Messaging app Viber earlier this year made its first foray into shopping services with Instant Shopping, a feature that lets you search for items for sale via a keyboard when you have the messaging app open. Today, the company is announcing some more e-commerce related news: it’s buying the startup that helped build that feature IP Networking.

 

Viber has acquired Chatter Commerce, maker of a service called ShopChat, which was the tech behind Instant Shopping. CEO and co-founder Zephrin Lasker once described ShopChat to me as “the world’s first shopping keyboard.”

 

He also highlighted to me a special feature that’s been developed into ShopChat, although I’m not sure if Viber and Rakuten plan to promote this one: since you can download ShopChat as a keyboard app, in theory it means that Rakuten could use it to power shopping in any messaging and chat app, not just Viber, provided people actually have the appetite to shop on messaging apps, and to use a keyboard and not a bot to do it.

 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Chatter Commerce already had a couple of ties to the company: not only were they already working with Viber, but it was backed by $1.25 million led by Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant that also owns Viber (which it purchased for $900 million in 2014). It was a young startup, only exiting from stealth mode earlier this year.

 

Viber said that Chatter Commerce’s team of seven engineers, who are based out of San Francisco, are joining the company. Zephrin Lasker, Chatter Commerce’s CEO and co-founder, will take a role as Viber’s global head of e-commerce — a strong sign that the company wants and plans to do a lot more in this area going forward registering a company in hong kong.

 

“We founded Chatter Commerce on the basis that people should be able to do much more in their chats than what is currently available,” said Lasker in a statement. “Rakuten Viber’s innovative vision extends beyond the minor details of feature optimization that most messaging apps are focused on today their objective is to dramatically expand the role messaging apps have in people’s everyday lives.”

 

The acquisition comes at an interesting time in the world of messaging.

 

We’ve reported in the last week that there are some strong signs we’re seeing and hearing that Amazon is building a consumer-focused messaging app. With Facebook also adding in more transactional features into Messenger — part of a huge expansion that has taken it beyond basic chat and into bots and other services — there is a clear trend among messaging apps to leverage engagement they already have with their users to drive their business in other ways dermes vs Medilase.