How WhatsApp Business Messaging and retail are the perfect match

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

Alessio Zanotto, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Kaleyra, outlines how retailers can leverage the power of WhatsApp Business Messaging. 

As we continue to move into a world that demands more efficient and intuitive interactions, there remains a certain clunkiness within the retail space and its customers. While online chats are useful for those still using web browsers, there is a missing critical piece that allows for timely, manageable and authentic customer interactions for the majority who prefer to use everyday communication channels. Enter WhatsApp Business Messaging.

What is WhatsApp Business Messaging?
The ubiquitous messaging platform, already used by over 2 billion users, launched WhatsApp Business Messaging to create a new way for businesses to connect with their end customers at scale.

Unlike the consumer and SME apps, the WhatsApp Business solution uses an enterprise-grade API to connect to your business's existing messaging solution and other core tools. This means that internal databases can be integrated seamlessly, allowing for greater management and data insights to help heighten performance.

With real infrastructure flexibility, there are options to access the WhatsApp Business Platform via a custom UI or a third-party interface, like your CRM, for truly frictionless internal communications that enable greater productivity.

In addition, WhatsApp Business services offer the ability to connect thousands of agents and bots to interact with your customers, both programmatically and manually, when the need arises for human interaction, empathy and custom actions.

Benefits of WhatsApp Business Messaging
Richer interactions
Where email was once the pinnacle of advanced marketing, today its low open rates indicate that it's no longer the best way for successful customer engagement or interaction. The same can be said for SMS, which primarily serves as a confirmation or security check instead of a two-way communication method.

WhatsApp for Business instead reaches beyond the limits of email and SMS for consistently rich experiences, because the platform is designed to be intuitively conversational and, therefore, encourages both the user and the business to engage more promptly and in a familiar fashion. This brings the business-customer relationship closer, helping to drive business outcomes, enhance brand loyalty and reputation, and see returning customers. 

One flexible UI
There is a significant expectation for retail businesses to cater to personalised preferences of communications, and this changes for a single person depending on where they are in their day and how busy it is. For example, if a person is at home, they may have more time to type out their request, but while on the move, they might only be able to scan and tap on what's needed in the hopes that it goes through correctly.
WhatsApp business messaging meets this need through streamlined interactions and routing towards customisable experiences that continue the engagement and conversion when required and when the user is available.

For example, the WhatsApp business chat offers buttons (i.e. track order) when all that's wanted is a quick tap for information. However, a conversation can occur within the same UI when more assistance is needed. Once resolved, the thread remains open and accessible; nothing is lost, and no interaction runs out of time or moves to another interface.

Security and trust
As fraud and data hacks increasingly enter the sphere, the more branding and verification displayed against your business, the better. It's critical to not only practice, but also to show, greater accountability and proactive security for your organisation. The WhatsApp message app is already trusted by billions globally because of its end-to-end encryption, so by adding it to your business, you're helping to demonstrate how you prioritise security.

The WhatsApp for Business app also demonstrates the importance of high-quality experiences to its users with user-reported feedback abilities. These can be proactively monitored and implemented by businesses, empowering them to continuously improve and serve their audience successfully as they evolve and technology advances.

Automate and scale
Automation is critical in every business within every sector to keep pace with increasing expectations and growth demands.

The WhatsApp API brings automation into the communications arena, providing more efficiency and always-on support, even as you scale. The core infrastructure is maintained by us, while the flexible build possibilities allow developers to react accordingly to customers' needs and get ahead of trends to maintain high standards.

Any changes are made across the board, so even for the largest global business, processes and consumer interactions will be consistent.

What does WhatsApp Business look like for retail?
Within the retail space, WhatsApp for Business is a dream come true for greater customer experience and better performance because of its extensive ability for integration. WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSPs) are a global community of third-party providers – think customer care, payments solutions and virtual agents – that effortlessly sync with the WhatsApp chat API, making for a seamless user experience, both internally and for customers. 

Looking at the interactions themselves, customers can initiate conversations and interactions on their own terms through return or refund requests, order updates and changes, product availability requests, and billing or product inquiries, to name a few. This is where bots and buttons are incredibly useful in determining what's needed. At the same time, all data is continuously fed into other critical tools used within the business for continued visibility and insights.

As a retail business, conversations can be initiated after opt-in has been confirmed and can typically look like order confirmations, purchase receipts, delivery notifications and tracking, which are only a few examples. While some of these prompts are often available in email or in-app, WhatsApp Business Solutions allow the end-user to view all of this information in a platform where they spend most of their time already, meaning the switch between apps and devices is no longer necessary.

In addition, within the WhatsApp message app, your brand is still prominent to users as a storefront can be added to your profile, with opening hours, your website and other details.

Staying on the front foot is crucial in the hyper-competitive retail market, and the WhatsApp Business Platform enables this with its data insights and innovative approach to customer engagement.

The WhatsApp Business Platform and API is the modern way for retailers to engage and interact with their customers. It offers customisation and flexibility to suit your business processes and structure while keeping intuitive and intelligent customer service front of mind. 

To learn more about how WhatsApp business messaging can be used to improve customer engagement, register for our webinar and join us for a deep dive into how the messaging platform is transforming modern day e-commerce.