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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, discover how the WhatsApp Business Platform reduces pressure on customer support, and offers a more personalised shopping experience for your customers.

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 Platform as a way to make things a bit easier on your customer contact centre.

WhatsApp for Personalised Customer Engagement

WhatsApp Business Platform 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.

From delivery notifications and product back-in-stock reminders, to cart abandonment reminders for products not yet purchased, WhatsApp offers many ways to engage customers with relevance.

WhatsApp Commerce

Now, brands are taking commerce to where their customers are engaging the most - WhatsApp. The new feature offers multi-product messages and single-product messages - a simple way for businesses to feature and sell their products, without leaving the chat. Customers can browse items and add them to a cart without leaving the chat, powered by the Product Catalog feature.

What are Product Messages by WhatsApp?

There are two types of customer-initiated Product Messages:

Single Product Message: Contains a single product to guide the customer toward a specific item, respond to a particular request or provide a recommendation.

single-product-message

Multi-Product Message: Displays up to 30 items from your business to showcase the available products, personalise group recommendations or enable the customer to reorder a previous purchase.

Multi-Product WhatsApp

Drive Visibility and Discovery for your WhatsApp Channel

Email: Email is an active communication channel when consumers want to contact you, it may be efficiently leveraged to separate and divert the user base to the WhatsApp solution.

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.

WABA flow

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 personalise 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 optimise 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 Platform

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. Besides using Message Templates, you can also have a spontaneous chat, where you can type your messages with rich media in response to a customer-initiated conversation.

Are you ready to exceed expectations for your customers through WhatsApp?

Get started with WhatsApp for your business

Register Explore WhatsApp

Get started with WhatsApp for your business

Register Explore WhatsApp
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