WhatsApp was the biggest game-changer because it changed the social sphere to 24hours of personal chats where you don’t have to log in, only to log out afterwards. People can easily catch up on WhatsApp because it is faster and easier for private messaging.
Again, start-ups and business owners started taking advantage of this social platform to drive sales into their business.
Eventually, the developers of the app changed WhatsApp as we used to know it from years ago by creating a different app for business owners, especially when an unauthorized third party app circulated in 2017.
Thus, the creation of the WhatsApp Business app happened in 2018. Start-ups and existing businesses have been taking advantage of the platform to reach their clients quickly. The WhatsApp business app was created to do what the normal WhatsApp app does but there are few major differences.
Beyond the difference in logo and the fact that you need to create a WhatsApp Business account with a number different, following features makes the app important to business owners.
What Make WhatsApp Business Different?
1. Create a Short Link
With the normal WhatsApp app, people need to add your number to their contact list before they can chat with you but the WhatsApp business has an option whereby you can send a short link that has your number with a short message you can edit or send as is. This feature ensures your potential clients to have instant access to you and won’t need to save your number first.
Users can put the short link on websites, social media handles, email, and other media. To get your short link, open your WhatsApp Business, go to Business Setting, then select Short Link with the format https//wa.me/your phone number. You will see a default message you can send or edit to suit your purpose.
2. Leave Automated Greeting and Away Response
This feature allows you to leave an automatic greeting for selected customers or everyone that contacts your business on whatsapp . Also, when you are offline or closed for business for the day you can turn on the away response to let your customers know you’re unavailable. You can customize the message to suit your audience. This feature makes communication easier and can help you with scheduling activities and maximizing customer engagement
3. Create Your Business Profile
On the normal WhatsApp you can only add a lengthy description on groups but WhatsApp business has a description space where you can give details of what your business is all about. Your description space may contain your business name, location, business hours, category, email, URL of your business website.
Your business information gives your potential customers most of what they need to know of your business without much conversation necessary. You can then proceed straight to business.
4. Shows Message Statistics
WhatsApp Business gives you the opportunity to see analytics of your account by providing you with the message statistics. The statistics shows all messages received, sent, delivered, received and read.
5. Comes with Quick Reply Templates
Another awesome feature that WhatsApp Business app offers you is quick reply which will save you time in answering frequently asked questions. You can create a custom message template that answers these questions. The good thing about this option is that you don’t have to keep your customers waiting for long before you can attend to their questions, plus it allows you have more time for yourself.
To use this feature, click the forward slash key (/), then you’ll see all the quick responses you can make use of. You can also customize the messages to contain what you want your customers see.
6. Add Labels
You can add custom color-coded labels to active chats with customers to keep them organized.
Already, these features have been helpful and made online business transactions easy. However, the WhatsApp management has added another mindblowing feature to its business app, the catalog feature.
Introducing: WhatsApp Catalog
This feature was added to create ease for business owners, and their customers. Seeing as the number of WhatsApp users has increased to 1.5 billion and counting, the Facebook owned app is being constantly modified to accommodate and benefit people and their businesses. It is called the WhatsApp catalog feature for small businesses to display and share their products or services through the WhatsApp platform. This feature makes the WhatsApp Business app more interesting because brands can now automatically include information like prices, product code as well as product description in a form that looks more professional.
According to WhatsApp, a catalog becomes the first touch point for the customer because it showcases what you have to offer to them. Upfront they are able to see what you sell and know if it is what they want or not. Of course, brand marketing will still have a big role in influencing sales but the e-catalog saves time and effort for both parties involved.
Before this new addition, if you wanted to share your products with customers, you needed to send them one at a time with their prices and functions attached, and the process has to be repeated for the next customer. This process can be tedious or frustrating because most times brand owners have to repeatedly scroll through their gallery in search of pictures and when they don’t find the pictures readily, direct their customers to their websites. The customer in turn might get lost and therefore, give up.
Admittedly, the catalog feature will save both parties the stress. Besides, the feature gives brands a better interface and makes it look more professional. Not to mention the easy engagement with customers who no longer have to go to your website to get information.
What more, the catalog is hosted in the clouds, that is, WhatsApp hosts the images. So when you create a catalog on WhatsApp, pictures are saved in the cloud. So, if you delete those images from your phone, the pictures will still be available in the catalog hosted by the app. That way, you and your customers get to save phone storage space too.
Practical Steps To Setting Up a WhatsApp Catalogue
- Download the WhatsApp Business app
- Open WhatsApp Business app and select the three dots at the top right corner on android or on iPhone, the Settings at the bottom.
- Tap Settings and go to Business Settings. Select Business Settings followed by the Catalog option.
- After clicking on catalog, the catalog page will show. Here you will select Add Product or Service to add the first image of the products you wish to display in your catalogue. Include the product name and price.
- You can also add description of the product, product code and website link under the More option.
- After editing to your satisfaction, tap the Save button and your catalog is set. Following the same steps, the green Add (+) icon under the Catalogue Manager enables you to add more products to your catalogue consequently. You can also delete products if you wish. That option is also found under the Catalogue Manager.
- Similar to Facebook, your products have to meet WhatsApp guidelines as you can’t add drugs, alcohol or adult products. Therefore, it takes a few minutes (2-3minutes) for WhatsApp to approve your products.
You will see a tiny green clock icon on each product indicating that WhatsApp is reviewing your product. The clock disappears and your product is displayed for your contact to see as soon as the product is approved.
- You can also share your Catalogue by opening the chat of the targeted customer(s), then click on the attachment where the Catalogue option is available. Simply click on it and share the catalog with your customers.
To share catalog with multiple people, go to Business Settings, then catalogue. Click on the product you want to share, then select the share icon. Select the people you whom you want to send to, then click send to share the catalog.
, WhatsApp Business has taken on a new face and the company promises to add more features to the app in its endeavor to increase the productivity of the private messaging platform and encourage small and medium enterprises.
The catalogue feature is now available to brands using the WhatsApp Business app on both Android and iPhone. However, the feature is only accessible by people in India, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, the U.K, the US and Mexico. Over time, the feature will be extended to other countries.
It is no longer business as usual. You don’t need to own a physical store for your business especially if you are just starting out. It is best if every upcoming or small-scale brand seizes this opportunity to expand.