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WhatsApp is the silver bullet in sales. Over 80% of the surveyed small and medium businesses think that having a WhatsApp chat button in their e-commerce store is essential for business growth, as reported by Gadgets360. If you haven’t started integrating your Shopify store with WhatsApp, SleekFlow is here to give you the ultimate how-to guide. 

What is WhatsApp Business API?

If you are one of the 220.5 million WhatsApp Business users, you are doing business the right way. The free application allows businesses to create a profile to display company name, logo, website, location, working hours and product catalogue. It offers some basic tools to automate reply and check messaging statistics. Nonetheless, it was built with small business owners in mind and you may find the limitations below pretty annoying as your business grows:

  • Only one agent can manage all conversations on either Web or App at one time.

  • No way to send bulk personalised text messages - one has to repeatedly copy and paste the same text and send in different chat rooms.

  • Risk of being blocked or marked as spam by unpleasant customers and not being able to know why.

  • Difficult to keep track of sent and reply rates for future analysis.

Medium to large companies often resort to the paid solution - WhatsApp Business API. It is a developer tool to support business communications at scale. The main benefits include:

  • A team of customer service representatives can access one WhatsApp Business account at the same time.

  • Develop marketing automation tools to broadcast personalised messages at scale. 

  • Integrate with your existing e-commerce store to send targeted messages like order notifications and shipping updates.

  • Green tick official verification and company name displayed on the profile even if the customer has not saved the business in their contact list, giving customers a confidence boost and reducing spam complaints.

Want to know more about WhatsApp Business API? Read our essential guide.

What is the difference between Live Chat and WhatsApp?

80% of consumers in the United Kingdom used social media platforms for shopping in 2021. More than 50% of the country's population buy fashion products through both online stores and messaging apps. If you are selling apparel, beauty products or home electronics, injecting social commerce strategy into your business model is a smart move. Wondering which channel is the best for selling through chat - WhatsApp or the little add-ons like a Live Chat widget that pops up everytime one enters your online store? Here’s a fair comparison.

Similarities

Live Chat and WhatsApp share a lot of similarities. Both channels facilitate real-time one-to-one communication. They are crucial for shortening a buyer’s journey, because when online buyers can't physically check the product’s quality, that’s where trust comes into play. Giving a customer the information they need when they need it demonstrates sales integrity. Live Chat and WhatsApp both support chatbot implementation, to automatically delegate routine, simple and repetitive enquiries to the virtual assistant.

Live chat for lead generation and website analytics

Live Chat is a chat widget linked to your website. The chat is triggered based on the visitor's actions so it allows you to proactively reach your customer. You can customise different messages to catch users’ attention based on the page they are browsing. If a visitor is staying on your home page for a while, a welcome message to help them navigate through product information would be very helpful; when a visitor is viewing a landing page, discount popups could help drive sales. 

Live Chat Lead Form

Live Chat is also a powerful lead generation tool - you can plug in a lead form and get customers to fill in their contact details for future communications. Thanks to its web-based nature, it is also an excellent analytics tool to find out what pages are performing well in attracting conversions, so you can remap the customer journey on your website accordingly. 

The downside is when a visitor closes the webpage, conversation history on the visitor’s interface is removed. Moreover, Live Chat stores data based on a visitor's IP address, so it’s not very easy to resume conversation with people who switch between a mobile device and a computer.

WhatsApp for an intimate, personalised experience

The typical online purchases involve as many as six steps and take about 3 hours. People use the pocket of time they spend moving between daily chores to ponder about their purchase desires - from online search on social media sites, reading reviews, comparing different brands, asking for friends’ opinions, placing items into a shopping cart, to finally paying. 

sleekflow handling multiple channels including whatsapp

Now, if you reach them through WhatsApp, you can reinforce their needs even after they left your online store. WhatsApp’s conversation history is synchronised between mobile and web versions, so the customer service representatives can pick up where the conversation was left off easily. 

Another notable point is WhatsApp users are much more tolerant with slower response time. People expect a response in Live Chat within 35 seconds, but 1-2 hours waiting time in WhatsApp is acceptable, thanks to the app’s great mobile experience and vast user base, making it an essential part of everyday life. 

Live ChatWhatsApp
Ease of customer engagementInteracts instantly with website visitors without requiring phone number or e-mail addressRequires contact details to start a conversation
Mobile experiencePlug-in on website; Need to optimise the website to make live chat accessible on mobile devicesMobile application and web version
Conversation historyChat history will be removed once the session ends Chat history is stored in both the app or web versions
Common use caseVirtual helpdesk; Generate marketing leads; Track website performanceVirtual sales representative; Broadcast marketing messages; Track campaign performance

The thing is, you don’t have to choose either one. Live Chat and WhatsApp Business complement each other.

Some Live Chat apps allow integration with other social channels, so you can add a WhatsApp button in your Live Chat widget and let your customers choose their preferred channels. 

live chat

Imagine a prospect visiting your website. The Live Chat widget pop ups, they type in their basic contact information to start the conversation and enquire about different shipping methods. Then they leave the website. You reach them through WhatsApp a few hours later to offer a shipping discount and give them a final push. And voila! They do a one-click checkout to complete the purchase.

The trick here is to use an omnichannel messaging software to group incoming messages from the same phone number but different channels into one inbox, so when customers switch from Live Chat to WhatsApp, your team can view all the conversation records and offer help right away. Also, if the complete shopping experience is made easy and convenient for the customers, you can undoubtedly maximise the sales and conversions from there.

sleekflow integration

Why should you add WhatsApp to Shopify?

One of the biggest challenges of operating an online store is to convert casual browsers into real shoppers or even loyal customers. However, Shopify store owners, you can install a WhatsApp-Live Chat widget and extend your sales effort beyond the e-commerce store. Some of the benefits include:

  • Offer instant help to a potential customer’s question

  • Get customers to react quickly from the solutions you provided 

  • Offer good customer service by giving real-time post-purchase and fulfilment updates 

  • Chat with end-to-end encryption to provide additional data security

  • Learn about your customer’s purchase intent and habits to improve retention

5 easy ways to use WhatsApp for Shopify

Need some inspiration to get more sales on Shopify via WhatsApp? Here are five easy ways to use WhatsApp to boost sales.

Send Shopify abandoned cart recovery alerts through WhatsApp

Set an event-driven automation rule to send check-out reminder messages after a customer abandoned a shopping cart for a while. Note that some of the common reasons for cart abandonment are unexpected extra cost, slow delivery time and complicated checkout processes. You can also set up chatbots to find out why they are hesitating and offer solutions, for example, send a time-limited promo code, just right away.

Send automated transactional update messages

Update customers about their order confirmation, “order is ready for dispatch” notifications and delivery statuses in a timely manner, especially at times when you have to delay or cancel orders to keep customers informed.

Share shopping cart details and send one-click checkout link

Simplify the checkout process by helping your customers add items into their shopping cart and send the details with payment link via chat. No new user account sign-up required means less friction to pay and a higher conversion rate.

Manage customer relationship through WhatsApp CRM

Customer relationship management can be a hassle, especially if you need to switch back and forth between different platforms to track order information and respond to your customers. A Shopify-WhatsApp integration allows you to view the customer’s WhatsApp chat room side-by-side with their Shopify’s purchase history and order status, so when an enquiry comes in, you can understand the customer’s situation at a glance and promptly attend to it.

Collect customer data and analyse spending behaviour

Segment your customers based on their Shopify purchase history and put them into different lists to broadcast retargeting messages. For example, you can upsell a customer (who wants to buy a phone) a similar product with higher value (a phone with better camera functions), or cross-sell a product that complements their previous purchase (a phone case).  Subsequently, you can dive into the causal relationship between your WhatsApp marketing effort and actual spending that had happened in the e-commerce store, turning messaging statistics into valuable sales data. 

SleekFlow - Manage 1,000 conversations in a sec

You will need an omnichannel business software for Shopify-WhatsApp integration. An ideal solution include these features:

  • Integration for multiple messaging apps and e-commerce platforms 

  • Automated tools to develop quick-replies and chatbots

  • Analytics tool to keep track of marketing and sales performance

  • Ability to create and share payment links in chat

  • Ability to import existing contact lists to broadcast personalised messages 

SleekFlow provides all the above functions. SleekFlow Live Chat is free of charge and it’s a good entry point if you want to try out the power of social commerce before upgrading to the Pro plan for WhatsApp-Business-Shopify integration. Sign up for a free account and customise your Live Chat widget, including contact form, pop-up messages and other alternative channels for website visitors to reach you. Then, a code will be generated and you can paste it on the footer section of your website. 

Check out how the healthy meal delivery company Nutrition Kitchen uses SleekFlow to increase sales.

SleekFlow is definitely suitable for any direct-to-consumer business, or anyone who needs to have regular communication with customers.

Wilfred Belsey

Head of Retention & CX

Step-by-step guide to integrate WhatsApp with Shopify

Step 1: Create an Official WhatsApp API account through a WhatsApp Partner

There are two official WhatsApp Business API providers: Twilio and 360dialog. You will need a valid phone number to submit the application. The whole process could take up to 2 weeks.

We are happy to assist you in choosing the WhatsApp API provider that suits your business best. Book a consultation.

Step 2: Connect your official WhatsApp Business account to SleekFlow

Once your Official WhatsApp API account is approved and provisioned, connect it to SleekFlow and manage WhatsApp messages on the inbox. Other than being a WhatsApp manager, SleekFlow also allows you to connect other channels, including Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM and your live chat widget to check incoming messages from all your existing channels in one place.

Adding WhatsApp channel

Step 3: Integrate Shopify to SleekFlow

Multiple Channels integration

Start Shopify integration on SleekFlow’s ‘Add Integration’ section. Here’s a checklist to complete a  successful integration: 

  • An eligible Shopify account 

  • Admin access to your linked Shopify page

  • Permission of access to private apps

  • Permission of read access to Products, Customers and Orders

  • Link the private app with SleekFlow

Fill in your Shopify Shop URL and API Password to connect your Shopify store to SleekFlow. If you wish to see your customer’s abandoned cart and order history on Inbox, you can synchronise customer contacts and orders from Shopify to SleekFlow with just their email or phone number. 

Where to find Shopify Shop URL
Where to find Shopify API password

After the integration, you can view Shopify order information, including latest order items, fulfilment statuses and payment records right next to the customer’s inbox. This is particularly useful when customers enquire about their order status through WhatsApp, and you can track at a glance. 

Shopify WhatsApp integration / 整合Shopify 與 WhatsApp

Step 4: Send Shopify order updates through WhatsApp

Use SleekFlow’s automation tools to send order updates to your customers using WhatsApp messages. Create an automation rule that runs based on event triggers, for example:

  • Send order confirmation message once the customer has paid

  • Send order shipping status update once the order is delivered

Send Shopify Order Update automation/ 發送Shopify網店訂單通知/ 发送Shopify订单通知

Step 5: Send abandoned cart reminder through WhatsApp

Remind your customers to check out their items in their abandoned cart. You can copy the order URL and approach them in WhatsApp to encourage them to place an order.

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