WhatsApp, Facebook’s cross-platformed centralized instant messaging app, just announced that all businesses would now be able to engage opted-in consumers in full-funnel conversations. In the past, brand-to-customer interactions were strictly transactional.
The social media channel’s enhanced marketing features will revolutionize the way businesses interact with consumers on the platform. Despite its game-changing decision, WhatsApp remains determined on its quest to protect users from spammy or cynical messaging tactics and will immediately remove these online outlaws from the app. WhatsApp expects that brands use the non-transaction messaging service to send relevant and timely communications to people who already consented to receive them (i.e., opted-in customers).
The new WhatsApp messaging expansion will be available to brands worldwide, giving them limitless potential for the number of consumers they can interact with. This news is even more exciting for companies attempting to engage with customers in the Latin American region, WhatsApp’s most predominant users.
So what do WhatsApp’s new non-transactional messaging services entail, and how can they benefit your brand? Let’s dive in for a deeper look.
The where and what of WhatsApp’s non-transactional communications rollout
Up until now, brands could only initiate a dialogue with a user on WhatsApp as part of the transaction process. For instance, a company could send a customer an update about their delivery status. Businesses were not permitted to converse with consumers outside of this firm set of parameters.
The recent shift to non-transactional messages enables brands to take a holistic approach to a customer’s journey and offers fantastic marketing opportunities, such as sending opted-in customers personalized product recommendations or gently reminding them about their empty shopping cart.
However, new messages come with new etiquettes. Businesses must obtain opt-in from consumers before sending them messages. Moreover, brands must use a thoughtful, strategic approach to their communication tactics to discover what messages resonate best with their audiences. All messages should be:
- Anticipated by the consumer who has already opted-in
- Full of relevant information tailored to the receiver and include a clear call to action (CTA)
- Received in a timely manner, such as at a requested cadence or immediately after a customer engages with a brand
Boost customer loyalty
Almost three-quarters of shoppers polled in the Consumer Preferences for Conversational Commerce & AI report stated that they would be more inclined to do business with a company again if they could message rather than call them. This preference for messaging is also steering consumer shopping habits. Most survey respondents (83%) said that they would browse or buy products via messaging conversations. Furthermore, 77% of customers noted that they were more likely to purchase if they could get answers or browse products over messages.
For brands seeking to boost sales, engaging with customers via WhatsApp could prove to be successful.
A personalized shopping experience
According to a 2017 report by Segment, 71% of customers feel frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences. And according to SmarterHQ, 47% of shoppers will head over to Amazon if a brand doesn’t provide them with relevant product suggestions.
The bottom line: you’ll lose customers if you don’t personalize your messaging strategies. WhatsApp’s non-transactional messages allow brands to recommend products right within a message itself. Businesses can also send personalized discounts to customers based on unique details, such as their birthday, or inform them when an unavailable item they were interested in is back in stock.
Provide beneficial information to your customers
Brands should always strive to provide value to their customers. With non-transactional messaging on WhatsApp, businesses can send shoppers price alerts to help them find the best deals on products that matter to them. They can even send appointment reminders.
And preparing to send your new messages follows the same template format as before. If you’re already a WhatsApp Business user, you know exactly how to create a message template. If you’re not already using WhatsApp Business, creating a message template is simple because the functionality already exists within the service.
To create a template, all you need to do is confirm your business is based in a qualifying country. Then you’ll choose a pre-existing template in one of the 11 available categories, such as “alert update.” If you plan on including a video or image in your message, you will need to provide a sample for vetting. Finally, all templated messages must adhere to WhatsApp’s formatting policies, as well as its Commerce and Business regulations. Once approved, you can instantly begin using your template to engage with customers.
WhatsApp messaging: your brand’s go-to tool for success
Once a consumer opts in, a business can leverage WhatsApp’s non-transactional messaging service to build trust and boost sales.
Opening the platform to non-transactional brand messages, in tandem with WhatsApp’s new pilot program for an integrated business directory, establishes WhatsApp as a must-have channel for customer experience. Brands need to connect with consumers in their area and cultivate relationships right in their local communities.
While brands need to abide by WhatsApp’s messaging policies and only send timely, relevant communications that consumers have consented to receive, this move is a game-changer. And with WhatsApp Business from Mitto, it’s easier than ever to join the big leagues.
To learn how we can help you, shoot us a text at +1 (424) 653-3380 today.