WhatsApp Business Takes Aim at Small Brands

by Sarah Hickey

Last year, the cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp took a major step forward in its expansion efforts with the launch of its new Business App. With over 60 billion messages sent daily and 80% of international small businesses claiming they use the original app for communicating and expanding their organizations, it seemed like the right decision for the globally established organization. Plus, as an app owned by Facebook — it was only a matter of time before they rolled out a program to support businesses.

While this separate interface has been a great asset for the company, many users were left frustrated with its initial lack of offerings. With no way for customers to view a company’s website or products through the platform, the selling aspect of these profiles became limited to only customer service interactions and basic contact information.

Now, WhatsApp Business has added a catalog option in a bid to help the main segment of their user-base, small brands, monetize through the app. The business catalog operates as an in-app digital storefront for companies to display their products and services with images, descriptions, pricing, and relevant buying information. Customers can now browse catalogs without having to download anything, and they can also purchase products directly through the app. These changes make it exponentially easier for companies to sell their products or services on the app without a website. Previously, businesses had been restricted to profiles that only contained contact information and re-directed customers to other platforms.

While we have yet to see the impact this new addition has on the business app’s marketplace, we can expect this will only be the beginning of their monetized roll-outs. Rumor has it, the brand will be featuring in-app ads and launching WhatsApp Pay in the near future, ensuring the app is more on par with other applications operating under the same umbrella. Overall, the catalog function is an ideal way of creating a more beneficial platform for their users while ensuring the brand’s continued growth.

February 10, 2020