As WhatsApp continues to build on its eCommerce potential, it's continually adding more ways to facilitate business-to-consumer connection, and make it easier for users to buy items via the messaging app.
Its latest addition on this front is 'Carts', which will enable WhatsApp users to add items as they engage with a business, then submit a larger order all at once via the app.
As explained by WhatsApp:
"Starting today, we’re excited to bring carts to WhatsApp. Carts are great when messaging businesses that typically sell multiple items at once, like a local restaurant or clothing store. With carts, people can browse a catalog, select multiple products and send the order as one message to the business. This will make it simpler for businesses to keep track of order inquiries, manage requests from customers and close sales."
The process is simple - as you can see in the above sequence, 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.
As noted, Carts is the latest in a range of eCommerce tools being added to WhatsApp as it looks to maximize its monetization potential. Ads in WhatsApp proved unwelcome, so parent company Facebook has now shifted its focus to building a digital marketplace within the messaging network, with growth in developing markets like India and Indonesia, where WhatsApp is already popular, set to lead the way in ushering in a new wave of digital transactions in the app.
Indeed, just last month, the Indian Government granted approval for the expansion of WhatsApp Pay in the region, which opens up a range of new possibilities, while WhatsApp has also outlined a range of new business tools coming to the app to further expand its offerings.
WhatsApp actually previewed the arrival of Carts back in October, as part of a broader showcase of coming commerce features for the app.
This is how easy we think messaging a business should be - seeing a store’s catalog in a chat, adding an item to your cart, placing your order and getting fast responses to questions. We are looking forward to bringing these experiences to more people on WhatsApp! pic.twitter.com/nkJyC3dOzg— WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) October 22, 2020
This could be a major area of growth for Facebook. Again, with WhatsApp's established presence in India specifically, and the nation's growing digital economy, WhatsApp could become the essential app for millions of users in the region. And as the country looks to recover in the wake of COVID-19, WhatsApp commerce could provide a range of new opportunities for SMBs looking for new, cost-effective ways to connect with consumers.
It also provides additional considerations for all businesses on WhatsApp. If you haven't considered WhatsApp commerce as yet, or its potential place within your digital marketing effort, it could be worth looking into the app's evolving tools, and considering its reach to your target markets.
You can find out more about WhatsApp's new Carts feature here.