Facebook adds stores to WhatsApp, among other ecommerce updates – TechCrunch
Facebook makes shopping for stuff even easier while you scroll through photos of your high school lab partner’s dog. Yes, Instagram stores and the Facebook Marketplace are already displayed prominently in the lower navigation tabs of apps. But now you can also buy on WhatsApp, as well as other updates.
Today, in a live audio room, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced three upcoming ecommerce updates for Facebook products: Shops on WhatsApp and Marketplace, Shops Ads and Instagram Visual Search.
“Over a billion people use Marketplace every month, so we’re making it easy for businesses to integrate their stores with Marketplace to reach even more people,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. When customers visit a store on WhatsApp, they have the option to chat with a business before they buy something.
During its F8 conference earlier this month, Facebook revealed updates to WhatsApp for Business. It used to take weeks to create a business account, but now businesses can sign up in just minutes. Although WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users worldwide, only around 175 million people message daily with WhatsApp Business accounts for things like customer support. Given that Facebook has pushed e-commerce to platforms like Instagram, it makes sense that this initiative extends to WhatsApp as well.
Store rollout in WhatsApp will begin soon, and store inventory in Marketplace is now available for stores in the United States with on-site payment.
The next feature, Shops Ads, aims to provide a more personalized shopping experience based on people’s individual buying habits. Zuckerberg said, “We’re launching the ability for a business to send buyers to where you’re most likely to make a purchase based on your buying behavior. As of now, dynamic AR ads are available in the United States – companies like Huda Beauty and Laura Mercier use these ads to allow customers to test lipstick shades with AR before making a purchase. These AR trial experiences are available through API integrations with Modiface and Perfect Corp. Earlier this year, Pinterest collaborated with ModiFace to launch an AR eyeshadow trial.
On Instagram, an AI-based visual search feature will be rolled out for testing in the coming months.
“A lot of shopping discoveries start with visual discovery, don’t you, so you see something that you think is awesome. And then, you know, maybe you want to see other products like that, or you want to know how to get that product, ”Zuckerberg explained. “And that’s the type of problem that AI can really help with.”
Using this AI, people will be able to upload their own photos – even ones they haven’t posted on Instagram – to find similar items. Facebook isn’t the first company to use this technology – see Cadeera, Donde Search, or Stye.ai, for example. But bringing this technology to major platforms could change the way we shop, which seems to be Facebook’s current focus.