WhatsApp is piloting a new business directory in São Paulo, Brazil that lets users find local shops and services with a presence on the app, the service’s head Will Cathcart has announced. Screenshots show how WhatsApp will show businesses sorted by categories like “grocery store” and “restaurant,” before letting users chat directly with them. Reuters reports that the test will include thousands of businesses in the city.
Although the Facebook-owned messaging service is most famous as a person-to-person messaging service, e-commerce has become an increasingly important part of its offering in recent years. As of last October, WhatsApp reported that over 175 million people globally used the service to message a WhatsApp business account every day.
WhatsApp has offered a standalone app for small businesses since 2018, and since then has added features like support for product catalogs and shopping carts. In Brazil and India, it’s also started offering in-app payments, letting users make purchases directly from businesses, in addition to sending money to friends and family.