How to sell on WhatsApp in 2023 – Ultimate guide for WhatsApp API users

February 17th, 2023 — by Zivko A.

12 min read

Illustration of WhatsApp commerce process - learn how to sell on WhatsApp.

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Every business owner understands the importance of growing the number of channels you advertise on. Whether you’re looking to boost traffic, expand audiences, or improve your brand exposure, messaging platforms are a great way to achieve that. And you can’t really discuss messaging platforms without mentioning WhatsApp. In this article, 360dialog answers the simple question of how to sell on WhatsApp but also why you should do it.

8 reasons why commerce on WhatsApp works

  1. Global coverage. With over 2.4 billion registered users worldwide, WhatsApp has a massive reach. This makes it an ideal platform for businesses to reach potential customers.
  2. Personalization. WhatsApp allows businesses to communicate with customers directly and personally, making it easier to build relationships and create a more personalized shopping experience.
  3. Convenience. By offering the ability to make purchases directly through the app, eCommerce on WhatsApp provides customers with a convenient and seamless shopping experience.
  4. Responsiveness. WhatsApp’s instant messaging platform allows businesses to communicate with customers in real time, making it easy to respond to inquiries and support customer needs.
  5. Trust. By offering a secure and convenient way to make purchases, eCommerce on WhatsApp can help increase customer trust in a business, which can lead to increased sales and repeat business.
  6. Customer experience. By integrating eCommerce features, WhatsApp can provide businesses with the ability to improve the customer experience by offering personalized recommendations, order tracking, and streamlined payment processes.
  7. Cost-effectiveness. WhatsApp is an affordable way for businesses to reach and engage customers. It requires no additional costs for setup or maintenance.
  8. Mobile-first. With the majority of WhatsApp users accessing the platform through their mobile devices, selling on WhatsApp is a mobile-first solution that can help businesses reach customers where they spend the most time.

How to start selling on WhatsApp Business API

Consider what your goals are and what you expect from your WhatsApp leads. The WhatsApp Business app lacks a lot of the options that businesses and serious retailers need to take their sales to the next level. If this is something that you would like to explore, then you need to explore the options of WhatsApp Business API or WhatsApp Cloud API.

If you want a more versatile option, WhatsApp Business Solution Providers like 360dialog can offer you just that – a way for you to showcase and share your products with a wide range of customers and have them browse and add items to their cart without having to leave the conversation.

In order to use the WhatsApp API for commerce, all you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Upload your inventory to Meta
  2. Create and connect your catalog to your 360dialog WhatsApp Business Account (WABA)
  3. Set the Commerce settings
  4. Share your products with customers (by using single-product and multi-product messages)
  5. Manage customer responses

Uploading your inventory to Meta

If you want to sell on WhatsApp with ease, you should upload your inventory to Facebook in the form of a catalog.

If your business already has a Facebook catalog, all you need to do is connect the catalog to your WhatsApp Business Account (WABA). This will enable you to share the catalog with customers via WhatsApp.

If your business doesn’t have a catalog, you have two options:

  • Create a catalog through the API
  • Create a catalog through the Commerce Manager

Creating a catalog through the API

There are three simple steps to follow:

  1. Set up your catalog feed. Once you choose one of the supported feed formats, add inventory to your catalog with a set of universal attributes, which you can boost with recommended and additional attributes.
  2. Choose your product category.
  3. Schedule your feed upload.

Creating a catalog through the Commerce Manager

how to sell on whatsapp

Once you create a Facebook page for your retail business and a Business Manager account, you need to follow these steps:

Go to Commerce Manager → Get started → Create Catalog/Add Catalog → Select Inventory Type → Upload product info/Connect to a partner platform → Select Business Manager account your catalog belongs to → Name your catalog → Click Create.

Connecting your catalog with your WhatsApp Business Account

  1. Go to Business Manager and select your business.
  2. Open the dropdown menu.
  3. Click WhatsApp Manager.
  4. Select the account you want to connect to a catalog.
  5. In the left-hand menu, click Catalog.
  6. Click Choose a catalog.
  7. From the drop-down menu, choose the catalog that you want to connect.
  8. Click View catalog if you want to view or manage the catalog.
  9. Click Connect catalog.

how to sell on whatsapp

Your catalog should be connected, giving you the option to start sending single-product and multi-product messages to customers.

Updating the Commerce Settings

During this step, you can use the WhatsApp Business Account > Phone Numbers endpoint to enable/disable the shopping cart and product catalog for separate business phone numbers. You need to keep the following requirements in mind:

  • System User access token/User access token.
  • The whatsapp_business_management permission.
  • The System User access token requires full control over the WhatsApp Business Account.
  • India-based businesses must comply with all e-commerce laws.

Sharing products with customers

To sell on WhatsApp, retailers have to share products with customers. There are two ways to do this:

This refers to messages with catalog thumbnails that link to the entire catalog. To send this link, businesses need to assemble a wa.me link by appending the business’s phone number (country code included) to the end of the following string:

https://wa.me/c/

Example:

https://wa.me/c/4915503173420

Product Messages

Interactive messages that offer a brief description of up to 30 products from your catalog.

To get more insight, you can explore the official guide for sharing products with customers.

Managing responses from customers

Once your contacts receive Single or Multi-product messages, they have three ways to respond:

  • Ask for more information about a product.
  • Add product(s) to the shopping cart and place an order.

You can track each response by checking the webhook alerts you received for each message. This is what a sample webhook for a message that has been sent successfully looks like:

{
  "statuses":[{
	"id": "message-ID",
	"recipient_id": "16315555555",
	"status": "sent",
	"timestamp": "1518694700"
  }]
}

It’s important to save the message ID to track how customers are receiving that message.

Useful interactive commerce features on WhatsApp API

As the most popular instant messaging platform in the world, WhatsApp definitely has plenty to offer to businesses of all sizes, starting with its numerous interactive eCommerce features. If you want to sell on WhatsApp, you need to be able to present them properly.

These features allow businesses to engage with customers, showcase their products, and make sales directly through the app. When you combine that with the WhatsApp Business API option, you get a great source of fresh leads for your business.

Here are some of the key interactive commerce features on WhatsApp that you can use to your advantage:

Catalogs

Showcasing your products/services in a visually appealing way is an essential part of getting the attention of potential customers and sparking engagement. WhatsApp catalogs can include images, descriptions, and pricing details for each of your products or services, making them a great selling point. Make it easy for your customers to browse and make purchases by creating and sending catalogs via 360dialog’s WhatsApp Business API.

Image of connecting a catalog via 360dialog in Business Manager.

Once you connect the catalog to your WhatsApp Business Account (WABA), you can start sending interactive messages such as Single Products messages and Multi Product messages.

Example of multi-product message.

Quick replies

If you receive a lot of follow-up questions from leads, you can use Quick Replies to give quick answers and keep potential customers engaged. Quick replies are canned responses to common inquiries that can help your business boost customer experience and sell products on WhatsApp. Also, this is a great way to automate part of the workflow of your sales team.

Automated messages

Another interactive and time-efficient way to cater to customer needs on WhatsApp is through the use of automated messages. You can set certain messages to automatically respond to customers based on specific triggers such as:

  • Sending a message for the first time;
  • Abandoning the shopping cart;
  • Placing an order, etc.

Order tracking

One of the most common questions that retailers receive is about tracking orders. By using the order tracking option on WhatsApp, you can give customers the option to track their orders directly. As a result, they receive shipping and delivery updates while you lighten the workload for your customer support teams.

Payment integration

Enabling customers to handle the payment process via WhatsApp makes the shopping experience more appealing. By using integrations with payment providers such as PayPal or Stripe, businesses can accept and process payments directly through WhatsApp. Make sure to explore all the WhatsApp Business API integration options available.

Customer service

By opting for WhatsApp API, businesses get the ability to offer customer service directly through the app. This step makes it easier for your customers to get the help and support they need instantly.

These interactive commerce features on WhatsApp can help businesses streamline the sales process, improve the customer experience, and increase sales. By utilizing these features, businesses can provide customers with a convenient, personalized, and secure shopping experience directly through WhatsApp.

5 best practices for setting up a shop on WhatsApp

Using WhatsApp as your storefront can definitely help you reach potential customers, especially when you already have a strong list of contacts. However, if you’re starting from scratch, it might be wise to go through the following guidelines before you start using WhatsApp to sell products or services:

Step #1: Build your customer list

Every quality sales effort starts with defining your audience. A good place to start is to import existing contacts into your WhatsApp API. Once you have a list of names, the next step is to categorize them based on different factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Past purchases, etc.

Once you have your audience profiles, it’s time to start planning a personalized approach for each of those groups. One of the useful features that you can explore here is the ability to send bulk messages to contacts at once.

Step #2: Create a sales strategy

If you want to sell on WhatsApp, you need to have a structured sales plan. This will help you maximize your efforts and resources by giving you a sense of direction. Here are some of the steps you want to take when creating a sales strategy for WhatsApp:

  • Profile your audience. Research who your ideal customer is and what their needs and interests are. This will help you create messages that resonate with them.
  • Set clear goals. Determine what you hope to achieve through your WhatsApp sales efforts. For example, you might set a goal of making a certain number of sales per week or reaching a specific number of contacts.
  • Choose the right products. Decide which products you want to sell on WhatsApp, based on their popularity, profitability, and potential to generate repeat sales.

Step #3: Optimize your engagement rate

Once you have a contact list and a strategy in place, you need to focus your efforts on engaging with all the contacts on your list. An essential part of selling on WhatsApp is to maximize your customer engagement rate. Here are some helpful ways to achieve that:

  • Personalized messaging. Marketers have proved that people react better when they feel that a message has been tailored for them specifically. Address your customers by name and include details that are relevant to them, such as their previous purchases or interests.
  • Offer incentives. Consumers today love to get rewarded for choosing a brand. Provide incentives for customers to buy from you, such as discounts, promotions, free samples, etc.
  • Use high-quality images and videos. The visual appeal of your offer plays a huge role when you want to sell on WhatsApp or any other platform. Showcase your products in the best possible light by using high-quality images and videos. This will help potential customers get a better sense of what it is that you have to offer.
  • Respond promptly. Responsiveness is another essential factor in modern consumerism. Make sure to respond promptly to customer inquiries and messages. This will help build trust and establish a positive relationship with your customers.

Step #4: Track your results

By measuring the effectiveness of sales efforts via WhatsApp, businesses will be able to draw clear conclusions on just how impactful this sales channel is. Make sure to create a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the performance of your product sales on WhatsApp.

Keep track of how many sales you make, how many contacts you reach, and what type of response you’re getting from customers. This will help you determine what’s working and what’s not, and make changes as needed to improve your results.

The WhatsApp team is constantly working on improvements and new features to make the app more appealing to both businesses and customers. It’s important to follow these trends if you want to ensure success when selling on WhatsApp.A simple way to achieve this is to sign up for a WhatsApp Business API account. Gain access to detailed documentation about the various functionalities as well as blogs and newsletters from Meta’s official partners.

Bonus tips for boosting your WhatsApp sales efforts

Everything up to this point will help you learn how to sell on WhatsApp. Once you build the foundation, you need to tailor your approach to stand out. And the best ways to do that are to:

  • Use a separate mobile device for your business.
  • Ask customers for their phone contacts.
  • Verify your business on WhatsApp.
  • Create a broadcast list/group.
  • Label chat threads and customers.
  • Automate your messaging workflow.
  • Include promotional and useful links.
  • Personalize your messages.
  • Create a schedule for your campaigns.

Ensure the growth of your business by selling on WhatsApp

In conclusion, selling products through WhatsApp can be an effective way to reach potential customers and expand your business. By setting up your WhatsApp commerce strategy and using the interactive features that the app provides, you can tap into a deep source of prospects and watch your audience and revenues grow.

For more information on how to sell on WhatsApp, contact the 360dialog team. Learn how our WhatsApp Business API solutions can make your presence on this powerful platform stronger than ever before!

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