WhatsApp to Boost Investments in Business Features

The Facebook-owned messaging app eyes shopping, hosting services, business sales

Over 175 million people message WhatsApp Business accounts every day WhatsApp

WhatsApp said Thursday that it will increase investment in three areas for businesses on its platform: shopping, Facebook hosting services and business sales.

The Facebook-owned messaging application said in a blog post Thursday that over 175 million people message WhatsApp Business accounts every day, adding, “There is much more we need to build. For the past two years, we’ve provided the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API (application-programming interface) to help businesses of all sizes manage their chats. We’ve listened to feedback on what’s worked and believe WhatsApp can help make messaging the best way for consumers and businesses to connect.”

WhatsApp said it will expand ways for users to see available products from businesses and to complete purchases directly in chats.

It also pledged to seek ways to make it easier for businesses to integrate new features from WhatsApp into their existing ecommerce and customer solutions systems.

On that note, in July, WhatsApp enabled users to scan QR codes displayed by businesses on their storefronts, product packing or receipts in order to initiate chats with those businesses, rather than having to add those businesses’ WhatsApp numbers to their contacts.

WhatsApp said it plans to expand its partnerships with business solutions providers in the coming months, and it will provide a new option enabling businesses to manage their messages via hosting services that parent company Facebook plans to offer.

The company wrote, “Providing this option will make it easier for small and midsized businesses to get started, sell products, keep their inventory up to date and quickly respond to messages they receive—wherever their employees are.”

Finally, WhatsApp said it will charge business customers for some of the services it offers in order to continue building its own business while expanding the availability of its free flagship messaging app.

WhatsApp wrote, “We know that most people will continue to use WhatsApp simply to communicate with friends and family, which is why we will keep developing great new features and protect people’s private conversations. We believe these additional experiences on WhatsApp meet a real need for many people and businesses, whether they are around the corner or across the world. We’re excited about what lies ahead, and we’ll gradually roll out these services in the months to come.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.