Reimagining the future of Commerce with WhatsApp

WhatsApp and Haptik have always believed in the power of messaging. Until now, WhatsApp was looked at as a customer service channel that can be used to resolve customer grievances.

With recent developments, it is clear that WhatsApp wants to enable Commerce for millions of businesses. Big brands are taking Commerce to where their users are engaging the most — WhatsApp. This has led to deeper engagements in a plethora of commerce options available to a user today.

WhatsApp commerce has been the engine behind the growth of many small and large-scale companies. WhatsApp chatbot has evolved into a full-blown channel that brands leverage to sell and transact with their customers, emerging as the most efficient channel to buy and sell digitally.

WhatsApp commerce is designed in such a way that it delivers a more personalized and delightful shopping experience for your customers on WhatsApp. We are confident that the convenience of shopping on WhatsApp chatbot is an experience that your customers will be delighted with.

A glimpse of what the next Commerce revolution looks like

Driving Discovery and Opt-in for WhatsApp

Now that you’re introduced to WhatsApp commerce let’s understand how your brand can get started with a WhatsApp chatbot. The first and most crucial aspect to consider at this stage is driving visibility and discovery. The two key questions to ask here are: How will your customers know that you are available on WhatsApp? How will they opt-in to receive your services over WhatsApp?

A key point to note is that WhatsApp requires a brand to get an opt-in from a user before it can start engaging with them, i.e., the user needs to consent to start a conversation with your business.

Let’s look at some techniques you can use to begin your brand’s conversations with customers on the world’s largest messaging channel.

1. SMS: You already have access to your customer’s phone number. You’re probably sending out SMS campaigns to them. This is a great way to get customer opt-ins.

2. Website: Your website is probably the most critical asset for your business. It’s where customers visit to do business with you. Here are a few sections that can have a customer opt-in banner:

  • Contact us page
  • Home page
  • Header, footer, floating element
  • Conversation starter button

The easier it is to find an entry point into WhatsApp on a website, the easier it is to start a conversation. Tapping a link or scanning a QR code is faster and easier than manually typing in a phone number.

The more prominent the placement, the more likely people will choose WhatsApp to engage with your business.

3. Telephony: You can leverage opt-in via telephone in two ways:

  • IVR Deflection: This should be used during peak hours with the highest wait times. Simply add a “move conversation to WhatsApp” option to your IVR menu.
  • Missed Call: Missed call automation is widespread in India. Hence this is another seamless way to get customer opt-ins. A user can simply give a missed call to your virtual number to get started!

4. Social Media: Your customers are likely using any or all social media channels to stay connected with their friends and family. This provides you an opportunity to get customer opt-ins where they’re spending most of their time. Let’s look at how you can leverage organic and paid social media to drive opt-ins.

Organic social media:

  • Account bio/description: This placement is permanent and will not get lost in the stream of feed or stories.
  • In-feed post: You can include the link in social media posts. Organic Instagram posts cannot contain links, so users must dial the number manually. In-feed posts have relatively short, in-feed visibility as they get quickly buried among other posts.
  • Instagram profile page story highlight: Highly visible, as they are pinned to the top of your business’s profile. Once in the story, users swipe up to start a conversation.

Paid social media:

  • Facebook & Instagram ads that click to WhatsApp: One tap/click: “Send Message” button will open WhatsApp conversation.
  • Influencer social media post: If the influencer promotes your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., they can use a link. Instagram posts cannot contain links so that influencers can mention the number, and users can dial the number manually.

5. Traditional Advertising:

  • QR code scan on OOH advertising
  • Search engine ads
  • PR/media news article

Now that we’ve understood the different techniques you can use to make customers aware of your WhatsApp presence, let’s look at how you should select the channels that make the most sense. The process of arriving at the solution includes answering four critical questions:

  1. Where should we place entry points?

You should always add entry points to WhatsApp where your customers engage with your brand. E.g., If your target market is young people, ensure that you’re leveraging social media to drive opt-ins.

2. What behavior do we want to encourage?

E.g., If you’re going to answer product questions to close sales, create a “Click to WhatsApp” campaign and entry points on product pages.

3. What call to action should we include?

Always let customers know why they should start a WhatsApp conversation with you. Here are just a few:

  • Have questions? We have answers! Click to chat.
  • Can’t decide? Ask us! Message us on WhatsApp at 90009–90009
  • Need help but hate waiting on hold? Click to message us on WhatsApp.

We strongly recommend A/B testing to determine the best approach for your brand.

Trending Bot Articles:

1. How Conversational AI can Automate Customer Service

2. Automated vs Live Chats: What will the Future of Customer Service Look Like?

3. Chatbots As Medical Assistants In COVID-19 Pandemic

4. Chatbot Vs. Intelligent Virtual Assistant — What’s the difference & Why Care?

4. How can we provide context-aware responses?

Deep links automatically trigger a pre-populated message rather than simply opening a WhatsApp thread. You can use deep links to delight users with context-aware responses that focus on their specific needs.

WhatsApp has made it highly flexible for you to get customer opt-ins. Practically, you can use every communication channel to get customer opt-ins. Now, let’s understand how your brand can leverage marketing notifications to nudge your buyers ahead in the buying journey.

Redefining Customer Engagement with marketing notifications

People want to hear from their favorite brands in more ways across the customer journey. Companies can now send more types of proactive notifications to people that opt-in to receive them. They will now be able to send updates such as:

  • Product recommendations related to a customer’s previous purchases
  • Helpful informational alerts and reminders
  • Relevant offers
  • Newsletters

Why is this a game-changer for customer engagement?

Expected: People have already opted-in to receive this information from the business over WhatsApp, so they are not surprised when they message them.

Relevant: The messages are personalized to the specific person (Ex: based on recent purchases or recent engagement with the business, personalized content in the message itself).

Timely: People receive these messages when they are relevant.

Marketing notifications are an essential part of the WhatsApp commerce solution. Brands that understand the importance of providing a superior buying experience to their customers will be more likely to leverage these types of notifications to their full potential. Let’s dive into the most exciting aspect of the WhatsApp commerce journey.

The shopping experience on WhatsApp

The eCommerce landscape in India has evolved exponentially. The eCommerce revolution spearheaded by Amazon and Flipkart disrupted how traditional Indian retailers imagined shopping. India’s most prominent retailers had to adapt to the changing needs of their customers. The COVID-19 pandemic has further boosted the demand for quick and convenient shopping experiences.

As the eCommerce industry continues to roar, there has been steady growth in the Conversational Commerce landscape in India. WhatsApp chatbot has become an integral part of every brand’s digital transformation strategy. Let’s look at WhatsApp’s newly launched UI elements that are set to revolutionize shopping.

Multi-product messages

Multi-product messages contain a selection of up to 30 items from a business’ inventory. Allow your users to shop conversationally. Multi-product messages let your user navigate to a specific category. You can also send personalized offers and recommendations to re-order their regular take-out order of fewer than 30 items.

Single-product messages

Single product messages are messages with a single product item from the business’ inventory. The product is displayed in a Product Detail Page (PDP) format.

Single Product Messages are best for guiding customers to one specific item from a business’ inventory.

You can also offer quick responses from a limited set of options, such as:

  • Responding to a customer’s specific request
  • Providing a recommendation
  • Reordering a previous item

Shopping Cart Experience

After viewing products, a customer can add them to their shopping cart and send that cart to a business.

For commerce on WhatsApp, a shopping cart is unique to a person/business chat thread in a specific device and has no expiration date.

Customers can add up to 99 units of each catalog item to a shopping cart, but there is no limit on the number of distinct items added to a cart.

List Messages & Quick Reply Buttons

List Messages presents a choice of up to 10 alternatives for users to pick from in a menu-type view. This makes it easier for people to choose from a list of alternatives.

Customers can now select an option from a list of Quick Reply Buttons rather than type back complete answers from a list of alternatives. This feature makes the entire conversation journey significantly faster. Read more about List Messages & Quick Reply Buttons.

Why You Should Use It

Both Multi and Single Product Messages lend themselves best to user experiences that are simple and personalized, where it’s a better experience to guide the customer to a subset of items most relevant to them, rather than browsing a business’ complete inventory.

For a user speaking on a messaging channel like WhatsApp, Multi-Product Messages & Single Product Messages make the journey of discovery and engagement easier. What’s more, these can be customized to a user’s preference than them having to browse through an entire catalog.

Simple & Efficient

Combining the features with navigation tools like NLP, text search, or List Messages and Reply Buttons to get what the customer is looking for fast.


It is populated dynamically so it can be personalized to the customer or situation. For example, you can show a Multi-Product Message of a customer’s most frequently ordered items.

Business Outcomes

A performant channel for driving orders, during testing, businesses had an average 7% conversion of Multi-Product Messages sent to carts received.
AI-Powered Recommendation Engine

AI-powered Recommendation Engine

Imagine this: The salesperson in your store is trained to judge the visitor’s intent and recommend products based on intent and past visit behavior. Well, we’ve made this a reality. Haptik’s AI-powered recommendation engine increases upsell and cross-sell opportunities by contextually suggesting products your user needs based on their intent and past behavior. Haptik’s Recommendation Engine automatically matches user requirements with your product catalogs, description, customer reviews, and other data to help you convert passive visitors into engaged buyers.

Payment on WhatsApp

The frictionless experience of digital payments has accelerated the adoption of cashless transactions. Right from retail outlets in malls to local Kirana shops, the UPI code scanner sits comfortably at the cash counter of every shop. As your customers have grown accustomed to digital payments, their expectations and demands have increased rapidly.

This is where our 3-click payment experience on WhatsApp chatbot helps. WhatsApp will allow your customers to initiate payments from WhatsApp while on the purchase journey. The best part? They don’t have to navigate between multiple apps. You can also use notifications as payment reminders and ensure a frictionless payment collection process.


WhatsApp commerce is poised to become the biggest game-changer in the eCommerce story of India! Customers don’t have to browse through multiple apps and websites to find what they’re looking for. WhatsApp will become the most important channel when it comes to generating sales and unlocking hyper exponential growth.

Haptik is proud to be the first BSP to launch these new features with JioMart. The use cases that JioMart is driving with WhatsApp commerce are:

  • Driving conversations with marketing notifications
  • Sending personalized product recommendations based on customer’s needs & past behavior
  • Driving orders through interactive messages and a seamless Shopping Cart experience

Haptik has also powered WhatsApp solutions for some of India’s most prominent brands such as Jio, TATA, HDFC, Dream11, OLA, Kotak Mahindra, etc. We’re a recipient of 15 G2 badges and recognized by Gartner and Opus Research. With handling over 4+ Billion interactions, we’re India’s largest Conversational AI company!

Did we mention that we have built the World’s largest WhatsApp chatbot for MyGov India?

Join the WhatsApp Commerce Revolution


Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !

Reimagining the future of Commerce with WhatsApp was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.