2 ways to take orders from your customers via WhatsApp

COVID-19 had transformed every small business in these past few months. Essential stores are moving online in a hurry to receive orders and offer pick up/delivery in this #stayAtHome world. But taking orders via phone or ad hoc messaging is difficult and has no tracking. In this article today, we will look at 2 ways you can let your customers place orders via WhatsApp, one with WhatsApp Business and the other with Google Forms.

Option 1: Use WhatsApp Business to setup your online store

WhatsApp Business is a free mobile app. You can download it for Android or IPhone from the respective app stores. Here are some of WhatsApp Business’s features that will be useful to setup your online store.

Note: WhatsApp business verification is currently limited to a small number of businesses participating in a pilot program.

Feature What you can do
Create a catalog It lets you create a catalog to showcase your products with nice images and price details.
Take orders You can broadcast this catalog to your customers or they can find it from your profile. They can pick the products within their WhatsApp and place their orders by typing in the desired quantity of the items from this list.
Calculation of totals A single order is sent as separate messages of individual items and their quantities. Order total is not automatically calculated.
Delivery details Your customers can share their map location of their home, instead of typing their delivery address.
Order & inventory Management You receive your customers’ orders within WhatsApp. You can organize and track order status by defining and tagging them with suitable labels like “new order”, “in-progress”, “delivered” etc. For the inventory, you must make changes to your catalog regularly.
Payment Currently WhatsApp business doesn’t support any payment method by default.

Pro:
This is a great tool for your business, if you have up to 10 products and a relatively small customer base around 50-100.

Cons:
Without a calculated total, customers do not know how much they owe you at the end of their order.
It is difficult to maintain a catalog or changing it often for more than 10 items
To let your customers know of the changed catalog, you need to broadcast messages to them from time-to-time. Remember
It takes many clicks and typing of quantity to complete a single order. Not a desirable ordering experience for the customers.
You cannot use your single WhatsApp number between personal and business messaging.

Option 2: Take orders with Google Forms + Google Sheets + Whatsapp

Google Forms is the easiest way to create an online form. You can list your products with prices and let your customers enter or choose the desired quantity they want. All the responses are collected in Google Sheets and you can see them in a single shot. You can receive them on your WhatsApp, using WhatsTarget, a Google Forms add-on. It will link your Google Form with your WhatsApp number and send you the orders as and when your customers submit.

There are 3 steps to setup your order form:
1. Create an online order form using Google Form (or use this template to get started)
2. Install WhatsTarget add-on from GSuite Marketplace, to link the Google Form to work with your Whatsapp
3. Add calculations to show order summary and total. Please read on this detailed article to know how to add calculated fields to your Google Form.

Feature What you can do
Create a catalog Use Google Forms to create a catalog to showcase your products with nice images and price details (or use this template to get started).
Take orders Whether you have a website or not, you can publish this form in a neat looking format for your customers to access it both on desktop or mobile. They can click and choose the products and submit their orders in the form. You can share a short link or QR code to your customer base or use it with any offline or online marketing channels.
Calculation of totals Order Total and Summary will be shown to your users, even before they can submit their orders.
Delivery details Your customers can share their delivery details part of the same order form.
Order & inventory Management You receive all your customers’ orders as a text message, within WhatsApp. It will help you and your colleagues prepare the orders on the field. All these responses are collected in the Google Sheets as well for a consolidated view. You can extend or extract the data from Google Sheet to update your inventory and accounting.
Payment Integrations with payment systems are possible by redirecting the customers before or after submission of the Google Forms to your desired online payment gateway. Or you may simply want to instruct them for cash on pickup or delivery.

Pro:
1. It makes it easy for your customers to place their orders seamlessly via Google Forms + Whasapp. Your customers will love it!


Con:
The solution is priced at $8 per month for more than 10 responses.

Your store has the right enterprising quality and a very loyal customer base. Use this opportunity today to add convenience to your customers to order your products/services with the ease from their Whatsapp!