Introduction

WhatsApp has established itself as a constant presence in our lives.

According to data, the app already has 2 billion users in the world and chances are that you are one of these users.

whatsapp ecommerce statistics

Moreover, the current situation of the world has contributed to the increase of the practice of online shopping.  

According to reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce, online shopping is steadily growing. In addition, from 2019 to 2020 there has been a 25% increase in annual revenue.

whatsapp ecommerce growth

Source: Internet Retailer, U.S. Commerce Department

The new reality also has an impact on the daily use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, with an estimated increase of 20% according to forecasts by researcher eMarketer.

However, what does all this mean for you and your e-commerce?

WhatsApp for e-commerce is a practice that is constantly growing and evolving, as the app takes steps to provide a bridge between customers and businesses.

In a sea of 2 billion users, you may well find the right audience for your products or services. WhatsApp is ready for your e-commerce, so, let’s explore what the app can offer.

Why WhatsApp for e-commerce? A look on the WhatsApp API 

In 2017 WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Business with small and medium-sized businesses in mind.

The app offers a wide range of features such as:

  • Ability to publish a product catalog.

  • Ability to save preset responses.

  • Customer classifications with different tags.

  • Creation of distribution lists.

  • It offers a limited number of statistics and useful data.

However, the scope of WhatsApp Business is limited when it comes to automation, functionalities and the use of only one device.

When WhatsApp Business is too limited for businesses it is when the WhatsApp API becomes the solution.

An API is the acronym for Application Programing Interface, which allows two apps to interact and talk to each other. In other words, an API is the messenger and the link between two entities.

The WhatsApp API works as a middle-man integrating WhatsApp with other business management software such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and e-commerce platforms.

The WhatsApp API takes WhatsApp to another level, with a set of features and endless integrations that increase the efficiency of e-commerce platforms, save time and facilitate collaborative work efforts.

It’ll be the oil your e-commerce engine needs to run properly.

Let’s examine some of the WhatsApp API Features 

Now that we have introduced what the WhatsApp API is, it’s time to explore some of the more interesting and useful features for e-commerce.  

First, let’s talk about the concept of open rate. Open rate is a metric that measures the percentage rate at which emails are opened. The average for email is around 17%, while the open rate for WhatsApp messages reaches 98%.

In the process of activating the WhatsApp API, you can also apply for the verification of your number and get a green check. It shall be noticed that not all brands receive the green check and is the prerogative of large and popular brands, and is under consideration of WhatsApp team.

Undoubtedly, a verified account inspires more confidence in your customers, making them more likely to open your messages and pay attention to the notifications you send them.

All types of notifications to your customers are done through templates. WhatsApp provides 11 different categories of templates. You can send them to communicate with customers, launch communications, updates, new campaigns or sales-related topics.

whatsapp ecommerce templates

You can configure your WhatsApp template according to the type of operation (sales, customer service, etc.) and the goal of your notification (for reminders, customer greetings, etc.).

After defining these fields, you can choose the template category and customize the message content.  

Once you have completed all the steps, the template must be sent to the WhatsApp team and they have to approve it before you can start using it.

Using templates will skyrocket your communication with customers.

If you are looking to improve your customer service, the WhatsApp API offers a variety of new possibilities.

Sometimes, the influx of messages can be too overwhelming for one person. With this solution, you can coordinate your team and distribute conversations.

Like we mentioned above, the WhatsApp API allows the integration of a chatbot that relieves your workload. It is “an agent” that works around the clock, in all languages you want, and lets you expand your business.

Customers will receive a quick response to their queries. With a chatbot that works around the clock, you will be able to respond even after business hours. However, if the customer’s request cannot be answered automatically, you can transfer it to an agent to handle it. 

Beyond those mentioned above, WhatsApp is constantly evolving. By offering new features, it will improve the e-commerce experience for customers and businesses.

The WhatsApp API is a great aid to battle the biggest issues of e-commerce.

You can reduce cart abandonment rate by giving customers the option to contact you via WhatsApp for any queries or clarifications. In the case of a chatbot, it can pop up, assist them and help close the deal.

Now, let’s see how these features can be used in e-commerce.

WhatsApp API for Customer Experience in e-commerce 

Let’s get a little technical in marketing for a moment.

Customer experience can be defined as the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company. Beyond this definition, every company aims to achieve a smooth and great relationship with its customers.

These interactions range from the first customer contact to post-sale communications. Every communication is crucial to customer satisfaction, and WhatsApp has the potential to be a great ally.

Let’s look at the journey your business will take with each customer.

whatsapp ecommerce customer journey

Customer Acquisition 

Every business wants to attract more customers, that’s for sure. However, today it is easier and more difficult than ever. Let us explain.

With the leap of companies to the Internet, they have more resources and tools than ever before. E-commerce can reach customers all over the world with a few strategies and a few clicks.

The other side is market saturation. You are no longer competing against your neighbor’s small business. You’re competing for customers’ attention against all the businesses that have the same audience. 

But fear not! We are not here to be bummed out.

We want to see this as an opportunity to be smarter and more creative with solutions. And the WhatsApp API is certainly a smart solution for your communications.

Notifications Opt-in 

In the context of WhatsApp communication, opt-in is the customer’s consent to receive notifications from a company.

If you want to comply with WhatsApp Business policies (and we strongly recommend that you do), you need a strategy to get the opt-in.

We list several practices that will facilitate the process: 

  • WhatsApp message requiring affirmation using a template.

  • Website pop-up window requiring customer’s number.

  • Website form for customers to fill in.

  • WhatsApp template with a one-click affirmation option.

When users choose to accept your notifications, they will know what to expect and when to expect them. It’s a necessary step to comply with policies, improve the quality of your business and give customers options.

whatsapp custom opt-in

On-site chat

Customers want answers and they want them now. 

If you have a website for your e-commerce, you can add a button that directs users to your WhatsApp to have the first conversation.

  • If they are on a computer or tablet, the navigator will open a new tab to the WhatsApp Web.
  • In the case of the customer being on the mobile, the app will open for them to begin conversation.

In the case of opting for a chatbot, customers will have an immediate response whenever they contact you. They can make their first contact through the WhatsApp button on your page and interact with the chatbot. If they don’t get the answers they need, one of your agents can intervene and help them.

So, with the WhatsApp API you can give them instant answers and increase potential customer satisfaction. 

Campaign ads and WhatsApp CTA 

Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, and such some of their features are linked.

In the case of campaign ads, there is a possibility to add a call to action (CTA) that directs potential customers to your WhatsApp.

All you have to do is have a Facebook business page for your business and a WhatsApp business account. Then, Facebook allows you to promote any of your publications.

This strategy results in a transfer of quality traffic from Facebook to WhatsApp. By doing so, you will be able to have better one-on-one conversations with potential customers.

In the case of WhatsApp CTA, you can use other types of notifications for:

  • Previous purchase recommendations: Recommend products to your customers based on their previous purchases. By doing so, you can offer a personalized experience.

  • Information alerts: Send informational alerts that notify customers of any change or update either in their purchase or available services.

  • Offers and discounts: Who doesn’t like discounts? Forward relevant offers to your clients through WhatsApp, making it easy to benefit from them.

  • Product back-in-stock updates: The lack of stock is something that happens to every business. However, now with WhatsApp, you can notify customers that have already shown interest in a product that it is back in stock.

  • Reminders of abandonment cart: You can entice your customers to go back and complete their incomplete purchase.

Combine the power of WhatsApp and Facebook to reach your audience and direct them to a conversation on WhatsApp. Once you start talking to them, it’s time to leverage the full potential of the messaging app.

Customer Service 

Let’s face it, customer service can make it or break it for some clients.  

Nowadays, 41% of desktop customers expect to find the chat option on your website. It even increases to 50% when we talk about customers on mobile devices.

Live chat is the winner even against other digital channels such as email (29%) and social networks (16%).

Let’s give a very illuminating perspective: a staggering 82% of customers change their buying habits because of a bad customer experience.

What we can gather from the data is that customers want a quick and efficient response. Gone are the days of tedious phone calls and slow email responses for a great percentage of customers.

As we mentioned, the WhatsApp API allows you to manage conversations and assign them to several agents. Moreover, you can use a chatbot and templates to guarantee a quick response.

Moving your customer service to the WhatsApp API will benefit you, your business and your customers. You will be able to provide better customer service to your customers and save time and effort in doing so.

FAQs 

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is a section that encompasses a set of questions or answers that relate to the same topic. Every company has a different set of FAQs, and investing time in detecting and answering them can save you valuable time. 

With the WhatsApp API you can combine FAQs and WhatsApp, and build a FAQs chatbot to give quick answers to customers. This is the case for the World Health Organization, as they created a WhatsApp Chatbot for COVID-19 related queries back in 2020.

Assistance to buy and recommendations 

However, sometimes the FAQs do not cover all the customer’s questions. Perhaps there is a technical problem or they are undecided about which product suits them best. They may even be unfamiliar with online shopping.

Your human agent can intervene and guide them. If you meet them in the consideration phase, you can make them feel accompanied and help them in their purchase.

Customer service is important, and in this case it can tip the balance in your favor. Make your business accessible with the help of an app that your customers are already familiar with.

Support on purchase phase 

The moment of reaching the checkout stage is quite delicate for e-commerce. Statistics show that customers abandon 67.45% of online shopping carts before closing the deal.

Technical problems can arise at any point in the customer journey, and the purchase phase is no exception. Perhaps there is a problem with the instructions or they don’t know how to fill in one of the form fields.

If you have your WhatsApp linked, the customer will be able to contact you and resolve the question or encourage them to finalize the purchase. This is a great way to improve your customer service and reduce the problem of shopping cart abandonment.

Feedback 

One of the most interesting uses of templates is to collect feedback from your customers.

They will be able to respond comfortably and the data will be useful.

It will tell you where you excel and where you can improve. If you are up for the challenge, constant improvement can translate into more leads and customers.

Customer Retention 

We have reached a point where the customer has already made a purchase. We could simply let them go, expecting them to come back at any time.

For all the effort it takes to acquire a new customer, it’s worth it and it’s important to have a retention strategy in mind.

Unfortunately, it’s a strategy that not many e-commerce businesses have in mind; only 18% of businesses have a customer retention strategy. This is even more surprising when we discover that the rate of selling a new customer is between 5% and 20%, while previous customers are 50% more likely.

WhatsApp is a great ally for retaining customers, and are going to explore some of its most interesting features. 

Order updates 

Delivery is one of the most important parts of the purchasing process. Each of us wants to have our purchase as soon as possible and receive updates.

Shipping costs and time are the great enemies of the buying process. And, with companies guaranteeing next-day delivery, all businesses need to step up their game.

That’s why we want to emphasize the importance of having transparent and fast communication with your customers.  There are many things you can do with the delivery process and you can make it easier for customers to feel at ease by following up on their purchase.

Normally, companies used to send order updates via SMS or email messages. With the WhatsApp API it can be even easier than that.

With the WhatsApp API you can keep customers updated with the status of the delivery, whether it is on its way, when it is expected to arrive or even if there is going to be a delay.  

These are small choices that can greatly affect the way customers think about your business.  

Use a template to send this type of notification automatically. You will be able to keep customers updated on their purchase status, guaranteeing an almost 100% open rate.

Personalized recommendations 

Let’s put ourselves in the situation: a customer has purchased several products and has opted in to receive notifications. This is the perfect opportunity to create a personalized experience for them.

WhatsApp allows you to send personalized recommendations to each customer based on their past purchases.

We see this as a crucial opportunity. The customer already has experience with your e-commerce, knows you and trusts you. They are more likely to invest in one of your products again and therefore personal recommendations can seal the deal.

Chatbots and WhatsApp API 

We’ve already talked about some of the advantages of chatbots for e-commerce, but now let’s dive deeper into them.

A chatbot is a software application that is used to hold online conversations.

The questions and answers are created through decision trees. The purpose is for customers to navigate different paths until they reach their destination in the form of an answer. To sum up, they navigate from the root of the tree (first question) up to the leaves (the answer).

For instance, in the case of FAQs, the chatbot can give a set of options for your customers. They will be able to narrow down the scope until they reach the required answer.

You can use a chatbot in e-commerce for:

  • Answering FAQs

  • Customer service and support

  • Product recommendations

There are several types of chatbots, from simple ones that answer frequently asked questions to more complex ones that can mimic a normal conversation between two humans.

In the end, you who outline the scope of the chatbot.

The topic of chatbots is much more complex and interesting, but we just want to highlight their usefulness when used with WhatsApp. Sure, having a chatbot requires an investment, but we can assure you that the benefits are greater.

You can save time and money on customer service and improve the customer experience.

Coming soon: WhatsApp Pay  

WhatsApp together with Facebook intend to turn the app into a marketplace. You can already upload your catalog and link to your website, but one piece is missing: payment through the app.

However, WhatsApp Pay is on its way and will affect all types of e-commerce.

According to platform sources, the feature will work as a method of instant transactions. Not only for WhatsApp users, but also for WhatsApp users and businesses.

Although it is not available for all countries, there is a beta version in use in India. As we have seen above, India is the country with the most WhatsApp users in the world. The integration of the app into everyday life has also meant that businesses are using WhatsApp Pay as a valid payment method.

WhatsApp is bringing businesses to the forefront with these developments. Whether it’s a small business with no website or a large corporation using the WhatsApp API. WhatsApp Pay will make shopping easier for everyone.

Wrapping up  

Online shopping is an ever-growing practice. And the same can be said for the use of messaging applications.  So our question is: how to get the most out of them?

Our solution is through the WhatsApp API.

With Woztell, you can combine the many benefits of API, automation and data collection to improve your customers’ experience.

Let us help you reach the full potential of your business with a solution that increases efficiency, saves time and effort, and improves customer relationships.

Use Cases 

For a long time, we have been working with different e-commerce companies. We have assisted and helped them to improve their services, with remarkable and tangible results.

Here are some of them:

Do you want to know more about WhatsApp API for your e-commerce?

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