WhatsApp, a mobile application that revolutionized the text messaging with its cross-platform instant messaging service, is all set to change the way we interact with brands and business.
WhatsApp is a free mobile application with the global monthly active user base of more than 1.5 billion. It is considered as the most popular alternative to SMS in 109 countries which means 55.6% of the world chat with other WhatsApp users without incorporating SMS text message charges, especially the countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Malaysia where 60% of the population uses WhatsApp.
In India alone, WhatsApp has more than 200 million active users.
The mobile application was acquired by the social media giant Facebook in February 2014 and since then everyone expected it to become a source of paid marketing like Facebook and Instagram, but instead, it has always remained free of cost to its users. Even WhatsApp revoked its $1 annual subscription in 2016.
Given the stats for the user count, it is safe to assume that WhatsApp can act as a strong marketing platform. Keeping that mind, WhatsApp recently launched WhatsApp Business app for businesses to encapsulate the customer-brand interaction and relationship.
WhatsApp Business – Features
WhatsApp Business was solely released to provide a more generalized platform for the businesses to improve the experience of customer-business interaction.
This includes having a verified profile, messaging option to connect with the consumers and tools to track the progress.
- Business Profile
WhatsApp business let you create a Business profile with a mobile number not associated with your personal WhatsApp profile. It asks for your necessary contact information such as business email ID, contact number, and address.
There is also a location feature which let business to locate their business store or workplace on the map. All these information will help users to know about your business in a better way.
After receiving all the necessary information, WhatsApp aims to verify the business by giving them a Green tick to authenticate that only genuine businesses and store can reach to the customers.
India, being the biggest market of WhatsApp users, was one of the first countries to receive the beta version of WhatsApp version and so far only 4 major Indian brands have been verified by WhatsApp. These are BookMyShow, Zomato, RedBus, and 1mg.
WhatsApp Business aims at making it easy for the business to engage with their customers. The messaging tool of the WhatsApp Business facilitates the creation of message templates which can be sent automatically to the customers.
“Quick replies” let you set message templates for FAQs so you can easily respond to the customers. It also lets you set “Thank You” messages for customers who ordered something or details about the products and prices, “Greetings” message to initiate the first conversation with a customer and “Away” messages to let the customers know that you are unable to respond to them at a given time.
When it was launched, it was made pretty clear that this app will not serve as a bulk/professional messaging service. The sole objective is to bring the brands closer to customers and vice versa.
- Message Statistics
One of the important features of WhatsApp business is that it lets business owners to easily understand how their messages are performing. Currently, it provides the basic statistics like the number of messages sent, the number of messages delivered, the number of the messages read, and the number of messages received.
This data can offer useful insight to the business owners about the efficacy of their message strategies. This data can also be used to formulate new message strategies that generate better engagement with their audience.
The statistics that are currently offered are pretty basic and straightforward, and hopefully the future updates of the WhatsApp Business may include more detailed statistical data.
WhatsApp Business – Uses for Marketers
There are many use cases for WhatsApp Business which can be used to bridge the gap between brands and their consumers to a great extent. Some of the prominent ones are:
- For marketing promotion
WhatsApp business can be used as an amazing platform to promote products. Brands can send their customers offers, product release dates, promo codes and more.
Since WhatsApp Business enables one-on-one direct communication with the clients and consumers, it is important to make sure the information provided to them is worth their time.
- For updating order status
Taking the learning from BookMyShow, which is among the first 4 companies that begun using WhatsApp Business app, a business can send details about order status, order tracking links, shipment details etc. directly to the customers.
BookMyShow uses WhatsApp Business to send the tickets to the customers who booked movie/event tickets via India’s biggest ticket booking platform. The brand also gives users the option to opt out of the communication by simply replying ‘Stop’.
- To send reminders
Millennials are more close to their phones than anything else. Mobile phones and WhatsApp has become an integral part of their lifestyle, as they tend to check both very frequently.
WhatsApp Business can be used to send them reminders so that they can avoid missing out on important deadlines like boarding a flight or reaching a movie theatre on time.
- For customer support
No business likes to have a dissatisfied customer and it becomes a disaster if they don’t get any proper platform to complain.
An agitated customer may resort to posting negatively about your brand on the social media. With a trusted platform like WhatsApp, brands can directly approach such customers to maintain and improve the relationship between them.
- For product demos
WhatsApp is a platform that largely supports video content. Brands can send product videos to the customers and if someone makes a demo request, brands can send the directional and informational videos to the customers.
This facility is pretty useful for the businesses that have products that require guidance and assistance.
- To get reviews and ratings
WhatsApp is an easy platform to get your customers to review your product or service. Links or options to reply to a survey can be provided to the customers.
WhatsApp, being a platform for direct communication, can act as a motivator for the customers to give more accurate feedback. Intrigue them with innovative ways to give feedback and they will start interacting with you.
The above mentioned are just a few of the prominent use cases of the WhatsApp Business. To summarize, we can agree that:
- WhatsApp creates a brand persona for the business and improves customer engagement
- The local telecom industry and the native languages provide the opportunity for huge success
- Integrating it with other marketing platforms can help in creating a full-fledged marketing plan
Like any other new marketing platform, WhatsApp Business is at its initial stage. It is the right time to make use of the marketing efforts to get the best out of this platform before it comes overcrowded.
Unlike chatbots, WhatsApp Business app lets you provide a personal touch to your brand which you can use to gain your customers’ trust and build a real relationship out of it.
About the Author:
Ashish Sharma is the Chief Marketing Officer at WeDigTech, a Mobile App Development Company. He is responsible for marketing activities that have to do with creating, communicating and delivering offerings that have value for clients or business partners.