Gone are those days when running a business meant going door-to-door, showcasing your product and convincing people to buy it. With the pandemic happening unexpectedly and the world coming to a halt, businesses were affected globally.
The communication gap between the buyers and sellers kept growing because of a lack of direct contact. Even the biggest brands could no longer rely on foot traffic to increase their sales and brand awareness.
Yes, there are websites and online stores and shopping sites, but the fear of being scammed often prevents Indians from shopping online. And when there are an overwhelming number of online sites, it does become difficult to convince the customers of your authenticity, especially for small businesses that cannot afford fancy or expensive websites. In such circumstances, WhatsApp came as a relief to several homegrown businesses and customers too.
WhatsApp for Business
While initially, WhatsApp was mainly used as a messaging application, it came up with the WhatsApp Business app, enabling users to run their respective businesses through the widely-popular app. It’s a mobile application that can be downloaded on your Android phone through the Play Store or an iPhone through App Store. It is an easy-to-use integrated app that gives you multiple features for the smooth functioning of your business.
The shifting of businesses to WhatsApp gave rise to a business ecosystem called WhatsApp Commerce. It is a business model where companies connect with their customers using WhatsApp as the primary communication medium. Thus, if you are a business selling products online or wish to, you can use the WhatsApp ecosystem to build a brand for your business by providing high-quality services to your customers.
How Does WhatsApp Commerce Work?
WhatsApp is a household name globally. Today, we communicate widely through WhatsApp and are more likely to respond to anyone through WhatsApp rather than SMS or email. With this in mind, e-commerce enablers have integrated with WhatsApp so that the merchants selling via e-commerce platforms can engage with their customers through WhatsApp.
But you might be wondering how all that might work, right? Well, let’s read on.
Features of WhatsApp Commerce
The WhatsApp ecosystem may provide you with the following features which will help you build high engagement with your customers –
1. WhatsApp Ads
Like online ads, we have WhatsApp Ads where you can run your ads across various platforms, and when a user clicks on them, your WhatsApp will become the landing channel.
2. Green-Tick Verification
As easy as the internet is, there are also a lot of online scams that happen. Thus, no one is comfortable sharing their numbers easily with others, especially anyone unknown. So, to assure buyers and gain their trust in the merchants, they have come up with “Green-Tick Verification”, where sellers will have to enter their business details and phone number, get a verification code and thus get verified.
3. Conversion of Leads into Customers
Through the WhatsApp Commerce ecosystem, you can convert leads into customers using targeted promotional messages and personalised bulk campaigns, helping you create customised templates and providing merchants with pre-approved excellent performing templates.
4. Chat and Sell
We now have chatbots on many websites which reply to customer queries. The ecosystem provides a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence, through which buyers can make purchases by chatting on WhatsApp. This process is quite simple, user-friendly and effective.
5. 24/7 Customer Support
The WhatsApp chatbot helps you provide 24/7 support to your customers. It also enables you to automate your conversations with the buyers, helping them gain trust in your brand. Besides, you can also integrate the WhatsApp chatbot into your WordPress store.
6. Abandoned Cart Recovery
Often, a customer may add a product to the cart and not check out due to payment issues or other reasons and may forget to buy the item. To avoid loss of orders, the system will send messages to the customer to recover the cart, share the link to the product check-out page, and thus help you improve the purchases by over 60 percent.
7. Post-Order Management
We all know that sales never end by selling the product to the customer. You need to keep up consistently with your customers. When a customer orders something from your online store, you need to provide them with the tracking details of their order. Also, from a business perspective, you are not done with one order from a customer. You need to retarget your customers to expand your customer base. You can increase your engagement with the converted leads via automated messages with the ecosystem.
Using WhatsApp Commerce for Your Online Store
For a business, enabling the WhatsApp ecosystem for your business can be helpful in many ways. You can group and segment your audience depending on your preferences, monitor the dashboard for your online business, create templates and catalogues, and provide customer support, increasing brand loyalty and connecting you to more potential customers.
As seen above, the various features of the WhatsApp ecosystem and how they can add value to your business and your customers, the question is, how does it all fit with your online store?
You can make a WhatsApp ecosystem for your business by doing the following-
1. Tie up with an e-commerce enabler to create your online store or website.
2. Create a WhatsApp Business Account through Facebook Business Manager.
3. Once this is done, get onboarded with the e-commerce enabler to kickstart your WhatsApp Commerce journey.
For any business, there are various online platforms to conduct your marketing. However, with having the highest number of users, it becomes obvious to focus on marketing via the app.
Benefits of WhatsApp Marketing
1. WhatsApp users love it as a communication channel, So the chances of potential customers ignoring your messages are significantly less.
2. The WhatsApp ecosystem is built user-friendly, providing both; pre-order and post-order experiences to the buyer. This leaves an excellent impression on the buyer, which creates goodwill.
3. After the initial order, you can connect with the customers for queries, promotions etc.
4. You may use the WhatsApp commerce system as an alternative to a website.
WhatsApp is the most used communication application across India. From teenagers to grandparents, all can easily use WhatsApp. Thus, if businesses use WhatsApp to connect with their customers, it would provide a better communication channel, creating more orders and bridging the gap between the buyer and seller.
Considering the same, e-commerce enablers such as Bikayi have partnered with WhatsApp to provide a user-friendly ecosystem to businesses via WhatsApp commerce.