WhatsApp shopping: How to start a WhatsApp Business shop

Mar 18, 2023
min read
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Thirty years ago, the concept of “online shopping” hardly existed. In the early 2000s, online shopping became more popular, but it was limited to the desktop experience. 

Today, mobile shopping makes up more than half of e-commerce. What’s more, customers shop online through countless formats — and they expect the shopping experience to come to them through their preferred channels

That’s where mobile options like WhatsApp shopping come in. 

As the most popular messaging app in the world, WhatsApp is an ideal hub for brands to support customers conversationally. This includes not only answering shoppers’ questions and concerns but also offering direct, easy paths to browse and purchase products through a WhatsApp Business shop. 

A WhatsApp shop doesn’t just give customers more of the personalized experience they crave. It also benefits your brand by making reordering easy for shoppers and recommending products simple for you — all of which leads to more revenue and more loyalty.

Ready to start your WhatsApp Business shop? This step-by-step guide will help you set up shop so you can offer your customers the WhatsApp shopping experience they’ve been waiting for.

Let’s dive in.

1. Start using the WhatsApp Business API

Your first step to setting up WhatsApp shopping is to start using the WhatsApp Business API

The WhatsApp Business API is designed for medium and large businesses to manage their WhatsApp Business account and customer conversations. 

The API allows you to collaborate with multiple users, all of whom can respond to your WhatsApp Business messages on one platform across many devices. It also lets you automate workflows and review conversation insights so you can better serve your customers. 

Meta provides a list of steps for developers to take to begin using the WhatsApp Business API. If you are not a developer, though, you can work with a Business Solution Provider (BSP) like Trengo to access the WhatsApp Business API. Trengo acts as a go-between that taps into the API and helps you manage all WhatsApp Business customer communications.

Once you have connected your WhatsApp Business number to the customer service platform, you need to apply for the WhatsApp Business API. From there, Trengo makes it simple to finish getting set up.

How to apply for the WhatsApp Business API through Trengo

To start, you’ll need at least a Scale plan with Trengo. Follow these five steps (they’ll take you less than 10 minutes!) and you’ll be on your way to verification.

1. In Trengo, head to settings and select WhatsApp Business, then “Connect Your Number.” Before you proceed, you’ll need to review and agree to some of the limitations of the WhatsApp Business API. (For instance, you will need to disconnect your number from the WhatsApp app before connecting to the API.)

2. When you click “Connect Your Account,” you will be taken to Trengo’s business partner, 360Dialog. You can either log in or create a new account, then you will be prompted to connect your Facebook Business Account.

3. From there, you can begin creating the required WhatsApp Business accounts. Be sure that your chosen display name corresponds with your brand. You will then need to verify your WhatsApp Business number.

4. Next, you’ll arrive at the 360Dialog dashboard, where you will set up your WhatsApp Business account and click “Start business verification” to start the verification process through Facebook. We recommend doing this as soon as possible to move through the approval process more quickly.

5. The last step is to generate an API key within the settings of your WhatsApp channel and submit it to Trengo. Through the unverified trial experience via the API, you’ll be able to receive up to 10 messages per day while you wait to get verified.

(You can also watch this video for a walkthrough of the application process.)

Now, you’re all set! After verification, you can take advantage of all that the WhatsApp Business API has to offer. Read on to keep learning how to make the most of your WhatsApp shop.

2. Build an automated store clerk or chatbot

One of the many benefits of using a WhatsApp Business shop is the ability to streamline workflows — an automated store clerk helps you do exactly that. 

A WhatsApp chatbot offers a hands-off way to guide shoppers through the buying experience. Simplify your busy customer service team’s to-do list by having the chatbot take on straightforward shopper requests — that way, your reps can focus on the more complex tasks that your customers need help with. 

The chatbot can perform tasks like:

  • offering customers a multiple-choice menu of products
  • sending images and information about specific products
  • directing shoppers to a product page
  • connecting them to a human agent, if needed

The chatbot can also answer common questions, such as queries about business hours, taking one more thing off your team’s plate.

To set up your chatbot in Trengo, go to settings > automation > flowbot. Then, click the green ‘+’ sign to create your new bot.

From there, you’ll designate the “welcome” message the bot will send to customers and the buttons customers will have the option to click from there. You’ll create a step-by-step flow using steps, buttons, and actions.

After that initial setup, you’ll need to configure your flowbot by answering questions about elements like transfer messages and keywords that will reset the chatbot.

Before publishing, you have the option to test the bot to ensure everything is working properly and will be customer-ready for all their WhatsApp shopping needs.

3. Set up rules

Another way to streamline your customer service team’s workflow is to set rules for your WhatsApp shop. 

Your reps perform a wide range of tasks, from offering complex, individualized support with the human touch to countless repetitive administrative tasks. The former tasks require significant time and attention, while the latter tasks add up quickly and take a major bite out of everyone’s day. 

That’s where rules come to the rescue. Rules allow you to automate certain tasks based on triggers in WhatsApp customer conversations. 

For instance, you might set certain keywords to indicate that an incoming message should be labeled as “product X sold.” Then, with the help of a customer engagement platform like Trengo, your analytics dashboard lets you quickly review in-depth insights about your customers’ WhatsApp shopping experience. That way, you can work to make your shop even better.

Other keywords could indicate that a customer is making an inquiry after they made a purchase—you might set a rule to automatically forward those messages to your after-sales team. (Trengo customer Muntstad used this exact rule — learn more about how they did it here.)

You can also use rules to automate sending customer satisfaction surveys, assign queries to team members based on round-robin logic, mark a conversation as spam, and more.

If you’re looking to simplify and organize your WhatsApp shop management — and save your team lots of time — rules are the way to go.

💡 See for yourself how Trengo + WhatsApp are the dream team for your support team — schedule a demo to see Trengo in action today.

4. Promote your WhatsApp shop

After you’ve set up automations to assist your customer service team internally, it’s time to welcome your customers to your WhatsApp shopping experience. 

How do you help people find your WhatsApp store? There are several ways to promote it, but many of them fold neatly into your other marketing channels.

For example, you can start by adding a WhatsApp chat to your website. That way, while shoppers are already learning about your brand, you can offer them a direct path to access your shop and they can continue the conversation with you even after they leave your site.

Plus, try these two other ways of marketing your WhatsApp Business shop:

  • Link to WhatsApp in your marketing messages, such as your emails or ads. Wherever they encounter your brand, send your audience straight to your shop on their favourite messaging app.
  • Handing out printed materials in person? Create a QR code that takes shoppers directly to your shop and hand out flyers, cards, or even stickers that feel like your brand.

However you choose to engage with your customers, your WhatsApp shop is sure to delight them at every touchpoint with excellent service on their terms.

Set up shop with WhatsApp today

If you’re ready to dive in with WhatsApp Business and offer your customers a whole new way to engage with you, we’re here to help. 

With Trengo, you can make use of the WhatsApp Business API, review analytics, automate WhatsApp workflows, and more. Get started with a free trial today.

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