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WhatsApp Adds 'Carts', Pushes Deeper into Commerce

WhatsApp on Tuesday said it was rolling out a 'carts' feature worldwide to make it easier for businesses to conduct transactions through the platform. Carts make it easy for users to shop using WhatsApp. “Using carts is easy. Simply find the items you want and tap “add to cart”. Once your cart is complete, send it as a message to the business”, WhatsApp wrote in a blog post announcing the feature. 

Last month, the Facebook-owned company made its shopping button live on its app, which allows people to discover catalogs of a business to get information about the goods and services offered by the firm. From WhatsApp announcement

“WhatsApp is fast becoming a store counter to discuss products and coordinate sales. Catalogs have allowed people to quickly see what’s available and helped businesses organize their chats around particular items. With more and more shopping happening through chats, we want to make buying and selling even easier.

Starting today, we’re excited to bring carts to WhatsApp. Carts are great when messaging businesses that typically sell multiple items at once, like a local restaurant or clothing store. With carts, people can browse a catalog, select multiple products and send the order as one message to the business. This will make it simpler for businesses to keep track of order inquiries, manage requests from customers and close sales.”

FS perspective

The announcement comes at a time when Facebook continues to push deeper into commerce across its platforms. On Facebook.com, the company has launched marketplace and shops and introduced new features and tools for pages to manage their businesses better on Facebook. 

The company has also been acting to put messaging at the center of customer management and shopping across platforms. To that end, it is pertinent to look into Facebook’s recent acquisition of Kustomer, a startup that offers “an omnichannel CRM platform that brings customer conversations from various channels together, including phone, email, webchat, and messaging, into a single-screen view.” 

WhatsApp itself is a messaging juggernaut for businesses. Take this from Facebook’s Kustomer acquisition announcement: “we’ve witnessed this shift firsthand as every day more than 175 million people contact businesses via WhatsApp. This number is growing because messaging provides a better overall customer experience and drives sales for businesses. To that end, we recently announced several API updates for WhatsApp and Messenger, allowing for further integration into our partners’ tools and faster onboarding to help businesses manage their communications with customers.” As I mentioned earlier, Facebook is a force in digital commerce across markets today. These developments around messaging and putting messaging at the center of shopping could just be the next evolution of commerce online. 

Learn more

Read our essay on Facebook’s excessive power in Dhaka’s ecommerce scene to understand the extent of Facebook's influence in digital commerce in Bangladesh here. 

Read WhatsApp’s cart announcement press release here

Read our coverage of Facebook’s coverage of Kustomer here

Read our essay on the launch of WhatsApp business and the future of customer service here.

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