(AFP) — WhatsApp on Tuesday added virtual shopping carts people can load with purchases and then use to fire off orders to businesses as the Facebook-owned messaging service pushed deeper into e-commerce.
More than 175 million people contact businesses via WhatsApp daily, according to the service, and the new feature is aimed at making it easier for them to use the service for holiday shopping.
“WhatsApp is fast becoming a store counter to discuss products and coordinate sales,” the service said in a blog post.
“With more and more shopping happening through chats, we want to make buying and selling even easier.”
WhatsApp already let users browse online catalogs from shops.
The addition of a “carts” feature lets people combine multiple items into a single ordered set via WhatsApp instead of tending to transactions separately, according to the service.
“Carts are great when messaging businesses that typically sell multiple items at once, like a local restaurant or clothing store,” WhatsApp said.
“People can browse a catalog, select multiple products and send the order as one message to the business.”
The carts feature went live globally at WhatsApp.
Addition of the feature came less than a month after Facebook announced a deal to buy Kustomer, a five-year-old startup specialising in helping businesses interact with customers online.
Facebook has been steadily weaving e-commerce into offerings, particularly its WhatsApp and Messenger messaging services.
The Kustomer platform provides software tools to help business representatives better tend to customer queries or concerns.