Unveiled Thursday, July 9, the new features strengthen WhatsApp Business user’s ability to connect with customers.
They can now share QR codes allowing people to quickly fire up a WhatsApp chat with the business, or post links to their WhatsApp product catalogs outside the app.
The QR Codes are used to let the customers easily connect with businesses on the platform, providing them also with a series of stickers to kick off “we’re open for business” campaigns; and it’s made it possible for businesses to start sharing WhatsApp-based catalogs – dynamic list of items that can, in turn, be ordered by users as links outside of the WhatsApp platform.
The new launches come as WhatsApp’s business efforts pass some significant milestones.
“As businesses across the world prepare to reopen and expand online, people need easy ways to get in touch with businesses to ask questions, get information or find something they might like to buy,” the company said in a blog post.
“To help them and the thousands of larger businesses on the WhatsApp Business API get discovered, we’re introducing new features to start a chat with a business on WhatsApp and see what goods and services they offer,” it wrote.
WhatsApp Business App used by merchants to interface with customers over WhatsApp and use the platform to market themselves; now has 50 million monthly active users, according to Facebook.
QR codes got a little boost last week from WhatsApp on the consumer side, with the company introducing a way for contacts to swap details for the first time by sharing codes rather than manually entering phone numbers — not unlike Snap Codes and shortcuts for adding contacts created on other social apps. That is now getting business treatment.
The catalog sharing feature, meanwhile, is an expansion on a feature that the company first launched in November 2019, which will now allow businesses to create and share links to their catalogs to post elsewhere.
The lack of ability to share catalogs at launch felt like a feature omission, considering that businesses often use multiple channels to market themselves, although it might have been an intentional move: there have long been questions about how tight links are between Facebook and WhatsApp, so slowly introducing features that share and cross-market from the start might be the preferred route for the company.