp Payments, the rollout might also depend on the availability of WhatsApp Pay in your country. And currently, WhatsApp Pay is only available in India, in Brazil (for peer-to-peer payments), and for some select users in the US.
You can check if WhatsApp Payments is available to you by going to the settings of your WhatsApp Business profile. If the “Payments” options appears, you can connect a bank account through Meta Pay, and then receive in-chat payments. If this option is not available to you, there is an alternative.
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Alternatives for letting your customers shop on WhatsApp?
For e-commerce companies without the WhatsApp Pay option, there is one possibility to still enable a shopping experience on WhatsApp: through check-out links. Providers like Hey Charles allow you to create and post these links in a chat with a customer. These lead a user outside the chat to a payment platform like PayPal. It is not as smooth as the in-chat payment, but still provides a decent customer experience for shopping on WhatsApp.
Another alternative is, of course, to switch to a different messaging app. Through the Messenger on Facebook, Instagram Direct, Telegram, KakaoTalk, Viber, and Apple Messages for Business, there are convenient in-app payment options available that could serve as an alternative to WhatsApp Pay.
One of the easiest ways to offer your customers access to these different messaging payment options is to use a professional software like the Messenger Communication Platform from MessengerPeople by Sinch.
As a company with seven years of experience and as an official Meta Business Solution Provider, MessengerPeople has created a ready-to-go software that enables you to communicate with your customers on virtually any messaging app, from WhatsApp to Telegram to iMessage. Check it out here!
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