“We're making shopping on WhatsApp even easier. Now you can easily discover something you'd like to buy from your favorite business by tapping on the new shopping button at the top of chats,” tweeted out WhatsApp to announce the texting app’s newest feature. With ecommerce at an all time high, the WhatsApp shopping button streamlines online shopping, allowing advertisers to reach consumers in-app with personalized conversations.
How Does The WhatsApp Shopping Button Work?
The shopping button is available to WhatsApp Business users that “have an account registered to the WhatsApp Business app and have set up a catalog,” according to WhatsApp. Presumably, these are also businesses that use WhatsApp for chatting with shoppers and handling customer service queries. The button, which looks like a storefront icon, is positioned next to the business accounts profile, and once tapped, allows consumers mid-chat to browse the brand or retailer catalog and either purchase or further discuss products. Users can’t yet pay for products within WhatsApp, although payment solutions are likely on the way, particularly in light of other features recently added to WhatsApp Business. There are currently more than 5 million businesses on WhatsApp Business.
Why Did WhatsApp Add The Shopping Button?
WhatsApp Business has more than 50 million monthly active users (MAUs), 40 million people view business catalogs on WhatsApp Business each month and 175 million people message WhatsApp Business accounts every day. The WhatsApp Business platform is becoming an important part of WhatsApp and owner Facebook, especially in countries, like India and Brazil, where WhatsApp and mobile are the dominant access points for communications and shopping. Although the WhatsApp shopping button is available worldwide, and the U.S. has 74 million WhatsApp users, amplifying the global ecommerce capabilities of WhatsApp has been the main focus for Facebook with the growth of WhatsApp Business. In addition to the WhatsApp shopping button, WhatsApp recently “added a feature that allows users to scan a QR code and chat directly with a business and for businesses to share product catalogs on WhatsApp as links,” according to Dave Sebastian for The Wall Street Journal. In India, the platform also just introduced money transfers through WhatsApp, which is likely to facilitate direct in-app sales in the near future.
On November 8, Facebook announced the addition of shopping carts to WhatsApp, facilitating easier shopping for users. The platform explained, "Carts are great when messaging businesses that typically sell multiple items at once, like a local restaurant or clothing store. With carts, people can browse a catalog, select multiple products and send the order as one message to the business."
Creating scenarios that make purchasing more seamless, as ecommerce becomes more preferred, gives advertisers revenue opportunities and (after abandoning ads on WhatsApp earlier this year) monetization opportunities for Facebook similar to the new shopping tabs on Instagram and Facebook.
What Benefit Does The WhatsApp Shopping Button Offer To Digital Advertisers?
Consumers that are shopping with WhatsApp Business messaging are a rapt audience, without outside competitors muddying the waters. This focused engagement facilitates sales and other important tangibles like connection and brand building. Additionally, shoppers remember happy chat experiences and are more likely to come back if exchanges feel seamless and helpful.
As ecommerce grows in the U.S., and around the world, advertisers should continue to seek innovative multichannel strategies to reach, engage and convert consumers, many of whom are becoming increasingly comfortable buying online through a variety of platforms and access points.
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