Social E-comm Series: How WhatsApp gives you a competitive edge

For the majority of Germans, messenger services are now a more popular communication channel than telephone or e-mail. WhatsApp, in particular, stands out, with 60 percent using the app every day. Nevertheless, messengers are still hardly used in sales in this country, even though they offer unique advantages for advice, marketing and service. MessengerPeople shows the added value, presents some practical examples and gives valuable tips and tricks

Matthias Mehner, Managing Director of MessengerPeople at Sinch, explains in an interview what is important to know. We have summarized that for you!

Messenger is the channel companies use to get closest to their customers. It has now become quite natural for consumers to use Messenger to inform friends and acquaintances about specific issues, to get advice from them on relevant topics and to ask for their opinion if a personal meeting is not possible at the moment. If companies manage to appear in this channel as a partner/expert/friend, they have already gained a lot, especially in the consulting segment.

Messenger can be used in both B2C and B2B and is now increasingly being used in D2C. A good example is Best Retail Cases Award winner Miss Pompadour, who assists with choosing the right color via Whatsapp. Other companies with consulting-intensive business areas also benefit, which can help, for example, with the selection of the right clothing size (B2C) or filter out the perfect adhesive for the tiles used (B2B). Messenger thus close an enormous gap in classic e-commerce.

Customer loyalty is a top priority

They are also an excellent means of marketing, with which one can clearly distinguish oneself in this country. It is not primarily about acquiring new customers, for which the costs are constantly increasing, but about retaining customers in order to secure profits with follow-up purchases. The mail order company Bonprix sends its customers current offers via Whatsapp that are specially tailored to their respective interests, for example based on a search query for men’s jogging shoes in size 42.

In Germany, only a few companies do this, in India and Brazil it is standard. This is hardly surprising since WhatsApp campaigns have significantly higher open, click and conversion rates than their email counterparts. The supermarket chain Rewe, which now sends its brochures as digital flyers via Whatsapp, should also have noticed this, while the paper version will be discontinued throughout Germany by summer 2023.

Direct customer service

Another advantage of Messenger is the customer service, which usually takes place via e-mail and in some cases via a hotline. Customers sometimes have to wait a long time for an answer and cannot send any pictures, at least on the phone. Around 80 percent of customers have just one concern: they would like to know where their parcel is at the moment. With structured data and automation, you can significantly reduce the effort thanks to Whatsapp & Co., since a chatbot can answer exactly this question in detail.

In the case of more complex topics, on the other hand, the right employee is referred as intelligently as possible, who can narrow down the question or problem in a real-time chat and ideally even answer or solve it immediately. The fitness specialist Women’s Best, who receives approx. 60,000 inquiries per month, shows how effective the use of Whatsapp is. The effort in customer service has fallen by around half since the integration of the messenger.

If you act well when using messengers, you will quickly achieve the most important goal of an e-commerce retailer: making your customers happy. Only happy customers also become fans and thus ensure lasting sales.

Four tips for a good start

MessengerPeople with Matthias Mehnert: When using WhatsApp as a sales tool, however, there are a few important things to consider:

  1. As a company, you are not allowed to use normal WhatsApp. On the one hand, there are not the necessary functions there, on the other hand, it does not comply with data protection regulations. You should therefore look for a Business Solution Provider (BSP) in order to act professionally and in compliance with data protection.
  2. You have to actively communicate the possibilities for using Whatsapp in a similar way to a service telephone number or the e-mail newsletter. A high-quality BSP can also integrate the necessary widgets, buttons and QR codes on the website.
  3. WhatsApp is the most personal channel, which is why less really means more here. In e-commerce, a maximum of two news items per week (in B2B: one every two weeks) should be sent, whereby the content is extremely important and should be relevant to the user. Therefore, based on customer service data, purchase data or Whatsapp surveys, for example, target groups must be formed that receive different messages.
  4. See WhatsApp as a dialogue channel! If you send something via Whatsapp, you should also ask for feedback. Make this mostly automated, but don’t rely purely on a chatbot. Only the combination of chatbot and personal contact with customer service, marketing, the social media team or the call center can make customers really happy.