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You already use Whatsapp to talk to friends and family, are part of many groups, share pictures, videos, links, memes, jokes… So, why not shopping with it? As it surpassed the mark of 1 billion users around the world, the app reinforces the increased use of mobile to access the internet. Thus, it’s easy to predict that message services will soon evolve into a hybrid of social media and e-commerce. China’s WeChat mixes it all and is a huge success. Recent news that Facebook (who owns Whatsapp) is launching a business platform for its Messenger, with robots working as a sort of sales assistant is another sign that the trend is getting momentum.
In small business, selling through Whatsapp has already been a reality (I have friends in Brazil with new brands, using the app as an “e-commerce). British Vogue went ahead of the game and launched the service last February. As soon as you add the number, the notifications (no more than 2 per day) start to pop with website news, including images and links to access them, something that Instagram, for example, doesn’t offer and count as an audience meter. (Note: For the last 2 weeks, I haven’t received anything so I’m not sure if it was just a test or if they are optimizing the service)
Thinking strategically, besides being a practical and cheap tool for startups, the channel can also bring brands and customer closer with the possibility of personalized interactions. Imagine sending a message for your favourite label, telling what you are looking for or your body type, and receiving suggestions with images, prices and direct links to make the purchase? Or maybe getting access to exclusive promotions and previews? Of course, many details must be fixed in order to build a truly professional service, which may involve the training of dedicated teams, but for now, looks like a new kind of mobile commerce is surging and will be an instant hit!