Rob Barton | May 18, 2016

How to sell your products using WhatsApp and Instagram

Let’s say you operate a small or medium size retail business. You want to sell your products online, but you don’t have deep pockets, nor do you have a good understanding of building websites. What you do have however is a smartphone, a data connection, WhatsApp, and an Instagram account. In other words, all the parts required to create a basic online store.

Typically, building an e-commerce store isn’t as easy as some claim. It’s a multipart process involving careful coordination of numerous moving parts: choosing and installing the right software; figuring out your hosting; designing your storefront; cataloging your inventory; integrating your payment gateway; onboarding your customers; dealing with returns and refunds – the list goes on. Of course, none of this is insurmountable, however it takes a significant investment in time and energy.

If this isn’t your first e-commerce rodeo then all of that might sound easy enough, but if you’re new to e-commerce, you may want to consider something a little easier. First, let’s take WhatsApp – the messaging service that’s fueling a major shift in the way businesses communicate with their customers.

Think about it, you probably use WhatsApp several times a day to connect with friends and family. You also probably find it more intuitive than other messaging apps, and, pretty much everyone you know has it. At the same time, I suspect you also use it to create private groups to chat about, well, private stuff – all securely of course. All-in, it’s the perfect platform to connect one-on-one with your customers too.

Next, consider Instagram – the global photo app phenomenon that allows you to capture and share your life in pictures. One of the best things about Instagram is it’s simplicity – download the app; find some friends to follow; take some pictures; share them with your network – simple. Instagram also does a beautiful job of displaying your photos in an easy to view scrollable feed or grid layout. There’s no complicated set-up, and guess what, most of your customers have it installed already.

If you put these two products together, what you have is the makings of a simple e-commerce store. Your customers can view your products on Instagram and you can arrange pick-up, delivery, and even returns through WhatsApp. Furthermore, you can coordinate payments via wire transfer, or if you have the ability to accept credit or debit cards, you can manage this securely over the messaging service as well.

The beauty of all of this is there’s no need to pay for 3rd party software or install anything – simply list your WhatsApp number on your profile along with instructions on each post and customers will get in touch. As a transactional tool it’s brilliant because it’s simple. So what are you waiting for? Start your Instagram e-commerce store today.

Rob Barton

Head of Interactive + Principal