After quietly building a strong 50M MAU base of mostly small and medium businesses, Whatsapp today announced the introduction of new features on Whatsapp business- QR codes and catalog sharing. These features have been launched globally to all Whatsapp business users today.
“As businesses across the world prepare to re-open and expand online, people need simple ways to get in touch with businesses to ask questions, get information or find something they might like to buy,” Whatsapp said in the blog post which announced the arrival of the features.
First of all, adding numbers of business profiles manually is gone now. With the introduction of the QR codes, customers can simply scan a code linked to a profile, which can be found in its store, in the packaging, or on the receipt, and start communicating with the business. This is similar to a feature that was announced for the main version of the app a few days back, where users could use QR codes to add new contacts. These QR codes can be scanned by the camera in the WhatsApp app or through another scanning app/website.
WhatsApp said that Ki Mindful Wearing, an activewear brand in Brazil became the text subject of this new feature, and will now “place QR codes on packages and product tags to invite customers to reach out for support on WhatsApp.
“Scanning a QR code will open a chat with an optional pre-populated message created by the business to start the conversation. With the app’s messaging tools, businesses can quickly send back information such as their catalog to get the conversation going,” WhatsApp added.
Now, for the other big surprise, we have to talk about what happens after you start talking to a business. A seller can then show you a “catalog” of its items, a feature, that was launched last year and has gained huge popularity among customers. In fact Whatsapp suggests that catalogs are used by more than 40 million WhatsApp users each month.
Now, in a bid to accrue these numbers even more, catalogs and items can be shared as links to Facebook, Instagram, websites, or other people on WhatsApp. Moreover, the blog post added that “if people want to share a catalog or item they find with friends or family, they can simply copy the link and send it on WhatsApp or other places as well.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Whatsapp has come in support of small scale businesses, rolling out features that help them sustain in these tough times. It has been trying to enter the mobile e-commerce and payments market for quite some time now. Just last month, Whatsapp launched its payments feature in brazil which was completely free. But days later, the service faced an indirect blockage, when the Brazilian central bank instructed payment processing companies such as Visa to stop processing payments through Whatsapp.
Whatsapp also introduced new ‘business stickers’ which are available to both Whatsapp and Whatsapp business users. They include ‘out of stock’, ‘sale’, ‘closing soon’, free delivery’, ‘back in stock’, ‘closed’, inter alia.