In a bid to boost revenue and e-commerce infrastructure across the company, Facebook Inc has announced that the popular WhatsApp, messaging app would start to offer in-app purchases and hosting services. WhatsApp has around 50 million business customers worldwide, and in the coming days, the company will let the users make purchases directly from a chat.
WhatsApp is also set to enter the cloud computing sector, through which it is going to offer firms who use its customer service messaging tools, the ability to store those messages on Facebook servers. Businesses will now be able to sell products through WhatsApp via Facebook Shops.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook Shops: "It is the biggest step the company has taken to unify e-commerce across its family of apps."
Facebook Shops will allow businesses of all sizes to set up an integrated online storefront for customers on both Facebook and Instagram. A dedicated navigation bar is also next in line for both the apps. Facebook may also integrate messaging capabilities via WhatsApp and Messenger later this year.
The company has announced Facebook Shops at a time when many businesses have suffered due to COVID-19. Facebook Shops will help sellers who haven’t been able to make the transition from offline to online commerce and will also open the door to smaller or first-time retailers. Facebook Shops is free to use and is designed to make shopping easier and more seamless for both customers and the businesses selling on the platform.
Facebook Inc, the world's largest social media company has been planning to increase sales from higher growth units such as WhatsApp and Instagram, which it bought in the year 2014 for $19 billion.
Facebook Hosting Service
Facebook hosting services will now be charging the customers to use the WhatsApp for Business feature. The new hosting service will be offered for free in order to attract new paying customers to its enterprise tools. These cost about 0.5 cents to 9 cents per message delivered.
The chats with any business through the new hosting service will not be protected by end-to-end encryption.
WhatsApp’s chief operating officer, Matt Idema, confirmed that that the shopping platform will be available this year, whereas, the message hosting app would be rolled out into 2021. He further assured that Facebook Inc will not be using the data on its servers for other business purposes.
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.