At the Facebook developer conference in 2019, WhatsApp announced focusing on companies in the next few months. In this context, the possibility of creating a shop with a product catalog for companies on WhatsApp was advertised, for example. “Today, we want to make it easier to learn about the products and services that a company has to offer. To this end, we are introducing catalogs in the WhatsApp Business App.
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“What Are Product Catalogs Within WhatsApp?
Catalogs are mobile shop windows in which companies can present and share their goods. Those interested can browse these and discover something they want to buy. In the past, companies had to send product photos and the same information over and over again. Now customers can view the entire catalog directly in WhatsApp. This is how WhatsApp describes it. That is also true. You can create a list of products on your WhatsApp company profile, you can use them in the chat, and your customers can see them.
How Do I Create A Product Catalog Or A Product?
The products are currently either created in the WhatsApp for the Business app or the web interface. There is a menu item “Catalog” in each case. This can be found in the app under Settings> Company tools> Catalog. The web interface can be called up directly via the three points (in the top left column).
This catalog is then filled with individual products using a form.
The following fields are available for each product:
- Price (optional)
- Url (optional)
- Item number (optional)
There is currently no way to work with existing product catalogs from the Facebook and Instagram environments. Up to now, maintenance has therefore been quite time-consuming. For a long time, it has been known that this link should exist and was announced again by WhatsApp in October 2020. However, it is not yet available. It was also announced that it would be integrated into an unspecified list of “existing retail and customer solutions.”
How Does The User See The Product In The Chat?
“Simple, but functional” – that’s the best way to describe the current presentation of the products in the chat. In the preview within a conversation, you can see the product picture, name, and price. If you click on the product, a details page opens. There different pictures, as well as all detailed information, are shown. There is also a call-to-action “message to the company.”
How does the payment for the products work? The answer is relatively simple: not at all!
WhatsApp announced the corresponding function in October 2020.
“Shopping: Customers will soon have even more opportunities to find out about available products and also to buy them directly via a chat. “However, no details are known yet whether this function is also available now in Germany. Likewise, if and how much of the turnover remains with WhatsApp. Until now (June 2021), it is only a catalog of products. The processing of the purchase or the order must then take place outside of WhatsApp. The seller can add an online shop URL to each product.
The preferred way in the current design of the product details is in the chat with the company.
- Customer: Hey, do you have cool t-shirts too?
- Company: Yes, take a look at this product.
- Customer: Yes, I want that. Please four times in XL to the following address….
- Company: Your order is being prepared. Payment then on the account.
Is There A Review Of The Products?
As with the product catalogs from Facebook and Instagram, there is a preliminary check to ensure that the articles comply with the relevant guidelines. First and foremost, Facebook would like to rule out anyone starting a drug or arms trade via WhatsApp business.
Unfortunately, this also prevents new products from being added ad hoc and used immediately in a chat. So it would be best if you planned a few hours.
Successful: Sharing Products
What we particularly like: Products can also be shared in WhatsApp chats. When I communicate with a company, I can also forward the product information to another user. This can then start a dialogue with the company regardless of the previous chat history.
In addition, I can also view other products of the company on the detail page of a product at any time and browse like a real shop.
We think the idea and the first implementation of the WhatsApp product catalog are very successful. But of course, there is still room for improvement at one point or another.