Whatsapp turned 7 years old in 2017. To celebrate, they announced development of a new feature called “Whatsapp for Business”. Whatsapp, the messaging giant, when started in 2010, was meant to be a free messaging app aimed to encourage interaction and communication. In 2014, Facebook acquired Whatsapp for whopping $19 billion dollars. This is when Whatsapp didn’t have a monetization plan. However, Facebook was wise enough to see the potential of turning this app into the most globally used app.
In 2016, CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the merging of Facebook and its users on messenger, thus beginning the road to monetization of social media platforms. He also dropped some hints about monetizing Whatsapp by linking Whatsapp account with Facebook.
With Whatsapp for Business, for the first time, WhatsApp is opening its gates to monetizing through their WhatsApp platform. Facebook right now has many call to action buttons, such as “learn more”, “watch more”, and much more. There will soon be a call to action button that would prompt people to connect with the businesses through WhatsApp by using the call to action button “send WhatsApp message”.
Business owners will have to download a different version of WhatsApp, which will be free initially, that will make interacting with their small or large customer base effortless and effective. Whatsapp for business is ideal for all types of businesses; big or small brands; established companies or neighborhood shops. Whatsapp has already begun its testing phase where they are authenticating businesses by putting a green tick next to their business name.
Connecting with the target audience through WhatsApp will have its perks. If your number is not saved by an individual, it would still show your business name, as opposed to just an unknown number. Businesses will also be able to select status, such as away or busy, when they can’t attend to their customers. The user will also be able to distinguish an interaction as a business related interaction. Whatsapp messages sent by a business will be inside a yellow chatbox.
Whatsapp is also taking care of curbing excessive spam advertising by giving the power to the user to select whether they would like to receive notifications by the business or not. Supreme Court of India has also asked Facebook to have rigid privacy policies.
Using Whatsapp for business is not new. Net-a-porter was one of the first companies to start selling merchandise through WhatsApp. In India alone, there are 2 million women homemakers that have set up profitable businesses by reselling lifestyle and clothing products.
How Will It Work For Fashion Labels
Whatsapp features such as sharing of pictures and short videos make it a great way to engage customers who love to see what their favorite brands are doing. There are 160 million active users on WhatsApp in India alone, that is 16% of the total users. With that reach, a small growing business can expand its reach exponentially.
Creating hype about a collection can be done in a more engaging manner by sharing glimpses of their new collection with their followers. This can be achieved by either sending pictures and links or by sharing their “stories”. Fashion labels can send purchase updates and tracking details via Whatsapp, thus providing easy access to information to the customer.
Whatsapp can also be a diving channel to make a fashion product viral due to its sharing options. This will make selling through influencers even more effective. All they’ll have to do is share the link with their followers and send them to the right page.
Users will also be provided a search button to locate their favourite brands or local relevant business on WhatsApp. Reliance brands such as Diesel, Kenneth Cole, Zegna,e etc have already begun testing Whatsapp for Business. Big luxury brands have realized that app driven sales are harder to do in a world where people are hard pressed for time and are craving for personalized experience. Chat-based technology has proven itself to be better than app-based technology.
Fashion labels will be able to reach out to people who are comfortable speaking and reading in their mother tongue, thus dropping the barrier of language in the fashion industry. Whatsapp has 10 local languages. Initial analysis of WhatsApp’s code shows that a message sent by a business can be translated into the user’s language. For example, a person selling handmade clothes in Kerala will be effectively communicate with a person from Assam.
Social media is an ever-growing community. Facebook and Whatsapp are coming together to help businesses reach a bigger audience by nudging them slightly from their facebook page to WhatsApp conversations. WhatsApp will provide a quiet corner to truly engage customers in the competitive and chaotic environment of customer interaction.