WhatsApp Business Launches New Features to Tempt Small Firms
Product Catalogs will enable customers to see what they can buy
Customers of firms using WhatsApp Business will soon be able to see what’s on sale with a new feature the company has introduced.
Announced at Facebook’s F8 conference at the end of last month, WhatsApp Business has launched Product Catalogs. The feature enables WhatsApp users see all the items available for sale from a company on the messaging app.
The feature is much like a brochure, allowing customers to see what’s on sale instead of looking at a website – handy for small firms that may not have a web presence. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said as much onstage in a speech to attendees.
“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 is their main way of interacting with their customers,” he said.
A spokesman for WhatsApp told UC Today that businesses wanted to share the product they have in product information with their customers.
“This is the type of information customers are requesting. But they’ve had that businesses have had no formalised way to actually share this. So, we’re going to give them a tool within the WhatsApp Business app to more easily display the products they have available,”
He added that the feature will be available soon but there was no firm timeline for its introduction.
The announcement comes just a month after WhatsApp unveiled its WhatsApp Business app for iPhone users worldwide. Last year it introduced its Business app for Android users in some markets. The apps contain features to help small business communicate better with customers. These include quick reply feature, desktop support, and verified business profiles.
In addition to Product Catalogs, Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp would increase the availability of its Payments feature to more countries. The feature had a successful trail in India.
Facebook also announced that it was launching a software development kit to integrate WhatsApp verification into its Account Kit. This would allow users to quickly register and login using their phone number or email address.
Last August saw the unveiling of WhatsApp Business API. This enables larger organisations to have to hand more powerful tools to communicate with their customers.
People can connect with a business in two ways: They can request helpful information, such as when customers need a shipping confirmation or boarding pass, they can give their mobile number to a business on their website, on their app, or in their store to send them information on WhatsApp. Businesses are charged to send these messages.
Some businesses may provide real-time support on WhatsApp to answer questions about their products or help you resolve an issue. These messages are free for the business to send within 24 hours.
“With this approach people have full control over the messages they receive. We will bring more businesses onto WhatsApp over a period of time. To do so, we will work directly with a few hundred businesses and a select number of companies that specialize in managing customer communications,” the spokesman said.