It is no news that Facebook has been planning to turn its platforms including WhatsApp and try to make money from it. The company has now confirmed this to be in the works as they will start offering those services as it moves to boost revenue from it.
Facebook says it will increase ways for users to check out available products and make purchases right from a direct chat. This seems like a traditional in-app purchase the company looks to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features.
Through these changes, WhatsApp will enable businesses to sell products inside WhatsApp via Facebook Shops. This is an online store that was launched in May this year in a bid to offer a unified shopping experience across Facebook’s apps.
WhatsApp’s COO, Matt Idema, revealed that the shopping tool would start rolling out this year, while message hosting would launch in 2021.
Additionally, the service will also be available for free with an aim of trying to draw new paying customers to its enterprise tools.
Currently, WhatsApp has a relatively small customer base of tens of thousands of businesses, with tens of millions using its more limited free tools aimed at small businesses.
In total, more than 175 million people interact with a business each day on WhatsApp, Idema said. “The revenue is small today, by comparison to Facebook at large, but we think the opportunity is pretty big.”
However, chats with a business using the new hosting service will disclose that those conversations are stored elsewhere and not protected by the app’s end-to-end encryption.