November 12, 2019

WhatsApp launches 'Catalog' feature for businesses

[ By Kavita Krishnan ]


WhatsApp has taken a step towards getting into e-commerce by launching its ‘Catalog’ feature for its business app thereby giving small businesses a store front to showcase products.

Catalog is a mobile storefront for businesses to display and share goods or products they are selling, for people to easily browse and discover.

With this new feature, small business owners can do away with the process of sending photos of products one at a time and provide information repeatedly. Instead, this will enable customers to see their full catalogue within WhatsApp.

Customers will not have to visit a website to view the catalogue and the business owners can keep customers engaged in the chat.

Small and niche businesses, and merchants are seen as the next wave of business users by tech majors such as Google and Facebook, and have put their weight behind building product features that make it easier for them to promote their businesses through online platforms.

However, WhatsApp is still awaiting regulatory approval as the payment element is missing from the Catalog feature. The WhatsApp Pay feature that has been in the beta phase for 1 million users since February awaits approval.

According to Amrit Pal, Product Manager at WhatsApp, people may either share a product/service from an individual/group chat by tapping on the “forward” icon next to the product or service images, or from the full catalogue itself.

WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India. WhatsApp Business is similar in look and feel to a regular WhatsApp account. Once a business downloads the WhatsApp Business app, it needs to provide a phone number different from any personal account, add a photo that represents the business, address, category, hours, email address, website, and a brief description.

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