Consumers often refer to the opinions of their friends when looking to make a new purchase. And now Viber users can do exactly this thanks to a new feature that brings shopping directly into the messaging app's chats.
Viber announced the upcoming launch of a new feature on Thursday that allows users to soon shop in the app without having to leave their conversation to do things like copy links or send screenshots of pictures of a particular item.
Creating a social shopping experience, the new feature lets users virtually shop together. The user can browse for items and choose to share them in the chat so that their friend can see exactly what item the user is talking about and have the option to learn more about the item.
To start shopping, users simply taps on the shopping bag icon where they can tap on the brands and stores they love and then find items based on categories.
The user can see all this below their chat window on the same screen so that they can continue their conversation or get feedback from friends while shopping by tapping on the "share to chat" button that is displayed underneath the item.
Users will only be redirected to a particular brand's website after they tap on the "shop" button to go ahead and make that purchase.
To create this new feature, Viber used the expertise of its parent company, the e-commerce giant Rakuten.
The social shopping experience marks Viber's first move to become more than just a messaging platform. In a crowded messaging app space, it's important for platforms to continue to evolve to offer something the competition doesn't. Allowing users to be able to shop and talk from the same screen will help Viber do just that.
"Messaging is just starting its journey on mobile devices," Viber's CEO Djamel Agaoua said in a press release. "By adding e-commerce capabilities, Viber is bringing a solution for mobile shoppers to share their passion with the people that matter to them in a couple of taps. This is just the first step in a very exciting journey we're about to take with our users, and it's only going to get better as we add more partners and gather more feedback."
Viber's social shopping feature will launch on the platform on March 6 and feature "a variety of brands and products."