New WhatsApp features make it easier to buy and sell

(Image credit: WhatsApp)

WhatsApp has unveiled a brace of new updates to boost its growing suite of shopping features aimed at helping businesses meet their e-commerce needs.

The move aims to exploit WhatsApp findings revealing that 68% of adults around the globe are more likely to make purchases from a company if they can contact them via instant messaging.

As a result, WhatsApp has been bolstered with a couple of extra online shopping features, which include an improvement to the beefy WhatsApp catalogues tool and the option for businesses to hide unavailable items.

As has been widely reported, demand for online shopping has soared during the coronavirus pandemic. WhatsApp figures also indicate that the growth in the e-commerce marketplace has been accelerating, with 2020 recording a £70bn spend in the UK alone, representing a sizeable 18% jump compared to 2019.

WhatsApp e-commerce

With many physical business outlets remaining closed WhatsApp’s e-commerce tools have proved increasingly useful. WhatsApp catalogues offers customers instant access to over 8 million different business listings via the messaging service.  

The new improvement to the catalogues tool lets business owners not only create but also manage their inventory contained inside WhatsApp via a browser or their desktop, instead of just through their mobile phone. It’s available as of now for WhatsApp Business app users.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp introduced its carts functionality during the Christmas shopping period last year. The carts design lets customers browse through product catalogs, select multiple items and notify a business with their order requirements via an instant message. 

However, before now businesses weren’t able to hide unavailable items, resulting in unwanted confusion when it came to ordering. The new option for hiding out of stock items will mean more efficient catalog management and less time being wasted. Website administrators can toggle items on again when they come back in stock.

The tweaks to WhatsApp’s growing set of shopping features are being rolled out as of this week.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.