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  • Writer's pictureYash Gupta

WhatsApp Unveils 'Flows' Feature to Elevate In-App Shopping and Business Interactions

WhatsApp flow automation

WhatsApp is enhancing its shopping capabilities for both merchants and users with an innovative feature known as "Flows." This feature allows users to complete various tasks, such as reserving a flight seat or scheduling appointments, all within the app without the need to navigate to external websites.

For merchants, WhatsApp is introducing a set of versatile building blocks, including text boxes, calendars, and seat pickers, to create these seamless in-app experiences. These tools will soon be made available to businesses to elevate their customer interactions. Flows open up numerous possibilities, including booking appointments, customizing products, logging into accounts, filling out forms, and registering for events, as outlined in WhatsApp's support page.

WhatsApp has been actively testing Flows with select businesses, including Brazilian bank Banco Pan, retailer MagaLu, Lenovo, Indian travel service redBus, India-based bank SBI, and car-reselling platform Spinny.

Nikila Srinivasan, VP of business messaging at Meta (WhatsApp's parent company), expressed the company's commitment to enhancing the shopping and e-commerce experience. The objective is to facilitate business interactions within the chat thread, creating richer, more engaging customer experiences – and Flows plays a pivotal role in achieving this.

Srinivasan emphasized that while Flows initially caters to e-commerce, WhatsApp aims to extend these enriched experiences to various types of businesses.

Notably, Meta is not introducing separate charges for merchants using Flows; instead, this feature fits within the existing payment model. WhatsApp currently charges businesses for conversations within a 24-hour window, categorized into marketing, utility, authentication, and service. For example, a customer's request to schedule an appointment would likely fall under the utility category.

Whatsapp flow automation

Furthermore, WhatsApp is expanding its payment partner ecosystem for customer checkouts in India, a market where it boasts over 500 million users. While WhatsApp had previously partnered with Reliance Jio for end-to-end shopping experiences, customers were limited to making payments exclusively through WhatsApp Pay using the UPI network. Now, the platform has joined forces with payment gateway providers Razorpay and PayU, enabling users to make payments through other UPI apps, credit cards, and debit cards.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp introduced merchant payments in Brazil and Singapore. The revenue model for WhatsApp Business hinges on encouraging merchants to engage in more conversations and complete transactions. With the introduction of Flows and expanded payment support in India, WhatsApp is poised to foster end-to-end shopping experiences, ultimately driving increased business interactions.

WhatsApp has seen significant growth in its Business app, surpassing 200 million monthly active users earlier this year. Today, the platform is also testing personalized messages for merchants, a feature announced in June. This feature enables businesses to send customized messages, such as discounts and offers, to select customers.


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