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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

WhatsApp begins testing a yellow pages-style enterprise listing

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WhatsApp is piloting a brand new enterprise listing in São Paulo, Brazil that lets customers discover native retailers and companies with a presence on the app, the service’s head Will Cathcart has announced. Screenshots present how WhatsApp will present companies sorted by classes like “grocery retailer” and “restaurant,” earlier than letting customers chat immediately with them. Reuters reports that the take a look at will embody hundreds of companies within the metropolis.

Though the Fb-owned messaging service is most well-known as a person-to-person messaging service, e-commerce has develop into an more and more vital a part of its providing in recent times. As of final October, WhatsApp reported that over 175 million people globally used the service to message a WhatsApp enterprise account day by day.

WhatsApp has provided a standalone app for small companies since 2018, and since then has added options like assist for product catalogs and shopping carts. In Brazil and India, it’s additionally began providing in-app funds, letting customers make purchases directly from businesses, along with sending cash to family and friends.

However this e-commerce push created issues for WhatsApp earlier this yr when it updated its privacy policy. The modifications have been broadly interpreted as giving WhatsApp the power to share information from individuals’s private chats with Fb, when in truth the modifications solely utilized to chats with companies, which can see information saved on Fb servers. The brand new coverage generated an outcry, with WhatsApp opponents Telegram and Signal reporting a surge in new customers in response.

Cathcart said WhatsApp just isn’t logging customers’ location or which companies they browse when utilizing the brand new listing function.

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In addition to its app for small companies, WhatsApp additionally provides a WhatsApp Enterprise API to attach bigger companies with clients. It’s notable for being one of many few methods WhatsApp is monetized directly, because it at present doesn’t present advertisements like Fb and Instagram. Though WhatsApp reportedly backed down from its immediate plans to show in-app ads last year, Fb’s vp of enterprise messaging Matt Idema instructed Reuters that “over the long run” he expects advertisements to be a part of WhatsApp’s enterprise mannequin “in some type or one other.”

Though the pilot is restricted to 1 metropolis in Brazil for now, Idema mentioned that India and Indonesia have been among the many candidates for growth sooner or later.

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