You can now find businesses and shop on WhatsApp

You can now search for businesses on WhatsApp as well as make a secure payment with a credit or debit card right from the chat screen.

Two phone screenshots set against a solid light-green background showcasing searching for business on WhatsApp by name and category
Search businesses by name or browse by category | Image: Meta
  • What’s happening? Meta-owned WhatsApp has rolled out the ability to find and message businesses, as well as purchase stuff, from within the app.
  • Why care? You can browse small businesses by category or name, which wasn’t possible before. You can also shop and pay securely via WhatsApp.
  • What to do? Update WhatsApp to get this feature (in supported countries).

WhatsApp business search goes live in select countries

WhatsApp head Will Cathcart announced on Twitter that people in select countries can now search for small businesses on WhatsApp like restaurants and stores—either by browsing a list of categories, such as travel, automotive, banking or entertainment, or by typing the name.

If you already have this feature, open your contacts list in WhatsApp where you should find a shortcut labeled Discover Businesses, Businesses or some such.

You can only search for and contact companies participating in the WhatsApp Business Platform. According to the WhatsApp FAQ, businesses can position themselves for those searches by sending a request to join the WhatsApp business directory. Read: 5 tips for effective searching in macOS Notes

Meta says queries are processed “in a way that cannot be linked back to your account” without revealing further info. WhatsApp business directory is accessible on the mobile app for iOS [App Store link] and Android, the web and desktop.

Where is WhatsApp business search available?

Two phone screenshots set against a solid light-green background showcasing searching for nearby grocery stores in Brazil
Finding nearby grocery stores on WhatsApp in Brazil | Image: Meta

Meta announced on the WhatsApp blog that it launched the new feature on November 18, 2022, in a handful of countries: the United Kingdom, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Mexico. In Brazil, you can also search for small businesses near you.

It wouldn’t say when WhatsApp business search might reach other countries. At the time of writing, this feature was unavailable in the United States.

“We think search will make it way easier for people and businesses to get in touch on WhatsApp, and we’re looking forward to making it better and available in more countries over time,” Cathcart noted.

Buying from businesses from within WhatsApp

Once you find your favorite grocery store, hair salon or other small business on WhatsApp, you can message them directly in the app and even buy stuff. The buyer makes a secure payment with their credit or debit card right from a chat. WhatsApp has partnered with multiple payment partners to support this feature.

“This seamless checkout experience will be a game-changer for people and businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person,” the company notes.