Messaging giant WhatsApp on Thursday rolled out the ‘Catalogs’ feature for WhatsApp Business app that will allow enterprises to showcase photographs of various products that potential customers can browse through. The new feature is intended to make it easier to learn about the products and services businesses offer.
Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, has been trying to boost revenue from higher-growth units like Instagram and Whatsapp, which has 1.5 billion users. The company’s flagship News Feed product continues to draw big ad dollars but is struggling to generate new users.
“Catalogs are a mobile storefront for businesses to showcase and share their goods. This will allow people to easily browse and discover something they would like to buy. Previously businesses had to send product photos one at a time and repeatedly provide information. Now customers can see their full catalog right within WhatsApp,” the company said in a statement.
WhatsApp says that this allows business owners to look more professional and keeps customers engaged in the chat without having to visit a website. The move comes after Facebook added a shopping feature to Instagram in March that lets users click a “checkout” option on items tagged for sale and pay for them directly within the app.
“Previously, businesses had to send product photos one at a time and repeatedly provide information now customers can see their full catalog right within WhatsApp. This makes business owners look more professional and keeps customers engaged in the chat without having to visit a website, it added. Moreover, the latest feature is meant to save storage space on the phones of both businesses and their customers.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced plans to shift the company’s focus to private chats, adding bots and augmented reality tools in recent years to encourage businesses to communicate with consumers on its messaging services.
This is the first major addition to WhatsApp Businesses in quite some time. The social messaging platform is looking for new ways to make revenue. By connecting businesses with customers, WhatsApp sees an opportunity to continue engaging its users.
WhatsApp Businesses is also seen as a potential death to SMS messaging. WhatsApp is rolling out the feature for both Android and iOS users in India, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, the UK, and the US. The feature will be released across the world soon.