Facebook inches closer to monetising WhatsApp and generating direct revenue out of it. Now, WhatsApp has announced a new catalog feature that will help businesses have seamless, hassle-free communication with their users.
Catalogs will make it easier for users to learn about certain products and services they may be interested in on WhatsApp, courtesy of WhatsApp Business. In a nutshell, catalogs are for businesses to create and showcase their products and services. Users can then learn about these products and services on WhatsApp.
Introducing catalogs for the WhatsApp Business app! Now, small businesses can create a mobile storefront to showcase their goods and services so people can easily discover something they want to buy. https://t.co/ZaIQ28VXHg pic.twitter.com/6jxeCebf7C— WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) November 7, 2019
Does that mean you can start shopping on WhatsApp now?
Not really, as of now. WhatsApp states that the whole purpose of WhatsApp catalogs is to showcase and share what products and services businesses offer.
These product catalogs will have information like product or service name, price and description. If you run a business and have a WhatsApp Business account, you can add a product listing URL and send users directly to your website. You can also assign a unique product code to each listing so that customers can easily refer to what they are looking for.
"Previously businesses had to send product photos one at a time and repeatedly provide information — now customers can see their full catalog right within WhatsApp. This makes business owners look more professional and keeps customers engaged in the chat without having to visit a website," WhatsApp said in its blog post.
WhatsApp's catalogs feature is available to businesses using WhatsApp Business app in India, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. WhatsApp says the feature will be rolling out around the world soon.
Earlier in 2019, Instagram stepped into a similar game with its 'Checkout' feature to let users buy products from their favourite brands, without leaving the app interface.
Instagram's Checkout feature allows brands to promote and sell their products directly through Instagram posts. Instagram posts contain a shopping bag icon to indicate users that products visible in the post are up for grabs.
Instagram's listing then shows all the necessary information like the name of the product as well as the brand and depending on the product category. Interested users can select their colour and size and finalise the purchase.
The only difference between WhatsApp and Instagram's e-commerce tool, Instagram allows users to pay for the product and place the order right within the app interface whereas WhatsApp's feature is more like a facilitator where users can have all the necessary information on the product.
It will be interesting to see how WhatsApp catalogs evolve in the days to come.