The Latest Updates for WhatsApp Business API: A Game Changer for Businesses?

More ways for businesses to interact with their customers on WhatsApp! Here's what you should know about the latest WhatsApp Business API updates.

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp has announced a few key updates to the WhatsApp Business API on 7 June 2021. These will help businesses interact with their customers in more ways. Here's a rundown of all the important updates to take note. 

Send Non-transactional Notifications 

Traditionally, the main types of messages businesses would send to customers were transactional in nature, such as payment confirmation or order receipt. 

Well now WhatsApp has expanded these types of notifications to include those of a non-transactional nature as well such as :

  • Product recommendations related to a customer’s previous purchases
  • Helpful informational alerts
  • Relevant offers
  • Reminders to book an appointment

With this update, WhatsApp has expanded the number of countries where businesses can send proactive non-transactional notifications to customers.

Before update After update
  • Indonesia
  • Mexico

(In addition to Indonesia and Mexico)

  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Israel
  • United Kingdom
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Nigeria
  • Egypt
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Jamaica
  • USA

 

Businesses in Indonesia and Mexico, where beta testing first began, will also continue to be able to send non-transactional notifications. 

 

How can your business get started? 

According to WhatsApp's official update, you will also find it easy to get started using this functionality. 

If your business has one of the approved countries as the country setting in Business Manager, you will be able to send non-transactional notifications. You won't even need any additional integration work!

Follow the same message template creation process in Business Manager or via API. Simply choose one of the eleven categories for templates when submitting a non-transactional template and you're good to go.

Note that Templates will still go through a review process to ensure there are no Commerce or Business policy violations and that the formatting is correct. See additional details here.

 

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Remember to opt-in before sending any proactive notifications

Let's face it. No customer wants to receive unexpected messages out of the blue, especially if they are not relevant. To ensure that customers don't get blindsided by these new type of messages, business have to comply with a few policies as dictated by WhatsApp. 

  • Clearly state that a person is opting-in to receive messages from the business over WhatsApp.

  • Clearly state the business’ name that a person is opting-in to receive messages from.

  • Comply with applicable law and WhatsApp Business Policy as explained here

Best practices to create a high-quality opt-in experience

So how can you ensure that your customers give you consent before sending business notifications on WhatsApp? Well you can start by following some basic best practices. 

  • Obtain an opt-in that encompasses the different categories of messages that you will send (ex: order updates, relevant offers, product recommendations, etc.)

  • Obtain separate opt-in by specific message category. This  mitigates the risk of users blocking your business because they receive unsolicited messages

  • Provide clear instructions for how people can opt-out of receiving messages from your business and honour these requests.

  • Ensure your opt-in and opt-out flows are clear and intuitive.

  • Avoid messaging customers too frequently.

  • Clearly communicate the value of receiving important updates
    on WhatsApp.

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On a related note, WhatsApp is also rolling out new messaging features that can help people respond to businesses faster in new ways. This includes new list messages which present a menu of up to 10 options. This relieves users the need to type out a response. Instead they can simply select from up to 3 options using reply buttons with a quick tap. 

New list messages present a menu of up to 10 options so people no longer need to type out a response. Reply buttons will allow people to quickly make a selection from up to three options with just a quick tap that a business can set ahead of time through their WhatsApp Business API account. - WhatsApp

 

Vertical Use Cases have expanded

 

These new updates for WhatsApp Business API allows businesses in different verticals to explore new use cases. Here are some examples from the telco, financial services and travel sectors. 

Telecommunications

  • Proactive outreach for top-ups before minutes run out
  • Reminders about plan renewals before the expiration
  • Relevant offers and deals

Telco example(image source: Whatsapp)

Financial Services

Product recommendations based on recent activity or purchases

  • Signing up for a line of credit or instalment plan
  • Pre-approval for a new kind of loan or credit card

Relevant offers and deals

  • Credit card discounts
  • New partnerships offers

financial services-1

(image source: Whatsapp)

Travel

  • Price alerts for flights the customer is tracking
  • Custom deals based on travel preferences
  • Cart abandonment reminders for flights not yet purchased
  • Product upsell offers in context (e.g., car booking)

travel(image source: Whatsapp)

 

And you're all set!

Keen to see how you can take advantage of these notifications and other WhatsApp Business API benefits for your business? Get in touch with us to explore partnerships. 

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