Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet to Amazon by announcing a raft of new shopping features for WhatsApp, Instagram, and its own online Marketplace.
One of the features is WhatsApp pay – in Beta in India.
“We have a test that is running in India for WhatsApp now, we’re hoping to launch in several other countries at some point, but I don’t want to put a timeframe on that here. It’s something that we’re actively working on,”Mark Zuckerberg
The social media giant said its 2.4bn users will soon be able to browse products, get recommendations from celebrities, organise shipping and make payments without ever leaving its “family” of three apps.
It appears to be banking on users’ feeling of connection to their friends and family on Facebook or to their idols on Instagram to give it an edge over e-commerce services such as Amazon and eBay.
The features are also an endorsement of Instagram’s thriving influencer market, in which online celebrities leverage their fame with product placements and endorsements, because they are likely to make such deals even more lucrative.
Speaking at Facebook’s annual conference on Tuesday, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said that the “future of shopping” would depend on the sway of content “creators” as well as just “brands and products”.
It is not yet clear if people can send each other money like Amazon used to have – with no fee – to accumulate points…