WhatsApp turns into an e-commerce: the novelty

On WhatsApp Business the Catalog function is added, which allows companies to insert a product catalog and sell them to users: how it works

Maybe Mark Zuckerberg has finally found a way to monetize the acquisition, at a staggering price ($19.3 billion), of WhatsApp: turn the instant messaging app into a store.

The Facebook group has in fact just launched in some countries, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, India and Indonesia (the arrival in the rest of the world is expected "soon"), "Catalog". It is, as the name says, a catalog of products and the new feature is reserved for WhatsApp Business, the version of WhatsApp dedicated to companies and small and medium-sized businesses. At the moment Catalog is a simple showcase, also very easy and intuitive to make, but it doesn't allow you to buy anything directly from the app: those interested in the product click on a link that then sends it to the actual e-commerce. But it's clear that something is changing.

How Catalog works for WhatsApp Business

At the moment, since there is no purchase in the app, the idea behind Catalog is to create a catalog of products that can be shared with all the contacts (and therefore potential customers) we have on WhatsApp Business. The procedure is very simple: if the app is updated (to see the Italian app with Catalog we'll have to wait, we don't know how much yet), inside the Business Settings we'll find the new feature. Here we can tap on a button to add a product or service and a mask will open where we can enter a photo (from the gallery or directly accessing the camera) and the main information about the product/service: name, price, description, link to the e-shop and product code.

How to use Catalog to sell with WhatsApp

Catalog serves to "Show and share your products or services", WhatsApp explains in the presentation video. After compiling all our catalog, we can share the card for each product directly with our contacts: just, within a normal chat, look for it among the attachments where now in addition to "Document", "Gallery", "Audio", "Location" and "Contact" we will also find "Catalog". The shared card will appear in the chat stream and our contact can click on it to open it and read the details. If he wants to buy, he can click on the link.

Shall we buy directly from WhatsApp?

It is clear that Catalog is just a first step towards a radical transformation of WhatsApp Business. Its intuitiveness is so high that in-app purchase is the logical next step. However, at the moment it has not been disclosed if, and when, we will be able to buy a product or services directly from the WhatsApp app.