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How to use the WhatsApp Business API in Retail and eCommerce

In this series of sector-related tips for the WhatsApp Business API, we're diving into the possibilities of WhatsApp for the Retail and eCommerce sector. Whether it be brick and mortar and online retail stores, or online food and gift delivery services, we explore how these businesses can benefit from the WhatsApp Business solution to reduce pressure on customer care while optimising the customer experience?

As a retailer or eCommerce brand, you're likely to encounter many recurring questions throughout the day. Once you add them all up, answering each of these questions can become very time-consuming for your customer care agents. Answering the same question over and over won't make their job any easier. Or more fun, for that matter. 

Wouldn't it be easier if businesses answered questions before they're asked, with proactive notifications? The WhatsApp Business API has a way to make things a bit easier on your customer contact centre.

How eCommerce businesses can leverage WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp Business API allows you to communicate directly with your customers, either through session messages initiated by your customers or templated messages initiated by your business after opt-in is received.

Now, businesses can use the WhatsApp API to share additional information with customers to boost their customer engagement rates and at the same time reduce pressure on their support centre. Following are the most common use-cases you can enable using WhatsApp templated messages -

  • Product back-in-stock reminders
  • Product recommendations based on recent purchases
  • Cart abandonment reminders for products not yet purchased
  • Relevant offers and deals
  • Relevant new products introductions

Boost retail marketing through Whatsapp Business API

On-site chat: Instead of an on-site assistance bot waiting in the corner of your website, you can create a WhatsApp chat bubble or button to invite website visitors to engage with you. You can also create a chatbot within your WhatsApp channel to assist shoppers throughout their buying journey. Explore our detailed guide to using WhatsApp Chatbots. 

Notification opt-ins: To send notifications via WhatsApp, you require a valid opt-in. Once opt-in is received you can send various notifications from cart-abandoned to back-in-stock messages.

Click-to-WhatsApp Ads: A great way to drive traffic to your channel is to use the click-to-WhatsApp approach in your paid campaigns. When a prospect clicks on your Facebook or Instagram ad, instead of a landing page, they will be invited to a WhatsApp conversation.

Types of WhatsApp Business API notifications through Message Templates

Message Templates are pre-approved messages that you can send in both inbound and outbound communication with your customers. Companies can use these messages to send notifications to those customers with an active opt-in for WhatsApp notifications. To personalize the message, you can use the numbered placeholders {x} filled with letters, digits, special characters and spaces. 

Below we explain this process with some examples of how you can use these Message Templates to optimize customer care.

Product availability requests: 

When a product is out of stock, you can allow your customers to opt-in for an availability update via WhatsApp. This way, you can easily get visitors in-store or online when the product is back in stock.

Hi {1}. Great news, the {2} you liked is back in stock. Enjoy free delivery on us by using voucher code {3} at checkout. Shop now.

Abandoned cart recovery notifications:

Research states that in the year 2021, the average cart abandonment rate was 77.13%.

There are several ways to send your abandoned cart recovery messages. Traditionally email has been the most popular, but with low average open rates - it doesn’t leave much hope to convert a shopper. But now you can use WhatsApp, the most popular messaging channel to recover abandoned carts.

Hi {1}. You’ve forgotten to check out, you might have gotten distracted but you can easily check out via the following link {3}.

Order status updates: 

Actively send out purchase updates with delivery notifications or delivery tracking. This keeps your customers updated regularly, making it unnecessary for them to call your customer care centre when they become impatient about their order status.

Hi {1}. Your order with number {2} is on its way to you. You can track your package here {3}.

Orders and billing: 

This entails, amongst others, purchase receipts. Once payment is successful, you can send out an automatically generated message template informing your customer that the payment for order number {1} has been received.

Hi {1} Thank you for your payment. Your order number is {2}, and you can track the status of your order by following the link {3}.

Return or refund requests: 

When a customer contacts you with a question about a return (Did you receive my item? When will I receive my refund? How does the return process work?), this can be easily handled with a Message Template. 

When using the right triggers (customer profile belonging to a phone number and order number) you can send messages explaining whether the return order was received and how long the process typically lasts.

Hi {1}, we received your return in good order. You can expect your refund within three working days.
Hi {1}, we're sorry that you didn't enjoy your meal. You can expect your refund within three working days.

These were just a few of the many examples of how you can use the WhatsApp Business API Message Templates to actively inform customers for improved customer satisfaction, engagement, and conversion. WhatsApp and your WhatsApp Business API distributor may provide you with Message Templates, or you can request your own and both can approve these templates.

Important to note is that you will need an active opt-in from your customers for outbound use of these Templates. Otherwise, they may be used only in the customer care window initiated by the customer. 

Customer support via WhatsApp Business API

Suppose customers have any questions after receiving your notifications. In that case, they can ask for more information by simply replying to your message, opening up such a customer care window in which you can communicate freely without any additional cost associated with sending a WhatsApp templated message. Besides using Message Templates, you can also deploy a WhatsApp chatbot, where you can type your messages with rich media in response to a customer-initiated conversation. There are many advantages of using a WhatsApp chatbot in eCommerce to automate your customer support queries -

  • Be available on the world's most used communication channel to engage and connect with your customers
  • Deflect all the repetitive customer queries with regards to order updates, delivery timelines, refund requests to a WhatsApp chatbot and save time and cost associated with responding to those queries
  • Get a unified view of all the customer queries you get from WhatsApp in a single inbox and increase the efficiency of your support operation

This and many more use-cases you can accomplish using WhatsApp Business Solution for customer engagement and support.

Request WhatsApp Business API access today and explore the many other possibilities it holds to improve the customer experience within your business.
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