WhatsApp Business opened the door for businesses to communicate with their consumers through WhatsApp, as long as customers manually add the profile to their phonebook or QR code. A new trial debuting in Brazil adds a directory of nearby businesses that use WhatsApp.
WhatsApp will help you find businesses that use WhatsApp under the guise of local companies, allowing you to sort by a number of different company categories. All this, says Will Cathcart, privately, without sharing your location or which businesses you search for with Facebook.
WhatsApp allows you to find businesses to chat with
WhatsApp has started a test of a business directory in a nearby location, usually in your location. This test starts for the moment in Brazil, with an eye on possible further expansion to India and Indonesia. If successful, it could eventually be extended to more cities.
So far, WhatsApp company profiles have been quite similar to those of other people: you must contact them manually by phone number or using a link or QR code. This business directory adds a new way to do it: from WhatsApp itself.
The feature is integrated unobtrusively when you start a new message, with a new icon called Nearby Businesses. Tapping on it displays the list of available categories, as well as the location being used for the search. It is possible to change this location to search for businesses with WhatsApp in other locations.
The categories are arranged in order from closest to the center of your location to most distant. The list has the business’s name, photograph, address, and distance from you. Tapping on one of them expands the information, with two buttons available: chat or view profile.
This test will provide more exposure to businesses that use WhatsApp for communication, but it’s not yet clear whether a search engine or business results will be combined with the contact search engine.
This feature, according to the tweet from Cathcart, is private and does not include Facebook information about locations or sectors of businesses you negotiate for when utilizing the business directory. It’s still a test at this time: we’ll see if it spreads to other areas in the coming months.