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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 is very, very keen to convert WhatsApp into a key platform for all sorts of interactive and transactional exchanges. However, conflicts with local regulators have slowed progress to this point.
Still, Meta is pushing ahead with the addition of a new business option called “WhatsApp Flows.” It will enable businesses in all regions to offer expanded functionality in the app.
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.
What is the opinion of WhatsApp?
WhatsApp says that, with Flows, businesses will be able to provide rich menus and customization forms that support different needs.
We will make Flows available to businesses around the world using the WhatsApp Business Platform in the coming weeks.
It is another move towards a more WeChat-style approach to messaging. It is the place where users are able to conduct a far broader range of activities within the app.
The next question is whether users actually want that, but it will provide more options to consider for brands in the app.
WhatsApp is 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.
The updated payment flow of WhatsApp will now support all UPI apps and debit and credit cards via a partnership with Razorpay and PayU. It will significantly expand its payment capacity in the region.
Meta is still 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. Still, its partnerships with local providers will enable broader payment options.
What more has Meta announced?
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 businesses on WhatsApp will get a blue checkmark, along with access to direct support. At the same time, they will also have the ability to create a custom WhatsApp page that is discoverable via a web search.
We will 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.
Meta has been making messaging a bigger focus of late, in line with shifting usage behaviors. It has seen more people moving away from public posting and towards private group interactions.
However, in India, it is even more pressing due to the popularity of WhatsApp and its capacity to become a bigger platform for all transactions.
Just 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.
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