A practical guide to WhatsApp conversational commerce in 2024

Katie Morley

May 12, 2023

Katie Morley

May 12, 2023

With over 2 billion users, WhatsApp is one of the best messaging channels for marketers to reach their target audience.

There are tons of WhatsApp marketing tools that can help you leverage the messaging app to send simple promo messages, cart recovery prompts, event reminders, and more. However, WhatsApp recently made a big leap forward in this regard by introducing conversational commerce

This new capability lets companies transform the shopping experience in WhatsApp and gives customers a new way to discover, browse, and buy products, as shown in the video below. 

In this guide, we’ll dive deep into WhatsApp conversational commerce, including what it is, its benefits, and how to take advantage of it. We’ll also show two examples of companies that use WhatsApp to boost customer engagement, conversions, and revenue.

Insider—a Meta-verified Business Solution Provider—can help you take full advantage of WhatsApp’s marketing capabilities. Our platform also brings together the most extensive personalization capabilities for other channels like email, SMS, Facebook Messenger, web push, on-site, and more. 

To learn more, visit our website or schedule a demo with our team.


Table of Contents
  1. WhatsApp conversational commerce: Definition and benefits

  2. 2 Examples of companies using WhatsApp to drive engagement, conversions, and revenue

  3. How to set up and use conversational commerce in WhatsApp

  4. Unlock the power of WhatsApp marketing with Insider

WhatsApp conversational commerce: Definition and benefits

WhatsApp conversational commerce is the process of designing end-to-end buying experiences that let customers discover, browse, and buy products without leaving WhatsApp.

To fully understand this new capability, we have to start by discussing how WhatsApp’s regular marketing features work.

Since the release of the WhatsApp Business API, brands have been using WhatsApp to send different types of promo messages, like:

  • Price drop alerts. These are a great way to drive quick purchases, especially if you can show relevant product recommendations to users with a high discount affinity.
Insider WhatsApp price drop alert
  • Cart recovery prompts. These prompts help brands recover revenue by targeting users who added an item to their shopping cart but didn’t complete their purchase. 
Insider WhatsApp cart recovery message
  • Appointment reminders. These help companies delight their customers by ensuring they don’t miss important events, like upcoming flights, product demos, and so on.
Insider WhatsApp event reminders

Despite their usefulness, these initial WhatsApp capabilities were somewhat limited, because customers always had to be redirected to a site or app to finish their purchase, book a demo, or complete another transactional activity.

Conversational commerce changes that by allowing customers to discover products, add them to their carts, and check out—all inside WhatsApp.For example, say you send customers a promo message about new arrivals or discounted products in your eCommerce store. With a conversational commerce platform (like our WhatsApp Commerce), you can have customers browse and buy your store’s products directly from WhatsApp.

Insider Whatsapp conversational commerce mens shoes

Or, let’s say you use WhatsApp to send cart recovery prompts. Instead of trying to get users back to your site to finish their purchase, WhatsApp Commerce lets them do so directly in the app.

These end-to-end buying experiences have four key benefits over traditional WhatsApp marketing:

  1. Reduced friction. Conversational commerce removes the biggest drop-off point in the WhatsApp customer experience—having to go to an external app or site. As with all other journeys, the lower the friction, the higher the conversion rates.
  2. Easier product discovery. Conversational commerce gives users access to your product catalog directly in WhatsApp. This drastically simplifies product discovery since, again, customers don’t have to go to an external site or app.
  3. Novelty. Marketing tactics tend to produce worse results over time as more and more companies start using them. WhatsApp’s conversational commerce has a big advantage here as it’s still very new, not used by many companies, and interesting to mobile-first customers.
  4. Fast pre- and post-purchase customer support. Shoppers often have various questions during their journeys, like “What’s your refund policy?”, “How can I contact your team?”, “Can I exchange this for another item?”, and so on. With conversational commerce, you can set up quick replies for frequently asked questions (FAQ) or redirect users to live agents for more complex issues. This is a big improvement over requiring people to contact you via email or phone, which was initially the norm with WhatsApp.

2 Examples of companies using WhatsApp to drive engagement, conversions, and revenue

In this section, we’ll look at two real-life examples of WhatsApp’s marketing capabilities. 

Note that the two brands below used Insider’s full WhatsApp marketing suite, including personalized promo messages, price drop alerts, reminders, and conversational commerce.

Example 1: Global beauty brand using WhatsApp to achieve a 2.3x increase in revenue per customer

One of our customers—a global beauty brand headquartered in Paris—realized they were losing revenue by missing key engagement opportunities in the customer journey. 

When analyzing their customer data, they found that WhatsApp would be a great channel to get in front of current and potential buyers. And after an initial call with our team, they decided to give WhatsApp a shot.

First, they used Insider’s pre-built opt-in templates and grew their WhatsApp subscriber base by 7x almost immediately.

With that, they were ready to design their new WhatsApp-based buying journeys and conversational campaigns.

Here are some of the prompts they leveraged to start conversations with their target audience:

  • Real-time price drop alerts. Using our price drop template and segmentation capabilities, the brand sent out highly-personalized alerts. These were targeted to VIP customers who had a high discount affinity, leading to a 67% increase in conversion rates.
Insider WhatsApp price drop alert
  • Replenishment reminders. Thanks to one of our conversational commerce templates, the brand created a replenishment reminder message to customers who had spent over $150 in the last 45 days. This campaign increased repurchase rates by 30%.
Insider WhatsApp replenishment campaign
  • Back-in-stock messages. Losing customers due to a lack of item availability was one of the brand’s biggest problems. That’s why they set up Architect—our drag-and-drop journey builder—to automatically send enticing back-in-stock alerts to their customers. This led to a 45% increase in recovered revenue.
Insider WhatsApp back in stock alert

Overall, this combination of promo messages, reminders, and conversational commerce tactics helped the brand achieve a 2.3x increase in revenue per customer.

For more details about this company’s WhatsApp marketing strategy, check out the full case study.

Example 2: Giant fashion retailer driving a 3.75x conversion rate boost through WhatsApp

Another one of our clients—a massive retail brand in Europe—noticed that customer engagement, conversions, and revenue from their traditional channels were stagnating.

SMS, email, and web push were no longer doing enough to help the brand reach its customer lifetime value (CLTV) and profitability goals. That’s why they decided to test WhatsApp as a new marketing touchpoint.

First, they used our opt-in templates to grow their subscriber base in a quick and compliant way

They collected thousands of opt-ins in days using a cross-channel strategy that involved their website, push notifications, and even scannable QR codes on physical receipts.

Insider WhatsApp opt-in pop-up mobile app

Then, they used our WhatsApp templates to start sending all kinds of personalized messages as part of their new conversational campaigns, including:

  • Order updates.
  • Event reminders.
  • Car recovery prompts.
  • Service notifications, and more.
Insider WhatsApp automations

Their new conversational WhatsApp campaigns achieved:

  • A 97% open rate.
  • A 29.9% clickthrough rate.
  • A 35x ROI compared to their standard email campaigns in just 60 days of using Insider.

Here’s what the brand’s Customer Loyalty Director had to say about this experience:

“We weren’t sure where to start when it came to using WhatsApp as a complementary channel. Insider was able to demystify the entire process. The roll-out was fantastic. I was hesitant about claims of short timescales and a lack of internal resources, but we were live within 6 days rather than 6 months. The go-live was largely thanks to Insider’s pre-approved templates—which were submitted on our behalf to reduce efforts from my own team. The initial results were phenomenal. WhatsApp has already provided a significant bump to our conversion rate, customer lifetime value and—crucially—revenue. We’re excited to now leverage Insider’s WhatsApp capabilities in a more sophisticated way as part of our zero-party data collection strategy. We’re already exploring conversational commerce via two-step conversational messages which adapt based on a user’s responses.”

For a deeper dive into the brand’s WhatsApp marketing approach, check out the full case study.

How to set up and use conversational commerce in WhatsApp

While powerful, WhatsApp’s conversational commerce can take you a while to set up. There are a bunch of actions you need to take, which can be broadly organized into three steps:

  1. Creating a WhatsApp Business API profile. You can set up the WhatsApp API yourself, although the process is difficult and time-consuming. Alternatively, you can avoid that by partnering with a Business Solution Provider (BSP) like Insider. BSPs are companies whose WhatsApp expertise has been verified by Meta, allowing them to do many things on your behalf, including creating your profile and getting you set up on the WhatsApp Business platform.
  2. Building message templates and getting them approved. In order to run any WhatsApp marketing campaign, you need to get your message templates approved by Meta’s team. BSPs can help you with this as well. For example, Insider has tons of pre-made WhatsApp templates for use cases like surveying customers, cart abandonment, and more. Our platform also helps you create new templates, manage them, and apply for approval, without having to use Meta’s API or another third-party tool.
  3. Designing conversational flows. Conversational flows are the sequences of steps customers go through in WhatsApp—from clicking on “Shop now”, to moving between categories, adding products to their carts, and so on. It’s crucial to design these flows in a logical way and to have a backup in case customers ask questions (i.e., set up WhatsApp chatbot automations or have live support agents on standby). This can be a complicated process, so at Insider we have dedicated conversational designers who can build these flows for you based on your specific products, goals, and customer expectations.

Unlock the power of WhatsApp marketing with Insider

Insider can help you take advantage of WhatsApp’s full marketing potential to boost customer satisfaction, conversions, and revenue. As Meta-verified BSP, we can:

  • Create your WhatsApp Business account and set up the WhatsApp API for you.
  • Help you build templates, manage them in our platform, and get them approved by Meta’s team.
  • Leverage all WhatsApp marketing capabilities—from personalized promo messages to price drop alerts, event reminders, and conversational commerce.

However, Insider is not just a WhatsApp marketing solution. It’s an enterprise marketing platform for creating individualized, cross-channel experiences on every touchpoint customers have with your brand—from your website and mobile app to channels like WhatsApp, SMS, email, web push, and more.

Here’s a quick overview of our platform’s key capabilities.

Data aggregation and 360-degree customer profiles

Insider’s Actionable Customer Data Platform (CDP) can aggregate your customer data—from websites, mobile apps, analytics tools, CRMs, and any other online or offline source—into a central database.

This helps you overcome data silos and get a clear view of the entire customer journey with detailed 360-degree customer profiles, like the one shown below.

Insider Unified Customer Profile

This unified data is the foundation for creating personalized experiences based on each customer’s behaviors, interests, and preferred touchpoints.

Learn more: 7 best customer data platforms (CDPs) in 2023.

AI-powered segmentation

Insider’s powerful segmentation lets you find the right target audiences for your marketing efforts.

Our AI-powered algorithms create various predictive audiences based on users’:

  • Likelihood to purchase.
  • Likelihood to churn.
  • Discount affinity.
  • Potential LTV, and more.
Insider predictive segments

You can combine these predictive audiences with the standard ones based on on-site or in-app behaviors, channel engagement, purchase history, and other audiences shown below.

Insider standard segments

Finally, Insider also creates lots of useful predefined audiences that are a great starting for building your segments. For example, these predefined audiences include users who: 

  • Abandoned their carts.
  • Abandoned a product page.
  • Made a successful purchase.
  • Interacted with your brand on a channel like WhatsApp, email, or SMS.
  • And more.
Insider manual segment creation

These versatile segmentation capabilities make it super easy to narrow down and target the right audiences in your marketing campaigns.

Cross-channel personalization and automation

We built Insider to help brands use their data to create personalized experiences and automate marketing campaigns across all touchpoints—including their websites, mobile apps, WhatsApp, push notifications, email, SMS, and Facebook Messenger. 

Thanks to this broad channel support and extensive personalization capabilities, Insider can help you:

  • Build and automate high-performing marketing campaigns.
  • Consolidate your marketing stack.
  • Simplify your workflow.

For example, our journey orchestration tool (called Architect) lets you create and automate cross-channel marketing campaigns via a simple drag-and-drop editor. It also uses AI to help you find the right channels, send messages at the right times, and much more.

Insider journey builder next best channel selection

Our powerful personalization software also lets you deliver tailored content, messaging, and product recommendations at each touchpoint

For example, say you have a segment of leads who have a high discount affinity and an interest in a specific product category on your site. You can use Insider to:

  • Run a WhatsApp campaign with discount codes for products from that category.
  • Try another channel (like SMS or email) for users who don’t engage with you via WhatsApp.
  • Personalize every element of your website—including banners, categories, and pop-ups—to this segment’s behaviors and interests.

In short, Insider ensures you’re making the most out of your marketing efforts and budget by delivering the right messages to the right audiences at the right times.

To see Insider in action and learn how it can help you reach your business goals, book a demo with our team


What is WhatsApp Conversational Commerce?

WhatsApp conversational commerce is a business strategy that leverages the WhatsApp messaging platform to engage with customers, answer queries, provide support, and facilitate transactions through natural, text-based conversations.

Why is WhatsApp Conversational Commerce important?

It enables businesses to offer personalized, real-time interactions, streamline customer service, and drive sales within a widely used messaging app.

Is WhatsApp Conversational Commerce secure?

WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption for messages, ensuring the security and privacy of customer interactions.

Katie is an award-winning content marketer with over eight years of experience in content strategy, development, and copywriting. As Global Content Director at Insider, she currently oversees content strategy across 26 regions. Fun fact: Katie read 64 books last year (for which she owes a long commute and two week-long holidays where she spent approximately six hours a day with her nose in a book).