Did you happened to catch the video we released about a week ago? The one where we talk about taking eCommerce to your customers and how we are about to have an explosion in eCommerce channels via which merchants will be selling. Well, here we go.
They recently announced Instagram checkout and now facebook is about to add eCommerce to one of their other crown jewels: WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is not as popular in the United States, so let’s make sure everyone knows what we are talking about with a quick primer: WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging platform with more than 1.5 Billion users in 180 countries, with 1 billion of those being daily active users. That’s 200 Million users more than Facebook Messenger.
At the recent Facebook Developer’s Conference, Mark Zuckerberg revealed in his keynote presentation that WhatsApp will soon be unveiling functionality where merchants can host eCommerce stores within the business version of their platform.
They didn’t reveal too many details about the functionality except for calling it “Product Catalogs” and stating that it would be available within the next year.
He also announced new payment functionality that will compete with apps like Venmo and lay the groundwork for handling eCommerce transactions in WhatsApp.
If you don’t think that every single platform that has substantial traffic and consumer attention isn’t working towards something similar then you are mistaken. If you are obtaining traffic from multiple social platforms then your eCommerce is about to get a lot more complicated. You know they are going to update their algorithms and systems to favor transactions that happen directly in their platform. It may take some time, but the days of filtering people off social platforms and into a third party eCommerce site are numbered.
That means you are going to have to get more sophisticated in how you handle orders because they are going to be coming in from numerous platforms with various degrees of capabilities. You are probably going to need systems to manage all of these and tie them back into a central repository for order and product management.
Omnichannel is tough and most smaller merchants aren’t ready for it’s cost and complexity. That is, unless you are only getting orders from one source. And, if that’s the case, then your business has some significant risks and way too many eggs in a basket that you don’t control.
As always, I’ll leave it to you. What are your thoughts on this pending explosion of eCommerce channels via which merchants will be selling? Is it all good news? Do you have the same concerns that I have about the complexity and costs associated with managing those channels?