WhatsApp is launching an in-app local business directory. The new feature will help users find and contact small-scale businesses in their neighborhood, such as coffee shops, restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, and more, all within the messaging app. The company is starting to pilot this feature in Sao Paulo, Brazil, CEO Will Cathcart has confirmed.
Users can look for businesses on WhatsApp through the floating “new chat” icon in the bottom right corner of the main chat list. Here, we have a new “Businesses nearby” option under the existing “new group” and “New contact” options. Tapping this button will show you a list of various business types nearby your current location. You can select a business type to find all such businesses in your neighborhood. You can also filter the results to find exactly what you are looking for.
WhatsApp will show the name of the shop, brief address, distance from your location, and whether the shop is open or closed. You can tap on a shop to know more about it, including their business description and full address. If you want to chat with that business, you have a chat option as well.
Will says WhatsApp will not save your location or what businesses you browse. Perhaps you can use the business directory feature on WhatsApp without giving location access to it. The app will use your phone number to determine your approximate location and show available businesses accordingly. You can manually input a location as well.
Even if you choose to share your current location for more accurate results, your location is converted into an imprecise location. So neither WhatsApp nor the businesses in the directory will be able to see your exact location. Moreover, the company says the location data is stored locally on your phone. Meaning you can erase your stored location at any time. WhatsApp has set up an FAQ to help you with your location privacy.
WhatsApp business directory will expand to more cities in the coming months
This feature not only serves users but also helps businesses expand their reach and connect with new customers. If you are a business owner looking to list your business on WhatsApp’s directory, the company has provided all the information you need here. Keep in mind that the feature is only available in one city in Brazil.
CEO Will said the company will look to expand the business directory feature within WhatsApp to more cities over the next few months. It may also include more business types in the directory over time based on the user feedback. We will let you know as and when this feature arrives in other regions.