Instant messaging platform WhatsApp launched a new feature on Wednesday that allows users to search for nearby businesses in the app for the first time. The test, which allows WhatsApp users in São Paulo, Brazil, to find stores and services through an application directory, is the latest feature in Facebook’s push to boost e-commerce on its services.
“We are creating modern yellow pages on WhatsApp where you can search and contact local businesses directly in the app. Launch in São Paulo today and hopefully elsewhere soon, ”Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday. Thousands of businesses in categories such as food, retail and local services will be included in the new test, according to WhatsApp, which will be carried out in some neighborhoods of São Paulo.
More than 175 million users per day
Even though the Facebook-owned messaging service is best known for its person-to-person messaging, e-commerce has become a bigger part of its offering in recent years. According to WhatsApp, more than 175 million people used the service every day to send messages to a WhatsApp business account last October.
WhatsApp has had a separate small business app since 2018, and has since been updated to include features like product catalogs and shopping carts. It has also started offering integrated payments in Brazil and India, allowing users to make purchases directly from companies and send money to friends and family.