From a service that was mostly an add-on feature, WhatsApp integration has evolved to become one of the must-have features for ecommerce stores. This has led to a common question for ecommerce business owners - how to integrate WhatsApp with an ecommerce store?
The WhatsApp integration industry has expanded rapidly, leading to the availability of a plethora of options. Navigating this can be quite a challenge. Our custom-made guide for ecommerce businesses simplifies all of this.
Technical requirements for WhatsApp integration
1) Basic integration
Basic WhatsApp integration for businesses only needs a smartphone and a phone number. You need considerably more technical chops to do the advanced stuff, but we will get into that later.
To get started with WhatsApp integration, you need to sign up for WhatsApp Business application. Simply download the WhatsApp Business app from Google Play Store or Apple App Store, and follow the in-app instructions to sign up.
2) Advanced features
To access most of the advanced WhatsApp Business integration features like automated replies, automated shipping updates, actionable buttons, etc., you need to use a Whatsapp integration platform.
You will need to sign up for a dedicated platform like yellow.ai or wati.io. If you are using an advanced logistics intelligence platform or CRM platform, they might also be providing WhatsApp integration support.
The latter approach is what we recommend, as it makes for easier and faster integration with a lower number of potential failure points.
Advantages of integrating WhatsApp with your eCommerce store
Are you wondering what the point of going through all this is? Dive right in to find out why you should absolutely be integrating WhatsApp with your ecommerce store.
1) Ecommerce specific features
WhatsApp Business comes with a host of features tailored for ecommerce businesses. This makes the onboarding process extremely streamlined for ecommerce businesses.
Examples of ecommerce specific features include product catalog, automated messages, actionable buttons, etc.
2) Seamless redirects
Almost all of us have given up hope and switched to another service when asked to install a new app! Seamless redirects powered by WhatsApp aims to solve this exact problem.
WhatsApp integration allows you to offer seamless redirects from apps or web pages. As opposed to apps with lower market penetrations, WhatsApp has the advantage of already being present on most people’s devices.
You can use the seamless redirects to start instant support sessions or redirect people to your product catalog. This takes out the primary bottlenecks in the redirection process and ensures higher click-through rates.
3) Notifications through WhatsApp messages
WhatsApp Business allows you to send notifications in the form of WhatsApp messages. This is a well-developed feature with options for actionable buttons and quick reply templates.
Even if you do not have a dedicated app or the customer has not installed the app, this feature lets you send polished notifications. Additionally, this takes out the hassle of developing an app with interactive UI.
4) Automated replies
WhatsApp Business supports automated replies. Once you are integrated with a quality WhatsApp integration platform, the sky's the limit in terms of possibilities.
You can use automated replies to answer commonly asked questions or resolve customer complaints. This can also be used in conjunction with actionable buttons and quick reply templates.
The point to remember here is that the effectiveness of automated messages depends completely on the quality of implementation. It is absolutely necessary to have sorted backend processes and workflows to get the most out of automated replies.
5) Lower entry barriers
WhatsApp for ecommerce significantly lowers the entry barriers for a number of features. You no longer need to have a standalone app to provide features like seamless notifications and product catalogs.
Why you should be using a SaaS platform for WhatsApp integration
1) Cloud-based deployment
SaaS platforms like ClickPost offer complete cloud-based deployment that is platform-independent and does not need on-site devices. This makes signing up for the service a breeze. Additionally, you will be able to access the service from any device anywhere in the world!
2) Constant updates
As they are completely cloud based, SaaS platforms offer easy updates without the need for any intervention from your side. This ensures that you are always getting the newest features and bug fixes in the least possible time frame.
3) Better data security
As the data is being stored off-premises, you do not need to worry about data security issues. Most SaaS platforms offer state of the art data security with constant improvement. You just need to verify their security certifications before signing up.
4) Better tech support
Due to centralized deployment, SaaS platforms tend to offer much better tech support. Depending on your service provider, you will get real-time tech support, ensuring the lowest possible downtimes for your system. Even better, all the fixes can be pushed from their end without needing any involvement from you.
5) Lower upfront cost
Most SaaS platforms follow a subscription-based pricing model, leading to much lower upfront costs. The cost is further minimized by the absence of client-side devices. This pricing model can significantly help your cash flow and financial reports.
How to get the most out of WhatsApp integration
Just opting for WhatsApp integration is not enough. To leverage the best features of WhatsApp, you need to know how to get the most out of WhatsApp integration.
1) Make use of automation tools
It is necessary to make proper use of the automation tools on offer. While automated replies are offered by all major WhatsApp integration platforms, you need to make sure that your workflows are making correct use of them.
User engagement is a good metric to gauge how effectively you are using the automation features. In case you are not getting the desired results, don’t shy away from taking the help of industry experts.
2) Provide real-time support
The primary advantage of WhatsApp integration is the possibility of real-time support. If you are not offering this, it's time to rethink how you are using WhatsApp.
Automation, especially automated replies, can go a long way in providing real-time support. If your business can afford it, this is also a good idea to have customer support executives available 24x7.
If real-time personalized support is not possible, you should provide your customers with a timeline on when they can expect you to get back.
3) Integrate data from various sources
The strength of WhatsApp business API lies in its infinite customization possibilities. To use this fully, you will need to integrate data from various sources.
The best way to do this is by opting for a fully-fledged logistics integration platform that allows you to control everything from one place. Alternatively, you can opt for a WhatsApp integration platform that can be used seamlessly alongside your existing tech stack.
4) Run new-age marketing campaigns
Marketing campaigns form the backbone of growth for ecommerce stores. WhatsApp provides you with a multitude of opportunities to run new-age marketing campaigns.
Interactive and personalized marketing campaigns are some of the must-use features offered by WhatsApp. Monitoring the performance of these campaigns can help you fine-tune and get the most out of WhatsApp integration.
5) Try to connect with customers seamlessly
WhatsApp offers you a platform to connect seamlessly with customers like never before. You can use personalized messaging on WhatsApp to directly reach your customers.
The key to using this feature lies in identifying what the customer needs at the present moment. If your customer needs help with order related issues, sending them discount coupons isn't going to help.
6) Have a future-proof tech stack
When you are operating in the ecommerce space, you get a front-row view of how fast technology evolves and trends change.
This makes it necessary to have a robust and future-proof tech infrastructure that can adapt to these changes. Flexibility is of utmost importance when you are trying to stay ahead of the competition.
WhatsApp integration is a basic feature expected from every ecommerce store. While signing up for WhatsApp is a simple process, proper integration requires serious technical expertise.
Along with this, it is also necessary to follow robust practices and ensure that your technical infrastructure is capable of evolving with time. In the ecommerce world, changes are always around the corner.
1) How can WhatsApp access data from other services?
WhatsApp can access data from other services using the WhatsApp integration API. Strictly speaking, WhatsApp does not access the data on its own. Rather, you need to sign up for a program that can access the data and send messages using the WhatsApp API accordingly.
2) What are the security risks associated with WhatsApp integration?
When you are integrating your ecommerce store with WhatsApp, the integration platform you are using can access all your (and your customers’) data. Always ensure that the platform you are using follows industry standards regarding data security.