What is WhatsApp Business?
Whatsapp business is a free-to-download app built primarily for small business owners. This is a place where they can
- Create a business profile to share useful information such as mailing address, website and email address.
- Create a catalog to showcase their product/service.
- Connect with customers by leveraging tools to automate, sort and send quick response to messages (even when business are unable to answer in an instant).
- Create greeting messages to introduce your potential customers to your business.
Whatsapp business can also help medium and large business provide customer support and deliver important notifications/information to customers
What is the difference between WhatsApp & WhatsApp Business?
- WhatsApp (known as WhatsApp Messenger) & WhatsApp Business are two different apps:
When we search on Google Play Store or Apple App Store, we see that the app name and logos are different. Even though the look and feel of both the interfaces are similar, you will notice the difference when you look closely.
- Purpose & Application of the Apps
WhatsApp (Messenger) is a messaging app primarily meant for keeping in touch with your family, friends, colleagues and/or business partners, but not for promoting your business.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp Business enables you to use WhatsApp to communicate your business’ presence with your customers and help grow your business further. Nowadays, we also see some personal brands opening up their WhatsApp business accounts to promote themselves.
- Assortment of Features
Since the purpose of the existence of these apps is different, their functionality is also tuned to meet the specific requirement of the respective app userbase. WhatsApp (Messenger) has features like sharing of multimedia files, free calls and messages (international /national), group chats, chat backups, and much more. Other than the features that are already included in their Messenger App, users get features like setting up business profile, and business messaging tool including sending away messages. WhatsApp Business can also work by using your landline/fixed number (post verification).
How It Helps Customers
- Available for Customer, for their convenience
With the advent of free messaging apps, which use internet data for both messages & calls, WhatsApp is generally used as the default messaging platform by most customers. You yourself may have asked or have seen others asking if the number shared has WhatsApp linked with it. Since it’s a platform that your customers are present in, it is also essential for the business to be present on the platform that they prefer to communicate on. Additionally, your customer may be travelling overseas or even live abroad. WhatsApp, because it is one of the top messaging apps, provides businesses to get in touch and engage with the customers.
- To remain competitive
An article by The Economic Times states that as of Sep 2019, around one million small businesses have signed up on WhatsApp Business Platform in India. Globally, the figure stands at 5 million small businesses. Using WhatsApp Business as part of your business strategy may be essential to remain competitive.
- Real Time One-on-One Conversation
The platform enables your customers and businesses to interact in real-time as per convenience. Additionally, most of the communication can also be done in private, thus ensuring privacy. This also increases chances for real and engaging conversation with the customers.
How It Helps Brands/Marketers
01. For Updating Order Status
You can send order status, tracking links, etc. on WhatsApp to keep the user updated on their transitions. This is currently being done by BookMyShow, a leading online movie ticket platforms.
02. For reminders
Brands/businesses can leverage this platform to send reminders about flight or renewals, etc. For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines does this for their customers
03. For getting reviews & extended Support
You can ask customers for reviews/ratings along with feedback on your product/service, and since the conversation is one-on-one, chances of gathering accurate feedback is higher. Also, this can help tackle some dissatisfied customers who don’t know whom to talk to, and may turn to social media. Having platforms like WhatsApp may help reach out to buyers personally to improve relationships.
04. For Product Demos
Since WhatsApp is a platform that allows video content, product demonstration videos can be sent to customers requiring assistance.
How to open WhatsApp Business account?
Step 1: Download the App and Continue.
Step 2: Enter your Phone Number.
Step 3: Verify your Phone Number through OTP.
Step 4: Choose the Name and Kind of Business.
Congratulation – Now you have a WhatsApp Business Account
How to open a WhatsApp Broadcast Group?
Step 1: Go to the CHATS tab in WhatsApp.
Step 2: Tap “Menu” > “New group”
Alternatively, tap New chat > New group.
Step 3: Search for or select contacts to add to the group (at least 1). Then tap the green arrow.
Step 4: Type in a Group Subject (Group Name). Then tap the green check mark when you’re finished.
Step 5: Now that the group is formed, open the Group, Menu > Group info.
Step 6: Scroll down, Select > Invite Via Link. Copy or Share the link.
Many entrepreneurs have tasted stupendous success with WhatsApp Business app. The scale at which their business grew has been unprecedented. Let’s have a look at the most successful stints with the app in India:
- Fishappy: Parthaa Kundu, a Delhi-based entrepreneur took his fish retail brand Fishappy to a new level through WhatsApp Business. Since his prospective clients were already using the app, conversion became easy and business sped up from serving 350 customers in 18 months to 500 customers a month across the Delhi-NCR region. The app now provides 97% of his business.
- Lightspeed Mobility: This Ahmedabad-based battery-operated bicycle brand has leveraged WhatsApp Business to personalize communication with buyers. Founder Rahil Rupawala says the brand’s WhatsApp Business number handles 250-300 queries a day, through which they sell over 100 cycles in the Rs30000-60,000 range a month.
- Scripbox: This is a fintech company based in Bengaluru and is robustly sharing information related to finance through WhatsApp Business. An unprecedented move, the company educates potential and existing buyers about loans, mutual funds and plans to accept KYC document submissions through the app.
- Other Brands: Companies are investing heavily on WhatsApp Business to create special user interfaces for respective business approaches. From booking desirable seats for flight (Make My Trip) to getting notifications on movie screening times (PVR Cinemas), WhatsApp Business is breaking the ceiling of personalization in business.
Limitations of WhatsApp Business
Every coin has two sides. Similarly, WhatsApp business have many positive applications but here is a list of few shortcomings that we think might be corrected in the near future.
01. Single Payment Option only
Currently WhatsApp payment allows only one type of payment, i.e., UPI. Although it is one of the latest payment methods, buyers prefer to have multiple options.
02. Contacts Only Payment
Only the people who are there in your (the registered number & mobile device which is being used for accessing) contact list can do transactions. Therefore, to conduct any transaction, you have to add the person in your contact before receiving payment, which is a tedious task if you have a lot of customers who will pay using WhatsApp.
03. No Business Reports
Currently, WhatsApp business has no report generation tool integrated with the app, due to which there are some key information that businesses miss out on. Some of them are:
What is the sales turnover of the week/month/year?
Which customer has paid how much & when?
How many customers are shopping with is for the week/month? How many out of these are new customers or returning customers?
04. Lack of Options Like Refunds
Currently, there is no tab to process refunds post payments, especially since the product being purchased on WhatsApp cannot be returned instantly. This results in a tedious follow-up/support service, which takes a lot of time and effort both for the business and the user/customer.
05. Limited Scope for Scalability
Due to limited options for payment, currently, businesses cannot serve customers who are present overseas, unless they have UPI-linked accounts. Alternatively, the business has to share their bank account details to process payments.
Every business is different. You’ll know how it can help you if you try it out first.