More than three years ago, businesses could chat with their customers through WhatsApp Business – the business application of the popular messaging client – but until now the only way a user can chat with a business is to know their phone number first. to be able to start a conversation, but this is going to change.
WhatsApp he has announced a pilot program to test a business directory in your application, starting testing at São Paulo (Brazil), because according to the company it is home to millions of small businesses.
This is the directory of nearby businesses
The nearby business directory will allow users to discover with which nearby businesses they can chat via whatsapp, thus avoiding that the user has to use Google search or Google Maps to find if that business has a mobile and if that mobile has WhatsApp.
As the testing phase is currently limited to São Paulo, Will cathcart, CEO of WhatsApp, has published some screenshots to show what this business directory will look like and how it will work.
The directory of ‘Nearby businesses’ is integrated into the ‘Contacts’ screen. There under the options of ‘New group’ and ‘New contact’ will be the new company directory. When entering ‘Nearby businesses’ we will see our position (with the option to change it) together with the different business categories, such as restaurants, education, supermarkets, clothing stores, etc …
When clicking on a category, WhatsApp will show us your closest businesses sorted by distance, showing their name, photo, time, street and their distance meters. By clicking on a business we will see its description with the accesses to chat or view its full profile. What it does not seem to have is a search engine, which at the moment is limited to showing the closest businesses.
If the WhatsApp pilot program is successful in Brazil, the company will gradually launch this directory of nearby businesses in more countries. What’s more, They do not rule out putting ads in this directory in the future to highlight businesses in the list.