A new business directory feature is coming to Brazil, the UK, Indonesia, Mexico, and Canada. Users will either be able to browse by business category, or they will be able to search for companies that are contactable on the service. In Brazil, the directory will be open to small businesses, as well as those who have signed up for the Business platform.

The feature is only available in Brazil but is also available in other countries.

People end up having to use work-arounds because Meta hasn't made it easy to discover businesses or buy from them. The ultimate goal is for you to be able to find, message and buy from a business all in the same chat.

The ultimate goal is for you to be able to find, message and buy from a business all in the same chat.

The launch of the feature comes at a time when the service is being marketed as a service for businesses and friends to use. According to Meta, 175 million people around the world usedWhatsApp to message business accounts daily. Enhancements to the service include support for in-app shopping carts.

In-app payments have been a long time coming. Following the launch of person-to-person payments in Brazil in 2020, the roll out of the end-to-end shopping experience in India has been slower.

The payments feature was suspended by the central bank of Brazil after it was launched. The central bank did not allow payments to merchants after gaining approval for peer-to-Peer payments. The Financial Times reported in April that Meta was struggling to find partners for its payment-to-merchant feature.

Screenshots showing WhatsApp’s payment interface.
Screenshots showing WhatsApp’s payment interface.
Image: Meta

The merchant payments feature is being tested with multiple payment partners, according to today's press release.

One of the few ways the service is monetized directly is through the business features of the app. It shows ads in a different way than Meta's other major services. Businesses don't have to pay to be included in the new feature. In the future, ads are likely to be a part of the business model of the company, according to an executive from Meta.