WhatsApp has announced plans to integrate an in-app purchase feature in it platform that would allow users to shop directly on the app.
The announcement was made by WhatsApp parent company Facebook who also disclosed that WhatsApp has become a simple and convenient resource for connecting customers and businesses. On average, the company says more than 175 million people message a business on WhatsApp every day.
The social media giant is now expanding its e-commerce features to enable users to shop directly on WhatsApp via Facebook Shops, which was launched in May.
Facebook Shops allows business owners to list products and showcase them on Facebook, Instagram and soon WhatsApp. This is part of the company’s long-term future plan of integrating its different apps.
WhatsApp’s chief operating officer, Matt Idema, said in an interview that the shopping tool would start rolling out this year, while message hosting would become available in 2021.
Idema said WhatsApp would offer the hosting service for free to try to draw new paying customers to its enterprise tools, which charge 0.5 cents to 9 cents per message delivered.
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,” he said.
Most of the business features are offered for free to users for now but WhatsApp will soon begin to charge for those services.
The company will also enter the cloud computing sector, offering firms who use its customer service messaging tools the ability to store those messages on Facebook servers.