At Facebook’s F8 developer conference in April the company announced a number of new offerings, among them WhatsApp Catalogs for small businesses. Facebook is now formally rolling it out in selected markets including Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, UK and the U.S., with more countries coming soon.

Showcase products or services. Catalog allows businesses on WhatsApp to showcase products and services and share them with customers via the app’s messaging function. Consumers can also discover businesses and see and browse products directly on the business profile.

The process is simple. Business owners upload images of products (or their work product), provide descriptions, product codes and pricing. They can also add URLs to product pages, menus and so on.

It’s not entirely clear but it doesn’t appear that businesses will be able (at this point) to sell directly on WhatsApp. But they can link to pages where products can be sold or other conversions can happen.

Why we should care. WhatsApp is positioning itself as a complete commerce platform for small businesses. Although transactional capabilities are currently not present, I would expect them to be introduced in the future.

While WhatsApp is not widely adopted in the U.S., it has massive global usage. It has more than 1 billion daily users and more than 1.5 billion users overall. Like Instagram, WhatsApp is a platform that Facebook needs to further monetize to drive continued revenue growth.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.



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