Using the new Whatsapp Business function Catalogs

Last week the Catalog function for WhatsApp Business was enabled for the Netherlands. I was keen on trying out this new function and immediately went testing and working with it.

What is WhatsApp Business Catalog?

It’s a new feature in WhatsApp Business that allows you to showcase products or services your offer. You can set one or more images, a description, a price and a link to the service/product on your website.

Your clients can browse through your whatsapp catalog, or you can link individual entries in a whatsapp chat.

 

How to add products or service to WhatApp Business Catalog

First you will need to have WhatsApp Business installed 🙂 Open the app, go to settings –> Business Settings (Bedrijfsinstellingen in Dutch). From there you will see the Catalog option. Click it!!!

Now you will enter your catalog. It will probably be empty, if you’ve never used it before.

In the bottom right there will be a green circle with a big + icon. Tap it to add a product or service to your catalog.

 

From this screen you can add an image, the name of your product or service and the pricing. Tapping

 

on the More Fields (Meer Velden in Dutch) option will show some more fields, which makes sense considering the naming of the button 🙂

What doesn’t make sense is why did they hide these three extra options? Why not make them visible directly?

Anyway, fill out all the fields. You can use Product/Service code to add an SKU or other unique identifier. Although, I always leave this field empty as it doesn’t really serve me a purpose.

Best Practices

There are some things I learned from using this new function. Here’s a summary

  1. One of the things I started doing when testing out this new WhatsApp for Business function was adding products to the catalog. But, due to the cumbersome process and no way to import your products automatically. I quickly switched to just adding the main categories of my webshop, since this is more efficient.
  2. The image you add to the product or service can be any size you want. Although images that don’t fit the square dimensions nicely do tend to get trimmed automatically. Therefore it’s best to prepare some nice square images beforehand to use in your Whatsapp Catalog. Try to add the name of your product/service on the image to really make it pop!
  3. Due to the fact that it’s not possible to categorize anything in your catalog, it’s just a flat list of items, it’s best to keep the number of entries minimized. A potential client cannot search through your catalog
    of filter out anything. He just has to scroll through all items in there.

Limitations

This is a new function for WhatsApp to roll out, as such it comes with some limitations that I’m sure will be fixed in future versions. There are two things that I would love to see fixed as soon as possible. First off I miss the ability to categorize items. I sell games and there are many different categories to add to games, such as mechanics, themes or format (card game or board game for example). It would really help my customers if I can just link them a category in my whatsapp catalog.

Another limitation is one that would really simplify my life as a store owner. The ability to add my catalog by giving an XML feed URL. Or alternatively, just add my Facebook store items automatically.

Conclusion

I was really excited when I first heard about whatsapp adding a catalog function to their Business app. In fact it’s the one reason I switched to WhatsApp Business. However after having tested it out for a few days it’s clear to me that this is not a finished product and that using it becomes cumbersome quite fast. This has the potential to become another great marketing tool for your business an which I’m still keen about and eagerly awaiting new functionality to be added soon.

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