Viber launches e-commerce feature with Macy’s and Rakuten.com
Messaging provider Viber has announced a new in-app shopping feature that allows users to search and share items without leaving the application.
The tech company has partnered with Macy’s, Rakuten.com and other retailers for the launch, and will kick off with a selection of items across a range of categories, including electronics, home goods and fashion.
Users will be presented with items for sale inspired by their chats when they press a small shopping bag icon, and will be able to browse through the selection without leaving the app. To complete purchases, however, users will be redirected to the relevant page in a brand’s app or mobile website.
“We will do purchasing in Viber eventually, but we decided to launch it this way to learn more about how it is used, and to get it out there as soon as possible,” said CEO Djamel Agaoua in an interview with Tech Crunch.
The feature is expected to go live in the US on 6 March, followed by a wider launch throughout 2017.
Viber is only the latest messaging/social media app to add e-commerce capabilities to its platform, joining Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and Pinterest.
The free, cross-platform instant messaging application was developed by Israeli company Viber Media and acquired by Japanese e-commerce and internet company Rakuten in 2014 for $900 million.
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