WhatsApp Unveils New Online Shopping Features

Good news for WhatsApp users! You can now directly buy from companies online with WhatsApp chats. Thanks to Facebook’s new development with the app, the two social media moguls announced brand new tools that help businesses sell more online and consumers shop with convenience.

The rising trend of online shopping

Following the footsteps of Instagram’s in-app purchases, WhatsApp now implements the same functionality.

The recent move came in the advent of the pandemic. Online shopping rates steadily increased among apps and various eCommerce websites. This comes as no surprise especially in a time when social distancing is being practised all over the world. Online shopping became a necessary aspect of what we now call as “new normal”, significantly removing that layer of stress from consumers who don’t want to expose themselves by shopping outdoors. 

With this shift in the business landscape, businesses adapted to answer changing customer expectations and shift their focus onto growing (or even creating) their online shopping platforms.

New features that improve the purchase journey

Facebook’s goal is simple – allow business messaging so retailers can communicate with customers while they’re browsing for products and help them close the sale online.

The new WhatsApp Business app and tools focus on three areas: Shopping, Facebook Hosting Services, and Business Sales.

  1. Shopping
    Facebook wants to make it easier for businesses to integrate new features into their existing customer solutions. Consumers can now make purchases directly from chat and integrate WhatsApp with existing eCommerce applications businesses are already using.
  2. Facebook Hosting Services
    Facebook also announced new hosting services that will make it possible for SMEs to manage their chat and sales presence, even when employees are working remotely or from home.
  3. Business Sales
    Facebook announced that their services such as chat, video calling, and messaging are free of charge while others come with their respective rates.

How business messaging works on WhatsApp

  • Consumers open WhatsApp to connect with a vendor
  • Consumers directly chat with the company with the immediacy of being in the store
  • Consumers browse a catalogue using WhatsApp
  • Consumers add a product to their cart while still on WhatsApp
  • Consumer reviews the order, checks out the product, and receives confirmation in the WhatsApp chat window right after the successful transaction

What makes WhatsApp shopping different?

ECommerce platforms that make online shopping possible aren’t anything new. So, what makes WhatsApp different?

For one, human-to-human interaction empowers sales, and it’s much more challenging to do that via shopping online. With WhatsApp’s new features, it’s possible to initiate real-time conversations and simulate the experience of in-person shopping. The new features serve as a lifeline for businesses to stay connected with their customers online.

In line with new consumer demands, WhatsApp’s new shopping feature benefits not just businesses but consumers as well. The immediacy and safety it brings while maintaining the same qualities of in-person shopping is an invaluable addition for many retailers who want to thrive in the new normal.

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Marionne Banaga

Marionne is a walking Cancer stereotype. An emotional water sign, she is sensitive, intuitive, and protective to everyone and everything close to her heart. A self-professed empath, she absorbs everything and cries to every This Is Us episode, unashamed.

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