WhatsApp To Expand In-App Shopping With 'Flows'

In the coming months, merchants on Meta’s encrypted instant messaging service WhatsApp will begin to see a wider range of tools they can use to offer services to their customers, such as booking appointments, customizing a product, filling out and submitting forms, signing up for events and promotions, and more. 

“This means that customers using these services can perform several actions without having to leave Whatsapp,” the company wrote in a support page for the upcoming feature, called Flows.

The company told TechCrunch that it has been testing Flows with businesses such as Brazilian bank Banco Pan, retailer MagaLu, Lenovo, Indian travel service Redbus, India-based bank SBI, and the car reselling platform, Spinny. 



“Shopping & e-commerce is one of the biggest verticals we want to focus on,” said Nikila Srinivasan, VP of business messaging at Meta. “The goal is to enable business messaging in a way that businesses and people can do a lot more right in the chat thread. We are trying to build rich experiences within the chat, and that’s where Flows comes in.”

To deliver in-app services for their customers, merchants will have a variety of building blocks, including a text box, a calendar, a seat picker and more, reported TechCrunch. 

As it rolls out, Flows will likely focus on attracting e-commerce businesses, though the company wants to expand the feature to accommodate a broader range of businesses as well. 

Flows will be included under the current payment model for the WhatsApp Business app, which the company said earlier this year had passed 200 million monthly active users. 

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