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WhatsApp released a product catalog feature for in-app browsing and shopping. Social media platforms have recently been transitioning from communication and marketing tools to a comprehensive shopping space.
This latest change enables small business owners to promote their products more easily and professionally. Instead of releasing images one at a time or having to send multiple messages to communicate key product details, businesses can send customers a complete informational message with a picture, product name, description, and price
Growing use of social media for online shopping
Social media has been a crucial marketing tool for both large and small brands. Over the past several months, e-commerce features such as direct payment on Instagram, more nuanced chatbots, and targeted advertising through Facebook’s custom audiences have rolled out.
But WhatsApp had limited c-commerce functionality: the app only allowed bots, marketers, and small business owners to communicate product information one piece at a time. With more and more e-commerce becoming c-commerce — that is, conversational commerce that takes place in instant messaging apps — and more shoppers researching products on social media platforms, social media is one of the rising platforms for sales.
Before, businesses reaching out to online shoppers had to transmit information in a piecemeal fashion. They could send inquiring shoppers a price, a SKU, product recommendations, and other disparate details. Savvy business users could hyperlink the text to help shoppers navigate to their main website or commerce platform.
However, as online businesses have known for a while, every extraneous click and inconvenience can turn away shoppers. Leads would leave mid-transaction or lose interest.
With WhatsApp’s new product catalogs, passive shoppers can browse through professional-looking pages with images and organized product details — and barriers to purchases have been removed.
Business owners can also transmit complete packets of information as a single message to answer customer inquiries. Not only does it mean businesses can replace long question and answer strings with a single interaction, but they can also send an attractive catalog snippet to answer any, or every, question.
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