Meta Announces New Business Tools for WhatsApp as it Continues to Expand in India
Meta continues to expand its WhatsApp business push, with some new elements announced at its second annual Conversations conference in Mumbai today.
India has become a key focus on this front, with the nation now WhatsApp’s biggest usage region by far, with over 500 million users, and rising. Given its reach and ubiquity as a connection tool, Meta’s very keen to convert WhatsApp into a key platform for all sorts of interactive and transactional exchanges, though conflicts with local regulators have slowed progress to this point.
Still, Meta’s pushing ahead, with the addition of a new business option called “WhatsApp Flows” that will enable businesses, in all regions, to offer expanded functionality in the app.
As you can see in this example, with Flows, businesses on WhatsApp will be able to give users more capacity to conduct additional transactional processes, like “choosing your train seat, ordering a meal or booking an appointment – all without leaving your chat”.
As per WhatsApp:
“With Flows, businesses will be able to provide rich menus and customizable forms that support different needs. We’ll make Flows available to businesses around the world using the WhatsApp Business Platform in the coming weeks.”
It’s another move towards a more WeChat-style approach to messaging, where users are able to conduct a far broader range of activities within the app. The next question, then, is whether users actually want that, but it will provide more options to consider for brands in the app.
WhatsApp’s also expanding its in-stream payment options, with users in India now able to add items to their cart, and send a payment using the method of their choice.
WhatsApp’s updated payment flow will now support all UPI apps, debit and credit cards, via partnership with Razorpay and PayU, which will significantly expand its payment capacity in the region.
Meta’s still going to be somewhat restricted in how far it can expand payments (the Indian Government has given Meta approval to enable 100 million people to use its payment services in the region at present), but its partnerships with local providers will enable broader payment options.
Meta also announced that its Meta Verified program will soon be expanded to business profiles as well, with WhatsApp verification also set to be another offering within this element.
Verified business on WhatsApp will get a blue checkmark, along with access to direct support, while they’ll also have the ability to create a custom WhatsApp page that’s discoverable via a web search.
“We’ll begin testing Meta Verified soon with small businesses using the WhatsApp Business app before introducing it to businesses on the WhatsApp Business Platform in the future.”
As noted, Meta’s been making messaging a bigger focus of late, in line with shifting usage behaviors, which have seen more people moving away from public posting, and towards private group interactions. Though in India, it’s even more pressing, due to the popularity of WhatsApp, and its capacity to become a bigger platform for all transactions.
Like Elon Musk, Meta wants to make WhatsApp the Indian “everything app”. But pushing forward, under the watch of an increasingly wary Indian Government, will take time and patience.