If you are not already using WhatsApp for your business, we encourage you to give it a try today!
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, small businesses must adapt to survive. One of the best ways to do this is to take advantage of social media and instant messaging apps like WhatsApp. Owned by Meta, WhatsApp is a cross-platform application that allows users to communicate with each other via text, voice and video calls as well as share images, documents and locations. While WhatsApp may be primarily known as a way to keep in touch with friends and family, its ecommerce-oriented business version can be a handy tool for small businesses to interact with customers.
As of 2022, around 500 million businesses globally prefer to use WhatsApp as one of their marketing apps. Its business version is a free-to-download app available on both Android and iPhone. On top of the features of its regular version, it comes with a few additional features that are perfect for small businesses:
Build company profiles
WhatsApp Business allows you to create a company profile that includes your company name, display picture (DP), business category, working hours, office address and website URL. After setting up your profile, people can find out everything about your business in just one quick tab on your DP in the app!
Create and upload the product catalog
Introduced by Meta in November 2019, this feature allows users to showcase products or services with catalogs as mobile storefronts. When your customers browse your catalogs, they can see information about your offerings, such as the product’s name, description, product code, price and image. No more sending product photos and providing information to each customer individually!
“This is going to be especially important for all of the small businesses out there that don’t have a web presence, and that are increasingly using private social platforms as their main way of interacting with their customers,” said Meta’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg during Facebook’s annual developer conference in 2019.
Later in 2021, WhatsApp added two features to further this function: enhanced web/desktop app support for WhatsApp Catalogs and the option to hide goods that are out of stock. The former feature particularly benefits businesses that use enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, as they can now manage work with WhatsApp Business account from a desktop, as opposed to only from mobile previously. The new enhancements put WhatsApp Business closer in line with other platforms, like Google Business Messages, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Signal and Telegram, to name a few.
Order products directly from WhatsApp
In addition to the catalog, Meta introduced a “cart” feature that allows shoppers to select multiple items after browsing the catalog and add them to the shopping cart on the app. Customers can then pay with the “WhatsApp Payment” service without leaving the app.
Apart from purchasing, WhatsApp Payment may be used to securely transfer money to any user on the app using their contact information. This is just like other unified payment interfaces (UPI)-enabled services, like PhonePe, BHIM UPI, GPay, PhonePe and others. Money transfers through WhatsApp show as text messages with full transaction details.
Improve customer experience with Cloud-based API
This feature of WhatsApp Business is a golden ticket for small businesses. WhatsApp Cloud application programming interface (API) is the cloud version of WhatsApp Business API, which allow companies and programmers to build on top of WhatsApp to grow customer support and improve customer experiences. With this feature, businesses can engage with customers seamlessly and personalize the shopping experience.
Launched on May 18, 2022, WhatsApp Business Cloud API now welcomes businesses of all sizes. Unlike the previous WhatsApp Business API, where it could take a long period to register and get approval, businesses can now get verified in a few minutes to use WhatsApp Business Cloud API without paying for their own servers.
Some key features of WhatsApp Business Cloud API include:
- sending out bulk broadcasts to thousands of individuals at once;
- getting free green tick verification;
- integrating over 2,000 customer relationship management (CRM) and ecommerce platforms to automate order, shipment and payment confirmation alerts, among other things;
- offering live human chat assistance on different devices; and
- sending template messages to their consumers by text, picture, voice or video communications about upcoming promotions, discount offers, etc.
Overall, WhatsApp Business may help you better serve your clients and improve the efficiency of your business operations. Aside from the features mentioned above, WhatsApp Business also includes quick replies, away messages, broadcast lists, label organizing and message statistics, allowing you to spend less time answering client questions and more time building your business. So, what are you holding out for? Download WhatsApp Business today and learn how it may help your small business grow!
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Header image courtesy of Freepik