Meta has taken the next steps in its gradual push towards in-stream commerce on WhatsApp, with the expansion of WhatsApp payments to SMBs in Brazil.
As explained by WhatsApp:
“Starting today people across Brazil will be able to pay their local small business right within a WhatsApp chat. This seamless and secure checkout experience will be a game-changer for people and small businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person.”
Brazilian users can already search for businesses within WhatsApp, and check out their offerings within a DM chat, and they’ll now also be able to pay in-stream, which will provide more ways for businesses to conduct transactions via private chat.
WhatsApp is the most popular app in Brazil, with over 147 million users in the region. In fact, research shows that up to 96% of the Brazilian population is active on the platform, making it the key connective tool, and an essential utility in many respects.
Meta’s been working to capitalize on this by offering more functionality within WhatsApp, with Brazil, India and Indonesia presenting key opportunities to expand its payment processes, and make it an even more critical app to these communities.
Facilitating business payments is one thing, but Meta’s also looking to build in fast and fee-free funds transfers for remittance, which would be another way to build in financial transactions via message, helping to increase reliance and trust in the app for such purpose.
And from there, business transactions would logically flow, making WhatsApp a more valuable addition, both for local users and for Meta, which would then be able to generate more direct revenue from the app.
Making money from WhatsApp has been a long-term challenge for Meta, which paid $19 billion for the messaging platform in 2019. The difficulty is that most people only want to use messaging apps for messaging, which makes advertising and business processes less welcome, limiting monetization opportunities.
But with more people increasingly turning to messaging apps to interact, as opposed to posting to social feeds, Meta’s now made this a bigger priority, while maximizing the opportunities of WhatsApp in these developing regions has also been a long-term investment.
Regulatory hurdles have impeded progress, which is why the capacity to enable new forms of payment is always a big step, and a big advance for the next stage of the business.
It could be the future of online shopping, for some regions at least.
The new WhatsApp payments for SMBs will be rolling out to selected businesses initially, before being expanded in availability later this year.