A HUGE WhatsApp update is adding shops into the app.
The Facebook-led change means that you’ll now be able to search for and buy items in the chat app.
WhatsApp Shops will let you find and buy productsCredit: Facebook / WhatsApp
WhatsApp launched as a messaging app way back in 2009.
But it was eventually bought by Facebook in 2014, and has been steadily upgraded with extra features ever since.
The latest is Shops, which lets businesses offer up virtual storefronts in the app.
It’s not a huge surprise, given that sister apps Facebook and Instagram both already have shopping functionality.
WhatsApp has changed dramatically in recent yearsCredit: Facebook / WhatsApp
Anyone with a business can set up a Shop in WhatsApp.
WhatsApp users will be able to check out items, and buy products that they like.
And because it’s in WhatsApp, you’ll also be able to chat with sellers about the products too.
The change was announced by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg in a blog post.
“Soon you’ll be able to view a Shop in WhatsApp so you can chat with a business before buying something,” Zuckerberg explained.
“Businesses only need to set up their shop once to have it work across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here’s what you need to know…
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
- It’s one of the most popular messaging services in the world
- Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “what’s up”
- After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
- As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
It means that anyone who has already created an Instagram Shop will be able to instantly get it working on WhatsApp.
So there should be no shortage of WhatsApp Shops available at launch.
Facebook says that Shops is rolling out to WhatsApp soon, although it’s likely to be limited to the US initially.
Once you get the update, you’ll be able to easily access a Shop by tapping on a business’s WhatsApp in-app.
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