In the last decade, WhatsApp has become the primary communication tool for million's of Indians. In the past year alone, 1.2 billion Indians have used WhatsApp to keep in contact with friends and family, for getting information and guidance, and for carrying out essential transactions. This has made several businesses, not only in India but all around the globe, to include WhatsApp into their business model. From communication to marketing, businesses have acknowledged the growing potential of WhatsApp and are increasingly using it to target their customers. If you’re thinking of using this mobile app to do the same, it’s important to not only understand how WhatsApp works but also gain an understanding of the WhatsApp Commerce Policy.

What is WhatsApp Commerce Policy?

The WhatsApp Business & Commerce policy can be simply defined as a set of rules and restrictions to monitor business activities across the platform. The policy’s main purpose is to ensure that customers who use WhatsApp aren't affected by spam messages and other negative experiences. The policy helps customers have safe and meaningful conversations with businesses. Tying businesses to this policy means that they’ve implemented measures to ensure customer safety and that they don't bombard them with advertisements and other irrelevant content.

Small & Large businesses that use the WhatsApp Business API for selling their products & services are under a duty to comply with the WhatsApp Business API Commerce Policy. If they choose not to comply, they may face consequences in their marketing operations. The commerce policy was created to govern several aspects of WhatsApp starting from its message threads to its catalogues.

Consequences of Violating WhatsApp Commerce Policy

If you fail to comply with the WhatsApp's Business Policy, you might experience WhatsApp banning you from the platform for a few months, maybe for several months, and possibly permanently. It’s not as straightforward as violating Facebook’s policies, after being banned from WhatsApp, you will have to start over and re-establish your presence on the platform. Therefore, there is a real threat that your business will fail to reach a large user base if you violate the WhatsApp Commerce Policy.

WhatsApp states that after a violation, it will send a warning message to the concerned business and provide a 3 month grace period to make sure that the violation is resolved. During this grace period, the platform will also closely monitor the business for any additional violations. If the violation is not resolved, it will roll out additional enforcement actions like temporary blocks on messaging. The next stage would be a permanent block or ban. WhatsApp believes that warnings allow businesses to adjust their activity to avoid receiving further disruptive actions.

How to Make Sure You Always Comply With WhatsApp's Commerce Policy

The importance of WhatsApp’s commerce policy is paramount for all businesses, no matter their size, domain or geographical location. Therefore, businesses need to understand how they can always comply with the WhatsApp Commerce Policy.

WhatsApp considers all messages, descriptions, prices, fees and other legal/transaction documentation as part of its commerce policy. It should also be noted that businesses are solely responsible for providing any sales-related information, terms & conditions during their interactions with the customers. The businesses are also responsible for determining, collecting & remitting taxes, additional charges or fees during their sales process.

Suggested Read: All you need to know about WhatsApp Business API

Prohibited Products/Services

Businesses should not sell/showcase illegal products or services to customers. Illegal products/services may differ based on the geographical regions. The following are some of the products & services that Indian businesses should not sell through WhatsApp.

  1. Weapons & Ammunitions
  2. Tobacco & Related Products
  3. Alcohol & Related Products
  4. Adult Products & Services
  5. Animals
  6. Gambling Services
  7. Products or Services that offer access to unauthorized/pirated Digital Media
  8. Medical & Healthcare Products (No Direct Sales)
  9. Dating Services
  10. Digital or Subscription-based Services
  11. Fake or Virtual Currency

*Please note that this list is not exhaustive and does not include all of the products & services. Furthermore, the list of illegal products & services might differ based on the region your business operates in. Therefore, a thorough understanding of state/city/region laws is necessary.

Points To Consider

Businesses also need to consider that their business models or products/services do not fall under the list of prohibited products & services. In fact, even if you’re not selling any illegal products, there are other factors that need to be considered. They are as follows:

  1. Businesses should ensure that their information & messages are not fraudulent or misleading in nature.
  2. Business models, products, services & communication should not target or put undue pressure on a group of people based on their religion, race, caste, language or other factors.
  3. Businesses should not provide products or services that are detrimental to society.
  4. Businesses should refrain from using vulgar or abusive language that may cause distress to the end users.
  5. Businesses should not interact with customers unless they get permission from them(message opt-in). If the customers deny permission, businesses should not spam them with messages.
  6. Businesses should ensure that their products/services do not infringe or violate the intellectual property rights like copyright or trademark.

With Gallabox, Never Again Worry About Updates to WhatsApp Commerce Policy

The WhatsApp Business API Commerce Policy is constantly evolving and, businesses need to keep a look out for the latest updates. Furthermore, the commerce policy also differs based on the geographical region and the laws governing that region. These factors are generally what deters several companies from conducting their business transactions through WhatsApp. However, you need to worry again as you can partner with an experienced WhatsApp Business service provider like Gallabox.

Gallabox, a leading WhatsApp solution provider in India, has a comprehensive understanding of the WhatsApp Commerce Policy and has helped numerous businesses leverage WhatsApp to drive traffic, boost ROI, increase conversion and generate more sales. Additionally, our team of industry experts have been working closely with WhatsApp and we understand the latest updates of the Commerce Policy. With our help, you can use WhatsApp to connect with customers in an effective & safe manner.

Further Reading:

Here are some articles that might interest you,