Meta has added new business directory features to WhatsApp for users in Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia, and the UK.
Users on the encrypted messaging service will now be able to browse businesses by category – for example, travel or banking – or search for one by name to find it. And it will potentially save people from having to find phone numbers on websites or searching through their contacts list.
In Brazil, the business directory search function will also list small businesses as well, and it is also testing in-chat secure payments in the region.
What’s next for Whatsapp?
The news comes as Meta may be trying to squeeze out more revenue from the 175 million people it says use a WhatsApp business account every day, as advertising revenue from its core Facebook and Instagram businesses decline.
Facebook announced its first-ever decline in users in February 2022, and in October 2022 it posted a 4% year-on-year revenue decline in the three months from July through September.
The tech giant began testing a payments service in Brazil in 2020 but struggled to get approval from the Brazilian central bank alongside the necessary partners to make it work.
In April, WhatsApp received approval for WhatsApp to extend its payments service to an additional 100 million users in the Indian market, out of the over 400 million people in India who use the service.
We may be seeing a closer convergence between WhatsApp and the business world. At Dreamforce 2022, Salesforce claimed it will give businesses a new way to communicate with customers via WhatsApp integrations with multiple Salesforce CRM applications.
Salesforce claimed the integration will create more “convenient, integrated and personalized experiences between people and businesses”.