At first mention, WhatsApp introducing a shopping button or eCommerce link sounds a bit creepy, and like your allegedly encrypted chats might not be as private as you’d thought they were. But actually, this is a pretty cool feature and it’s only available for WhatsApp Business accounts.
WhatsApp say that over 175 million messages are exchanged with Business accounts every day. This tiny but significant addition to the WhatsApp Business app could make a really positive impact on so many independent businesses who have lost customers since the start of the pandemic.
The tiny button resembles a shop front, and features in the chat where the video phone and call icons currently sit.
Clicking on the button will keep you in WhatsApp but direct you to the shop of whichever business you’re chatting with, allowing you to make purchases within the app. This will add to WhatsApp’s overall dwell time (amount of time users spend in the app) and generally make them look pretty great.
This comes after WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, announced the integration of shoppable formats on Instagram in IGTV and potentially soon Reels. YouTube have also released a new eCommerce update, and TikTok have partnered with Shopify to allow users to shop from their videos, too.
This huge push from the big platforms signifies that eCommerce is a massive focus for businesses going forwards, which absolutely makes sense as due to the pandemic it’s becoming difficult for us to leave our houses and go to physical stores. Also the pandemic has reduced our disposable income thanks to redundancies and pay cuts, so it seems like merchants are hoping that if they stick buying opportunities in front of consumers where they already spend time (e.g. TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp) then we won’t be able to resist new purchases and will keep capitalism going and the world turning.
Which is probably true, tbh.