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You thought shopping on WhatsApp would never come? Here it is!

WhatsApp Shopping
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Meta just launched the very first end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp. It allows users to browse, shop, and pay (!) for groceries directly on WhatsApp from India's online grocery store JioMart.

There has been a lot of talk about more in-app options for businesses on WhatsApp. This year, we're finally seeing some actions. WhatsApp is heavily working on launching WhatsApp Payments in Brazil for payments between users and companies, and just this week Meta announced another brand new in-app feature: end-to-end shopping on WhatsApp.

For this, WhatsApp has partnered with JioMart, an online grocery marketplace in India. JioMart customers can now browse for products, put them in their shopping carts, and, most importantlay, now also pay for them — all without ever having to leave the WhatsApp chat.

Shopping on WhatsApp: This is how it works!

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new partnership bewteen Meta and JioMart this Monday on Facebook, and coined it as the "first-ever end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp".

shopping on WhatsApp announcement, Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg announces launch of end-to-end shopping on WhatsApp. (Source: Facebook)

The idea of in-app shopping on India's favorite messaging app is pretty straightforward. Instead of going to JioMart's website, people can just pull up the product catalog on WhatsApp by simply sending "Hi" to JioMart's WhatsApp number. Here, they can browse products, and place them in their shopping carts.

WhatsApp shopping JioMart India
JioMart's product catalog is directly available on WhatsApp. (Source: Meta)

And now comes the new part! Once a customer has finished shopping, they can then move on to the payment process on WhatsApp as well. And here they will now find the brand-new option of paying directly on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Pay, JioMart
Shop and pay directly with WhatsApp in the JioMart Shop. (Source: Meta)

Before, customers had to use an external payment link to complete the purchase. Now, with the new in-app payment option, the entire shopping experience can happen on WhatsApp. This is meant to make it easier for Indians, who primarily surf on mobile devices, to access online services. Being able to complete an entire shopping experience on WhatsApp will therefore make grocery shopping more accessible, says Meta.

"The launch is part of a strategic partnership between Meta and Jio Platforms to accelerate India’s digital transformation and provide people and businesses of all sizes opportunities to connect in new ways, fueling economic growth in the country."


Will there be a global rollout of WhatsApp shopping?

The possibility to shop and pay directly on WhatsApp, without ever having to leave the chat, is a feature many companies have waited for. Being able to start and finish an entire shopping process in the app will make the customer experience much smoother.

So when will other businesses in other countries will be able to use the in-app shopping feature?

It's unclear at this point if the end-to-end shopping feature will roll out globally. Meta hasn't mentioned any launch plans beyond its project with Jio Platforms. However, as Meta has gradually expanded business features on its messaging platforms, like in-chat payments on Instagram or bulk messaging on Facebook, it's likely that there could be a broader launch of the end-to-end shopping feature in the future.

Yet: Since the in-app payment process works with WhatsApp Payments, the rollout might also depend on the availability of WhatsApp Payments in your country. You can check if WhatsApp Payments is available to you by going to the settings of your WhatsApp Business profile. If the "Payments" option appears, you can connect a bank account through Meta Pay, and then receive in-chat payments. If this option is not available to you, there's an alternative!

Alternatives for letting your customers shop on WhatsApp?

For e-commerce companies without the WhatsApp Pay option, there's a possibility to still enable a shopping experience on WhatsApp: through check-out links. These lead a user outside the chat to a payment platform like PayPal. It's not as smooth as the in-chat payment, but still provides a decent customer experience for shopping on WhatsApp.

Another alternative is, of course, to switch from WhatsApp to a different messaging app. Through the Messenger on Facebook, Instagram Direct, Telegram, KakaoTalk, Viber, and Apple Messages for Business, there are convenient in-app payment options already available that could serve as an alternative to WhatsApp Payments.

Alternatively (and more conveniently!), if you're using a professional platform for messaging apps like WhatsApp, such as Sinch Engage, you can simply work with e-commerce integrations, such as Shopify for an integrated conversational commerce experience.

Sinch Engage is a ready-to-go software that enables you to communicate with your customers on virtually any messaging app, from WhatsApp to Telegram to iMessage, and seamlessly combine messaging with e-commerce. Check it out here!

You want to find out more about the possibilities of Sinch Engage for conversational commerce?

Try it out for free!

Image of Marinela Potor, editor-in-chief at Sinch Engage.
Written by: Marinela Potor