WhatsApp debuts new in-app shopping features and more

Completing a purchase within a WhatsApp chat
(Image credit: WhatsApp)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp introduced an in-app shopping capability that allows users to buy directly from merchants using the WhatsApp Business platform.
  • Meta notes that the feature is rolling out to businesses globally that are using the platform.
  • Other business features are rolling out, including easier payment functions and a verification process for businesses.

Lately, WhatsApp has been trying to move beyond basic chats. The Meta-owned platform started to prioritize e-commerce functions as part of its growth strategy — and now the platform is debuting new features that will further propel the WhatsApp Business platform.

At the company’s global Conversations event in Mumbai, WhatsApp introduced an in-app shopping feature for merchants and customers. Dubbed ”Flows,” the feature allows users to buy directly within the app from merchants using the app’s business platform. 

“We’re launching Flows so businesses can offer more experiences like quickly choosing your train seat, ordering a meal or booking an appointment – all without leaving your chat,” the company said in the announcement.

Meta promises that the feature, which allows businesses to provide their WhatsApp customers with menus and customizable forms, will be made available to businesses — at least, to those merchants using WhatsApp’s business platform — worldwide in the next few weeks.

WhatsApp's in-app shopping function, Flows.

(Image credit: WhatsApp)

Elsewhere on the app, the company also notes that it’s making it easier to complete a purchase within a chat. Within the app, users in India now have the ability to choose their preferred mode of payment from supported UPI apps, debit and credit cards, and more. WhatsApp is also partnering with payment partners, including RazorPay and PayU, to streamline the check-out experience. Earlier this year, the company had already introduced merchant payment support for users in Brazil. 

Further, the company is introducing a verification process for WhatsApp businesses to receive Meta-verified statuses and demonstrate their authenticity to users. The platform says that businesses that do this will receive a Meta-verified badge, enhanced account support, and identity protection. 

There are, of course, premium features as well for verified businesses that want to level up, which include the ability to create a custom WhatsApp page and multi-device support.

The company confirms that it will “begin testing Meta Verified soon with small businesses using the WhatsApp Business app,” which means it won’t be available on the Business platform just yet.