Facebook's instant messaging platform WhatsApp expanded its offerings for business users on Wednesday. The company announced two new features that make WhatsApp Business, the new e-commerce side of the platform, more efficient and business-friendly. Features include better support for WhatsApp catalogs on desktop devices and the ability to hide out-of-stock items.
The instant messaging platform introduced its catalogs feature in 2019, allowing businesses to create a showcase and list of the products they sell. The company says it has more than 8 million business catalogs around the world, including 1 million in India. But businesses can only create and manage them from mobile for now.
With the new update, the same will be possible from WhatsApp web/desktop applications. This could be especially beneficial for established businesses, which have already digitized their systems with ERP software and more. WhatsApp may not allow the integration of these ERP systems, but it would at least allow companies to do all their work from desktop computers.
The second update allows businesses to temporarily hide unavailable items from customers. This feature is common among e-commerce platforms, grocery delivery, and food delivery service, where a dynamic storefront is required. Basically, it allows sellers to change their menus on the go, avoiding delivery delays or receiving orders for products that may not be available immediately.
Feature updates accelerate WhatsApp Business with competing platforms. While the company has been trying to get more small businesses, it competes with almost every delivery service on the market today. WhatsApp already has a large user base, but the full feature set will be just as important.
The company is only a month away from implementing its new privacy policies, which has gotten it in trouble with users and the Indian government. The new policies allow the company to share some data with partner businesses, which the Indian government has asked the Delhi High Court to block.
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