Getting Personal: Conversational Commerce with WhatsApp Marketing
Conversational commerce has made its way to a platform that is accessed by more than 2 billion people on a monthly basis—you know this platform well, it’s WhatsApp.
The messaging app has made it easier for businesses to reach out to their audience at every point of their purchasing journey. So, how are businesses doing this? How are they turning an everyday messaging app into a marketing channel?
What is Conversational Commerce?
The intersection of messaging apps and shopping refers to conversational commerce. It enables customers and brands to interact with each other over channels such as messaging apps (WhatsApp, WeChat or Facebook Messenger) or even Voice-based applications (Google Home, Amazon Echo). It is growing fast and it is allowing brands to directly communicate with customers using chatbots powered by AI.
Conversational commerce through messaging apps is nothing like the distracting banners or pop-ups that not just annoy the customers but also make them lose interest in services and products. In fact, it paves the way for a significant interaction between a business and its potential customers, which establishes more personal and valuable relationships.
Conversational e-commerce is all about better reach, more personalized discussions and, therefore, more sales. When businesses deliver hands-on support to their customers, it automatically improves their chances of turning a lead into a conversion.
Lastly, it is particularly important for customers to feel involved in the conversation when they talk to a brand spokesperson. Currently, WhatsApp chatbots are the first point of contact for a brand’s customer, which makes sure that interactions are engaging and worthwhile.
Rise of Conversational Commerce on WhatsApp
Messaging has become an integral part of everyone’s lives and it is obvious that customers prefer to interact with businesses through the same channels that they use daily.
More than 1.6 billion people, across 180+ countries, use WhatsApp to stay in touch with each other. The two new additions of WhatsApp Business API and WhatsApp Business have also allowed businesses to look into leveraging their connections with their customers in more innovative ways.
The media capabilities of WhatsApp, such as sharing pictures, PDFs, audio and video files, etc., can enable the support or sales teams to answer product queries and offer customer support. But that is not all! Businesses can send appointment reminders, boarding tickets, shipping alerts, customer support messages, payment links, QR codes for verification, product demonstration videos, customer surveys and more with WhatsApp.
The platform is end-to-end encrypted, so all messages are secure. Businesses can interact with their customers in real-time with no limits and an unprecedented level of privacy. However, WhatsApp does restrict the capacity to send unwarranted, promotional messages to users. Customers can block and report you if they don’t want to see your messages anymore.
Furthermore, businesses can either communicate via a chatbot or an agent on WhatsApp. You can select this based on the particular needs of the customer and the goal of the communication.
Brands on WhatsApp
With the support of WhatsApp Business API, businesses are now able to balance efficiency and personalisation to develop a seamless buying experience for their current and future customers. Here’s how Netflix and Hellmann’s are using WhatsApp marketing strategies.
You have just binge-watched one series and you want to see another. But you want to find something that’s good and aligns with your interests. You can text your friends to ask what shows have 20 episodes per season. However, they might not be able to help. That’s why Netflix wants to save you the trouble.
The basic idea of the campaign is to re-engage users on WhatsApp who have been inactive for some time. Netflix began their test campaign in India in 2017 and then in the United Kingdom.
How does the Netflix campaign work? Everything begins with notifications that show up when you are on the Netflix app. Then, they will start sending you recommendations over WhatsApp. Netflix isn’t just spamming your WhatsApp with random movie or TV show recommendations. They know your interests on the app, so they know what recommendations to send you, what you will enjoy.
Hellmann’s WhatsApp campaign has to be among the best-orchestrated campaigns of all time. Users were acquired through a special website set up by Hellmann’s. Users simply entered their phone numbers and opted-in to the campaign.
Once a user signed up, they receive a message on their WhatsApp account from a human chef, who prompts them to upload a picture of ingredients they have on hand. Then, the chef gives them advice on what they can cook with those ingredients together with Hellmann’s products.
The campaign was a massive success. Presented at the SM2 conference by Unilever, it was revealed that the brand prompted 4 million people to visit the website via various channels. 13,000 people registered on the website as a result.
Among the most astonishing metric of this campaign was the amount of time users spent interacting with the chef—it was a whopping 65 minutes!
WhatsApp is the most engaging and personal channel to date. It can bypass the email and SMS channels that can become spammy. WhatsApp can be kept clean and become a channel that provides value to customers and help establish enjoyable experiences that will nurture long-term relationships.
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