Meta and an e-commerce venture between India’s Reliance Retail and Jio Platforms are bringing grocery shopping to WhatsApp in what they said was a global-first end-to-end shopping experience on the popular instant messaging platform.
The launch of JioMart on WhatsApp follows Meta and JioMart beginning to test an integration with select users two years ago. If successful, a commerce engine could prove to be a major source of revenue for WhatsApp, which has largely avoided serving ads to app users.
Customers in India will be able to browse JioMart’s entire grocery catalog on WhatsApp, add items to a cart and make the payments via local payments rail UPI without ever leaving the instant messaging service, the companies said.
WhatsApp, which is used by about half a billion Indians each month, got the approval to extend its UPI-powered payments service to 100 million users in the country earlier this year after several delays and setbacks.
“Excited to launch our partnership with JioMart in India. This is our first-ever end-to-end shopping experience on WhatsApp — people can now buy groceries from JioMart right in a chat. Business messaging is an area with real momentum and chat-based experiences like this will be the go-to way people and businesses communicate in the years to come,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said in a statement.
Meta is a significant minority investor in Jio Platforms, the country’s largest telecom subscriber with over 421 million subscribers. On Monday, Jio also announced it will be spending $25 billion to debut 5G services in the country in October this year and aims to reach “every town” in the South Asian market by end of next year.