(Pocket-lint) - WhatsApp is debuting a new shopping cart feature that allows users to order multiple items from businesses using the service with just a simple message.
Working alongside the messaging app's current catalog feature, you can now add more than one things to your virtual basket using Carts and then send the order in a single message. This means the current system of having to order items individually through a stream of messages has been wildly simplified, with the feature rolling out globally from today.
The move is essentially designed to make life easier for businesses selling in bulk, such as restaurants and clothes stores. The company also indicated Carts should make it simpler for businesses to keep a log of orders and manage requests, too.
Now, of course, shopping isn't typically what we think of when we think of the Facebook-owned messaging client, but it's quickly becoming a solid stream for small businesses to explore. As of October, WhatsApp indicates 175 million people have used the catalog service to message a Business account, and the WhatsApp Business app itself had over 50 million users as of July.
Continuing to add new features to WhatsApp Business is a natural move for the company. Since it's free to use and doesn't run ads, it has no obvious way to drive revenue from its huge worldwide user base. Fellow Facebook-owned app Instagram has made its own strides within in-app commerce in recent years, and, though the two apps are different, we'd expect WhatsApp to continue down this path for good in order to turn some profit.