WhatsApp becomes an online shop in India

With the start word “Hi”, WhatsApp users in India can place their supermarket order directly. It’s even end-to-end encrypted.


Bread, click, rice, click, almonds, do we need more almonds? Yes. click. And never again that moment at the checkout when the cashier asks her colleague how much the condoms cost. Because: In India, you can now shop end-to-end encrypted – via WhatsApp. The entire process takes place in the app. Only the delivery, it’s not digital.


In India, WhatsApp has long been used differently and, above all, much more than in Europe. The cooperation with the JioMart, as the supermarket chain is called, is a logical consequence of what Facebook is trying to build there: one application for everything. The government doesn’t always like that, it keeps trying to limit its influence.

A catalog with all the goods in the supermarket and special offers can be found directly in Messenger. According to the announcement, there will be more than 50,000 products, divided into categories ranging from fruit to cleaning supplies to books. After the users have selected all the goods they want, they end up in the familiar chat window again and can also pay there with a click. The delivery goes out at the selected time, the address is provided by the user.

Of course, the shoppers must also deposit their bank details on WhatsApp. In India, however, a lot of people have that anyway. There, smaller amounts can be sent via Messenger, and even loans can be taken out via Facebook. After initial difficulties introducing WhatsApp Pay in India, Facebook helped by buying a stake in the company Reliance Jio – 5.7 billion euros later the payment system was allowed to start. This also includes the JioMart.

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Mark Zuckerberg considers shopping on Messenger a “go to,” writing in a Facebook post that chat-based experiences like this will be the way businesses and people communicate for years to come. Meta’s blog post also said the collaboration will accelerate India’s digital transformation and “enable people and businesses of all sizes to connect in new ways.”

However, the cooperation can also be viewed critically: Meta will be able to view the financial information at least to the extent that they know about business relationships. Reliance also offers farming apps. The combination of these companies offers potential to influence the market.

The Indian government is not only trying to limit Facebook’s influence when it comes to food. There were also allegations that the company was not doing enough to prevent hate and misinformation. Lynchings are said to have taken place in India because of the distribution of such content.

After last year, social network operators were obliged to notify authorities of the originator of a shared message on request, WhatsApp again sued. The messenger is generally end-to-end encrypted and cannot pass on such information.