WhatsApp is testing local business directories to help customers find local shops, cafes, and more
WhatsApp has grown to be more than just a simple messaging app in recent years. It has 2.5 billion active worldwide users, it’s the primary messaging application of many users, and it’s even partially a payment application in some places. In some places, it’s the best and easiest way to contact a business. Now, the company is testing out the addition of local business directories to help customers to find local shops, cafes, and more.
We’re kicking this off in São Paulo which is home to millions of small businesses. For those who aren’t in São Paulo to try it out, here’s what it looks like: pic.twitter.com/cMu9DwlUYw
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) September 15, 2021
The test is currently live in São Paulo, Brazil, home to millions of small businesses. In an interview with Reuters, Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of business messaging, said that India and Indonesia are likely good candidates for expanding the feature. Idema told Reuters that previously, businesses were promoting their WhatsApp numbers on packaging or websites or using Facebook ads to bring users into chats on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has also said that it will not be storing the location of people or their search results. Given that the company has been under fire recently from the Irish Data Protection Commission and was fined €225 million, it’s possible that it wishes to play as safe as possible with user data for the moment.
In the same interview, Idema said that WhatsApp still intends to add advertisements to the app. “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,” he said. WhatsApp says about one million advertisers currently use Facebook and Instagram’s ‘click to WhatsApp’ ads to send users to the messaging app. WhatsApp has shopping tools like product catalogs and shopping carts that consumers use to purchase from businesses on WhatsApp.