How to sell via WhatsApp for FREE

By Thomas Beeken How to sell via WhatsApp for FREE

WhatsApp is the most used communication app globally with almost 1.5 billion active monthly users. Now that's a lot of potential for reaching customers and getting them to share a link to your business page. This blog article will explain how you can get set up and selling on WhatsApp alongside some advantages and disadvantages to using this platform.

To help you even more WhatsApp introduced a business version of their app that helps small business owners interact with customers easier by providing tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages

Get set up in 6 easy steps

Getting set up on WhatsApp Business is easy. There really aren't many steps compared to other platforms. Below is a step-by-step guide on what you will need to do to get your WhatsApp Business profile set up:

  1. Go onto the Android or Apple App Store and search for 'WhatsApp Business'. Then click download.
  2. Register with a business number rather than your private number, otherwise it will merge your personal chats from 'WhatsApp' with your business account.
  3. Enter the following details: Business Name, Business Logo, Business Category.
  4. Add additional business information within settings such as opening hours, website URL, and a brief description of what you do.
  5. Head to the 'Catalogue' tab within settings to add pictures, prices and descriptions of your products.
  6. Promote your WhatsApp Business page using the page link within settings to share with current customers, friends and family.

Benefits of using WhatsApp Business

'Most used' communications app globally

WhatsApp is the most used communication app globally with almost 1.5 billion active users, allowing for opportunities in reaching potential customers by sharing your WhatsApp Business link. This means that most, if not all your target customers will have WhatsApp so it is a great and easy way to communicate with your customers at their convenience.

Supports a range of media content

The business app supports video content, allowing you to share product feature videos, 'how to use' gifs for engaging with your customers and generally sharing useful content with them.

WhatsApp Web

This can be enabled within the app's settings, allowing you to manage all of your chats via the web. Sometimes it's easier to manage your content and chats on a bigger screen. It has other perks such as allowing one employee to make sales via the app and another to send messages through a computer, it is also quicker to type up messages and access other social channels you are available on.

Broadcast lists

Broadcast lists allow you to send a mass message almost like email marketing however they will receive it as any other normal message. Broadcast lists are great because they help you save time, especially when you're sending mass content updates, for example product updates or low stock alerts. But the downside to this strategy is that if the customer hasn't saved your contact information on their mobile device, they won't receive your content, so try to encourage them to save your business number in their contacts, like they would a hairdresser.

Status updates

These work exactly the same as stories do on both Snapchat and Instagram, lasting for 24 hours you can share media with your contacts.

Here's how to set them up:

  1. Open Your WhatsApp and go to the Status Tab
  2. Either click on the pencil tool or camera tool
  3. You can edit who sees these status updates by clicking on privacy settings
  4. A bonus from using this is you can see who viewed your status updates. This is useful to see who is actively engaging with your brand so you can target them for future campaigns or broadcast messages

It's FREE!

WhatsApp Business doesn't cost anything to download from the store and has no cost involved when setting up the page.

Drawbacks of using WhatsApp Business

Already have a customer base

There's no use in having a strategy to sell on WhatsApp if you don't have enough contacts to make it work. If you are selling on this platform you should ideally already have a customer base to make the most out of the platform. Having a group that will help you promote and share your pages is key. If you don't then this leads us on to the next disadvantage of using WhatsApp to sell.

Can only find your page via a link

Whatsapp doesn't have a search engine built-in so it's highly unlikely if not impossible that customers will randomly find your business page. You are reliant on people sharing your page or already having an interest in purchasing your product.

Customers must already have WhatsApp to interact with you

People will have to have WhatsApp already installed in order for you to chat with them and for them to get your broadcast messages, status updates and link to share your page.

No payment/checkout flow within WhatsApp Business

You will have to redirect customers through external payment sites which could increase cart abandonment.

Must keep personal and work separate

WhatsApp Business will require you to register with a mobile number. We mentioned earlier that it's a good idea to have a separate number for your WhatsApp Business account so you're not getting your personal and business chats mixed up.

Legal implications

WhatsApp Business does not have an email marketing system/CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database therefore collecting email addresses for campaigns can be difficult.

Also, mass messages without any type of personalisation are not very engaging so perhaps try to personalise your messages with the customer's name and what they have previously purchased from you as an example.

Adding people into groups without their consent is a breach of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) which is something you'll want to avoid to stay compliant with the regulation.

A personal phone number is personal data that falls under the GDPR act and therefore you must take extra precautions to ensure that each person has opted in and given permission for their phone number to be shared in the group. This is because everyone in the group will be able to see each other's information such as mobile numbers. Solution:

One of the solutions we definitely recommend is visiting Obodo and getting set up with a free online website today to start selling locally.

We have a range of guides on how to get set up here:

What Obodo can do for you and your business

Secure payment gateway checkout flow with Stripe.

With WhatsApp you have to lead your customers through to an external payment gateway provider which some may find unsure and cause an abandoned payment. However, with your very own Obodo shop you can take payments without your customers having to go anywhere else.

Stock control

Having an Obodo shop you can sell your products no matter what time of day. So it's imperative to have a stock control system.

For example with WhatsApp if overnight you get 10 orders come through, and you only have 5 in stock then that will provide a bad experience for 5 customers and potential loss in future purchases. Automatic stock control helps your shop visitors know how many items you have left and including urgency notifications such as 'only 5 left in stock' may help that customer complete a purchase that they may not have without the fear of missing out.

Cart abandonment

Selling on WhatsApp there is no way for you to be made aware of if someone has entered the checkout flow but not made a purchase. With Obodo abandoned cart emails are built-in for free. You can then contact customers who didn't complete their purchase and remind them to check out or reach out to see if they were having any issues.

Email Marketing

The alternative to creating broadcast groups is email marketing which can be done on our platform. With the use of a CRM system you can store customers information once they've consented to you storing their data for campaign purposes, meaning you're still compliant with GDPR legislation.

WhatsApp Business is a good tool to stay in touch with your customers and quickly answer their queries, however it is not ideal to be selling via this method. Consider using this as a customer service retention strategy, rather than your only way of selling. Having an online presence is extremely important and a must if you wish to sell online. We recommend giving Obodo a try and you can sign up here to get started<.

Thomas Beeken

Digital Marketing and Video Specialist Graduate in Marketing and Advertising with a passion for video content creation and studying member of the CIM. Enjoys gaming, snowboarding and scrolling social media.