Meta selects India for WhatsApp’s first e-commerce service • The Register

Meta’s messaging service WhatsApp will launch its first end-to-end e-commerce service in India through an alliance with Jio Platforms, the digital business and mobile subsidiary of giant conglomerate Reliance Industries.

“This is our first ever end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp – people can now buy groceries from JioMart directly in a chat. Business messaging is an area of ​​real dynamism, and chat-based experiences like this will be the preferred way for people and businesses to communicate with each other for years to come,” said Mark Zuckerberg in a launch Notice published on Monday.

The WhatsApp shopping experience is limited to India and the online grocery store known as the JioMart catalogue. The service is initiated by sending “Hello” to the JioMart phone number on WhatsApp.

The messaging app that was once considered a haven of encryption and user privacy, it was Bought by Facebook Inc, now Meta, in 2014 for $19 billion. WhatsApp is free and Meta is struggling to monetize the service. How the Indian e-commerce connection could solve this problem has not been explained.

Meta also owns one piece of Jio Platforms after depositing $5.7 billion for a 9.99 percent stake in April 2022. Money will likely flow to Meta as a result of this deal, perhaps to show how the company intends to capitalize on WhatsApp’s more than two billion users.

At the time of its investment in Jio, the company formerly known as Facebook said the deal aims to “create new ways for people and businesses to work more effectively in the growing digital economy,” including a collaboration with JioMart to help customers connect to enable and buy from local businesses via WhatsApp.

The transaction also gave Meta a foothold in India, a nation that has opposed the company’s plans. Some of Meta’s previous efforts to launch initiatives in India have been criticized as anti-competitive, such as a plan to offer free internet access tied to Facebook supervisors killed in 2015. This proposed service would have used Reliance Communications networks.

India has generally tried to curb the market power of tech giants, sometimes through legislation and also with a government independent e-commerce aggregator designed to enable small retailers to sell online without having to compete with the Amazon or Walmart controlled Flipkart. of India Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, Eloquently demonstrating government policy with a ban on flash sales – a tactic used by big tech companies to dominate markets – and a requirement that users be able to identify imported goods sold on online marketplaces .

E-commerce in India is currently dominated by the likes of Amazon and Flipkart, each holding about a third of the market share. It’s hard to imagine how outsiders will make their way, but Reliance Jio’s 400+ million users give Meta a good starting point.

But massive presence alone is no guarantee of success. Tata, the conglomerate that also owns tech outsourcer Tata Consulting Services, calls itself an e-commerce app Tata New in May 2022.

Unfortunately, the app flopped and users complained of inconsistent experiences when servers crashed – a bad look for a company that claims to build systems for other companies. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/30/whatsapp_getting_ecommerce_functionality_in/ Meta selects India for WhatsApp’s first e-commerce service • The Register

Laura Coffey

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