One-Stop Guide for Interactive WhatsApp Messages

Niloofar Kavousi
Last updated July 21, 2023
One-Stop Guide for Interactive WhatsApp Messages

Things can get chaotic if your business is growing and you have many customer inquiries. You want to attend to your customers’ questions and requests in a timely manner and increase sales. At the same time, you don’t have enough time to interact with every customer. What should you do? Well, you can try using WhatsApp’s interactive messages. They are applicable to many kinds of businesses, can increase your sales, save you a lot of time and give your customers a great experience.

Interactive messages are different from interactive message templates. Interactive message templates are used for starting a conversation with your customers outside of the 24-hour customer service window. You must submit them to WhatsApp for approval before you can use them. In contrast, interactive messages do not need approval from WhatsApp and are different in their content, format, and use.

What Are Interactive WhatsApp Messages?

Interactive messages offer your customers a simple way to find what they are looking for, whether it is a product or service, payment method, or answer to a question, all within WhatsApp.

Types of Interactive Messages

Interactive messages fall into four categories:

  • List Messages With list messages, you can provide your customers with a menu of up to 10 options to choose from. List Messages are best for presenting several options, such as a customer care or FAQ menu, a take-out menu, a selection of nearby stores or locations, and available reservation times. Although they don’t need approval from WhatsApp, you can only send list messages within 24 hours of the last message sent by your customer.

A list message and its components.

A list message and its components. Source: Meta

  • Reply Buttons Reply buttons can be used for asking customers various kinds of questions. They can include up to 3 options — each option is a button. The maximum number of characters for each button is 20. This type of message is best for offering quick responses from a limited set of options, such as airtime recharge, changing personal details, reordering a previous order, requesting a return, adding optional extras to a food order, or choosing a payment method. Similar to list messages, reply buttons cannot be sent as notifications and can only be sent within 24 hours of the last message sent by your customers.

WhatsApp message with reply buttons.

  • Single-Product Messages Messages with a single product item from the business’s inventory. The customers can view the product and take further action. Each message is comprised of:
    Body - Optional - 1024 characters maximum
    Footer - Optional - Text only, 60 characters maximum
    Action - Mandatory - Text only, 20 characters maximum 

A single product WhatsApp messsage.

  • Multi-Product Messages — Messages containing a selection of up to 30 items from a business’s inventory. Each message is comprised of:
    Body - Optional - 1024 characters maximum
    Footer - Optional - Text only, 60 characters maximum
    Action - Mandatory - Text only, 20 characters maximum 

A multy-product WhatsApp message.

Single and multi-product messages can only be sent as part of an existing conversation. Customers can forward them to others and reopen them within the same conversation. When customers receive these messages, they can do three things:

  • View the product(s) Whenever a customer clicks on a product, WhatsApp fetches the products’ latest information from the business’s inventory, and the products are displayed in a Product Detail Page (PDP) format. Currently, the PDP format supports images only. Videos and GIFs cannot be displayed.

  • Add products to a shopping cart A customer can add up to 99 units of each single catalog item to a shopping cart, but there is no limit on the number of distinct items that can be added to a cart. The shopping carts don’t have an expiration date and stay in the chat between the customer and the business until the cart is sent to the business. If a customer has multiple devices connected to the same WhatsApp account, the single-product and multi-product messages will be synced between all of the devices, but the shopping cart is local to each device. Only one shopping cart can be created per chat thread. 

  • Send shopping cart to the business — Once a cart has been sent to a business, no edits can be made. The business can define the next steps that happen, for example, by requesting delivery information or offering payment options. Customers can send a new cart if they need new items or would like to change their order. Businesses cannot send carts to customers.

To learn about what happens if the business updates its products, please visit Meta’s Share Products With Customers page.

Use Cases of Interactive Messages

A wide range of businesses, from grocery stores to finance businesses, can benefit from interactive messages. Here are a few examples of how a potential business can use each type of interactive message template.

List Messages for a Telecommunication Business

Let’s say that you have a telecommunication business and you’d like to let your customers buy SIM cards, phone chargers, and air-time from you. While you have a website that provides information on the products and services, you also want to set up a menu on WhatsApp so that your customers can easily find what they want.

One way to do this is to set up a list message that provides your customers with a menu of all of your products and services. Here is what it can look like:

List Message for a Telecommunication Business

After they select their desired products or services, you can guide them on further steps, such as making a payment.

Reply Buttons for a Veterinary Clinic

A pet owner looking for a vet for their cat finds the WhatsApp number of a vet clinic. They contact them and make a booking for a checkup. In their final step, they need to make a payment. The business can send an interactive message with reply buttons for different payment options. Here is what it looks like in the pet owner’s inbox:

A WhatsApp message with reply Buttons for a Veterinary Clinic.

They can then choose their option and have their booking confirmed.

Single-Product Messages for a Clothing Store

A clothing store wants to be readily available to its customers, so the owner has a WhatsApp number for the business. A customer contacts the business and asks for a green pullover, and the business has the item. The business uses a single-product interactive message to let the customer view it on their own, buy it, or ask more questions on WhatsApp.

Single-Product Messages for a Clothing Store

When the customer receives the message, they can view the pullover, add it to a shopping cart or send it to the business.

Multi-Product Messages for a Grocery Shop

A grocery shop owner that provides grocery delivery is using WhatsApp to let its customers contact them and buy products online. For example, a customer messages the business and asks them for vegetables and fruits. The business has the list of its products set up as a multi-product message to let the customers view them and make a purchase.

Multi-Product Messages for a Grocery Shop

Similar to single-product messages, customers can take three actions after receiving a multi-product message. They can view the items, add them to a shopping cart or send them to the business so that they guide them on the next steps.

Benefits of Interactive Messages

Interactive messages benefit businesses and customers in various ways:

Seamless Customer Experience

Interactive messages simplify how customers interact with your business. They can easily find what they are looking for, whether it is a product or a service, a payment method, or an answer to their question from an FAQ menu. They give the recipients a smoother experience than text-based messages. In fact, WhatsApp reported that compared to text-based lists, people had higher comprehension levels while interacting with interactive messages.

Higher Conversion Rate

With WhatsApp’s interactive messages, like single and multi-product messages, you bring your products and services to the tip of your customers’ fingers. In other words, it becomes easier for them to view your products, ask you questions in the chat and buy. As a result, customers have a higher incentive to make a purchase. In a study, WhatsApp found that:

“During testing, chatbots using interactive messaging features achieved significantly higher response rates and conversions compared to those that are text-based.”

Save Time

Imagine many customers asking you questions about your products throughout the day. It is very time-consuming to answer each of them and guide them separately. With interactive messages, you let the customers find the answers to their questions and the products that they are looking for. This lets you save time and focus on other important aspects of your business.

How to Create Interactive Messages

You can create interactive messages programmatically. For more information, please view Meta’s Share Products With Customers page.

Final Thoughts

If you’d like to improve your sales while giving your customers a smooth interaction with your business, you should set up interactive messages for your WhatsApp account. They make it easy for your customers to find what they are looking for without your direct assistance and help you free up time for more critical work.

Further Readings

All About Interactive WhatsApp Message Templates

The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business

27 WhatsApp-Approved Common Message Templates to Get You Started on WhatsApp

About the author
Niloofar Kavousi

Niloofar helps the team in marketing and partnerships. She has worked in startups and large enterprises and lived in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. When she’s not working, she enjoys socializing, doing reformer and getting lost in nature.