In May, Facebook Shops made its debut streamlining the process for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. In order to best facilitate the new on-platform shopping experience, the platform has also expressed its interest leading the path for customers to message businesses from their shop listings, via its family of apps including WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct.
While consumers can’t yet view a business’ shop and make purchases directly from within a messenger stream, as of today they can select the items they wish to purchase and share their list from within a WhatsApp messenger stream.
When you are visiting a business’ catalog on WhatsApp (tap on the shopping button icon listed next to their name), you can use the ‘Message Business’ to start a conversation or use the ‘Add to Cart’ button if you’re ready to place an order with the business about a product that you’re viewing. As users find the items they want when interacting with a business in the app, they’ll now be able to tap “add to cart” as they go.
Once you’ve finished shopping, you can then send your Cart as a message to the business to submit your full order. You can access the details of your order by tapping on the ‘View Cart’ button in your chat window with the seller.
What this ultimately enables is an easier process for brands to keep track of requests and help create a more seamless way to deliver personalized responses. Shopping might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Whatsapp, but it’s become an increasingly popular space for small businesses eager to sell their products.
Per The Verge, more than 175 million people used the service to message a WhatsApp Business account each day as of late October. Further, the WhatsApp Business app reached over 50 million users worldwide as of July this year.
This isn’t WhatsApp’s first foray into e-commerce. To date, it’s launched QR codes, dedicated shopping buttons, and the ability to share catalog links in direct chat messages. It also opened up free storage to merchants to host their business’s messages.
“Catalogs have allowed people to quickly see what’s available and helped businesses organize their chats around particular items. With more and more shopping happening through chats, we want to make buying and selling even easier,” the platform explained.
Many of the old ways in which people and businesses communicate are not working. Per Shopify data, a whopping 92 percent of U.S. consumers have shopped online since the start of the pandemic, compared to 65 percent who have shopped in-store. In addition, over half of consumers have shifted more of their spending online since March, particularly young consumers between 18 and 34. These younger consumers are also more likely than other age groups to find products and shop them via social media, utilize new commerce tools, and prioritize shipping.
Stats aside — what’s key here is: With an acceleration towards apps for personal commerce and e-commerce, the time is now to consider Alternative shipping options, conversational commerce, and shoppable social media.
Consumers are starting to consciously cut back on mindless scrolling or mindless following. If a brand wants to cut through the noise and truly resonate, they must stay true to their personality, while delivering value through their content. Understanding specific wants and needs and diving deeper into the consumer’s motivation versus relying on predictions based on prior purchase patterns will be instrumental in e-commerce strategies in 2021 and beyond.
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