Discover how WhatsApp’s Conversational Commerce feature keeps consumers in-app and on brand throughout their entire journey, in turn delivering better customer experiences and more sales.
The WhatsApp Business API is already a proven powerhouse in the ‘conversational shopping’ space with brands using the channel to chat, inform, and service their customers. Consumers love it too because WhatsApp is the best way to get an in-store-like experience from the comfort of their own sofas. Crucially, the world’s number one social channel enables consumers to chat with live agents and source the right product/s effortlessly, or engage with a bot to quickly navigate to relevant information or FAQs.
With the arrival of Product Catalog Messages, that customer journey is about to get even smoother. Previously, customers wishing to view a specific product would have to head to the brand’s WhatsApp business profile to begin browsing. Alternatively, if asking a live agent for product details, the customer would be sent a web link to tap on, pushing them out of WhatsApp and dumping them back on the internet.
Such a jarring disconnect always puts a possible order in jeopardy because no one likes friction during their buying journeys. However, WhatsApp’s new Product Catalog Messages mean that the risk can now be avoided entirely — here’s how.
WhatsApp’s Product Catalog Messaging: What it is and why it matters
The new messaging type enables brands to highlight their products within the app itself, and is offered in two distinct formats:
Single Product Messages
Share a single product or service with the customer in-app.
This feature is ideal for:
- Replying to a specific request (“Hey, do you have a pair of high heels in blue?”)
- Recommending a product (“Got a good drone for my teen daughter?”)
- Reordering a product or service (“Can I get the same head massage I got last month?)
Share a catalog of up to 30 products or services that the customer can browse through, all within their thread.
This feature is ideal for:
- Taking the customer to a specific category such as fitness apparel (“I need to get fit — help!”)
- Servicing repeat customers with personalized recommendations based on their purchase history (“Loved your denim line-up last season. Whatcha got for me this time?”)
- Reordering a product or service; ideal for multi-product orders of up to 30 items (“Want same Chinese meal we had last week! Yummy!”)
- Shopping in a ‘conversational way’ with the customer typing in their shopping list and receiving a personalized Multi-Product Message in return.
CX made simple: How customers reply to WhatsApp’s Product Catalog Messages
Once the customer has received their product message, they have five different options available to them:
1. View product
The product is displayed in the thread using a Product Detail Page (PDP), allowing the customer to check out a description and image of the product in-app.
2. Share with friends
The customer may want to get a second opinion about their potential purchase, and can quickly share the product message with one (or more) of their WhatsApp contacts for feedback.
3. Put product in cart
The customer can add the product to their cart plus add other products from the same company whenever they wish to. Only once they have bought the item/s will the cart clear. It’s a great way of creating a consistent virtual cart that doesn’t need to be ‘restocked’ if the customer decides to navigate away for, say, a couple of days. Instead, it remains in-thread, ready and waiting for their return.
With products chosen, the customer can submit their cart to the business. The brand can then decide what course of action it wants to take from sourcing the customer’s delivery info to offering payment options.
Alternatively, the customer may decide they don’t want to proceed with their order. They can remove the items quickly and start a new enquiry or take time out to reconsider their buying options.
Top benefits of using WhatsApp’s Product Catalog Messages
The introduction of Product Catalog Messages and its Single and Multi-Product variants offers several key advantages for both brands and customers:
Instead of simply giving the name of the product or having to direct the customer to an official website — therefore severing the vital conversational connection formed on WhatsApp — the product description (with accompanying image) can be delivered right into the thread.
Join it up
Use Product Catalog Messaging in conjunction with WhatsApp’s other CX-focused functionality. This includes navigation tools such as text search, List Messages, and Reply Buttons. By offering the right selection of interconnected options to customers, brands can produce journeys that are easy to navigate.
As WhatsApp can be integrated with a brand’s existing systems including CRM, Product Catalog Messaging can be populated ‘on the fly’ with personalized information based on the customer’s known preferences. These can range from frequently ordered items to highlighting products they may have an interest in.
While WhatsApp requires brands to use pre-approved templates for, say, initiating a conversation with a customer, templates or pre-approval are not required for Product Catalog Messaging. Instead, both Single and Multi-Product Messages can be created in real-time and display the latest item details, pricing, and stock levels to the customer.
Focus on efficiency
Deploying Product Catalog Messaging is far more efficient than relying on PDF catalogs or text-only lists. Not only does the messaging require fewer taps from the consumer but Single and Multi-Product Messages are more appealing. For instance, WhatsApp discovered during testing that brands had an average 7% conversion rate of Multi-Product Messages sent to carts received.
Brands may query why Multi-Product Messages are limited to 30 items or below — but there’s a good reason. WhatsApp research shows users prefer shopping on the social channel because it is simple and straightforward. This means brands should take full advantage of WhatsApp’s real strength: Using Single and Multi-Product Messaging to deliver curated customer experiences with recommendations based on their past purchases.
That represents a far more efficient approach than simply swamping them with the contents of an entire catalogue. Need to drill down deeper into their wants and wishes? Then deploy WhatsApp’s unique navigation tools (see ‘Join up’ above) to help bring the consumer’s wants into focus.
How to get started with Product Catalog Messaging in WhatsApp
The Product Catalog Messaging process itself is straightforward:
- Upload the company inventory to Facebook Catalog inventory management
- Remember, the same catalog used for other Facebook tools such as Dynamic Ads can also be used to showcase products and services to customers on WhatsApp
- Connect the catalog to the brand’s WABA
- Get sharing products with customers.
However, the best method for starting out with Product Catalog Messaging is to create a cohesive, coherent strategy for embedding WhatsApp and its entire range of functionality successfully into the brand’s omnichannel infrastructure. It’s why so many companies partner with official providers like tyntec. These specialists work with brands to help them design, rollout, and add functionality as and when it becomes available.
Leading provider tyntec also integrates WhatsApp with existing company systems via its Conversations API, or for large companies with multiple channels, can introduce its Support Inbox solution that enables live agents — and bots — to successfully manage substantial customer bases.
Combined, a reputable provider allows brands to take advantage of all WhatsApp’s benefits – without any of the logistical headaches often experienced by companies choosing to ‘go it alone’. Most importantly, tyntec enables brands to focus on delivering great CX combined with great products and services that can now be promoted more effectively with WhatsApp’s Conversational Commerce solutions.
- 1,500 WhatsApp free messages included!
Fast onboarding and guidance every step of the way