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Learn all about using WhatsApp marketing for eCommerce to boost customer engagement and get more sales.

When launched in 2009, Whatsapp started off as just a basic SMS platform that allowed its users to send text messages, photos, or videos to friends and make voice calls globally using Wi-Fi. After its acquisition by Facebook in 2014, Whatsapp has evolved to become a full platform of features empowering individuals as well as businesses.

By acquiring more than 2 billion global users by 2019 making Whatsapp one of the most widely used messaging apps, the chat app has garnered the attention of businesses across various industries.

WhatsApp marketing is becoming a popular go-to strategy for DTC brands to connect with their subscribers and customers. But are they really tapping into its complete potential?

As of today, more than 5 million businesses use WhatsApp. But after speaking to hundreds of them, we found that only about 30% of them are using all of its features and restricting themselves to broadcasts alone.

The state of Whatsapp Marketing for eCommerce

Most businesses today use Whatsapp Marketing to have one-way conversations. They use third-party providers to send out promotional deals, discounts, and new offerings in bulk to customers or make certain announcements.

Here’s how you may have received a message before on WhatsApp from an unknown number:

Is this effective at getting the business noticed? Yes.

But is it effective at getting you sales? Only 20% of marketers claim they have any success with Whatsapp marketing when it comes to sales and conversions, with the rest just considering it as just a channel to check off while running a marketing campaign.

But can you really do more with eCommerce WhatsApp marketing?

The answer is yes, again.

Introducing you to the eCommerce WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel.

What is the eCommerce WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel?

The Whatsapp Growth flywheel refers to a strategic approach of using Whatsapp across a consumer’s journey right from the point of acquisition to post-sale engagement and retention. It includes creating a marketing strategy that establishes a touchpoint at different stages of a buyer’s cycle - similar to how you’ve been doing on email, SMS, Facebook Messenger and other channels.

The WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel is more effective and targeted than a simple sales funnel. Instead of placing customers at the end of the buyer's journey, a Whatsapp growth flywheel uses a customer-centric approach by putting customers in the middle and creating all strategies around them with the aim to provide the best marketing, sales, and support services to them.

The approach focuses on not just one-time purchases, but getting a customer to choose you more often, driving in repeat sales. And at the same time, turning them into brand advocates that refer more customers to your business.

Simply put, the eCommerce WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel focuses on closing the loop.

Sounds like a concrete plan, right?

Now let’s explain this a little better to help you put the growth flywheel into action for WhatsApp marketing that actually works.

Breaking down the WhatsApp growth flywheel

A flywheel typically refers to closing the loop, which means touching base with a customer at the core four stages in their online purchase journey - acquire, convert, delight and engage with your eCommerce WhatsApp marketing campaign.

1. Acquire  

When a customer places an order with you, you automatically get their phone number to send updates on. Or when they subscribe to get a restock alert, you automatically also add their contact details to your SMS subscriber list.

Well, considering the number of people using WhatsApp, at least 80% of the numbers you collect through different on-site conversion strategies, are active on the chat app. And that’s your sign to connect with them on it!

At the acquisition stage, you’re looking at attracting this subscriber to your store. So similar to other marketing and advertising campaigns, the idea at this stage is to hook them with an offer they cannot refuse.

This could be a notification about an ongoing sale or an upcoming one, a time-sensitive deal or the launch of a brand new collection on your store. Something that immediately captures the subscriber’s interest and gets them to visit your store.

2. Convert

And now like all other channels, comes the tricky part.

You have captured a subscriber’s attention. Now you need to drive this attention to conversion, and that’s going to need more work.

This is the stage where most DTC eCommerce businesses miss most opportunities at. They’re either not aware of the capabilities of the official WhatsApp API, or they are simply still using third-party service providers that offer no more.

When you’re using an eCommerce WhatsApp marketing solution like QuickReply.ai, you can turn your broadcast marketing campaigns into a first touchpoint, nurturing the subscribers slowly towards making a purchase with the help of drip campaigns.  

What do we mean? Let’s explain drip campaigns with the help of examples of strategies you’ve implemented on other communication channels.

Abandoned cart recovery

A WhatsApp broadcast message (acquire) is similar to an ad campaign promoting a new deal on your store. It might entice an internet user to come visit your store, browse through the products and then add the item to cart. But 69% of carts are still abandoned on average!

This is where you can use WhatsApp marketing to recover abandoned carts. From sending reminders of what an online shopper has left behind, to convincing them about making the purchase with the help of social proof, FOMO or even an additional discount or free shipping, you can subtly nudge them to complete the purchase with WhatsApp.

When you use a Shopify eCommerce WhatsApp marketing app like QuickReply.ai, this becomes more effective. You can automate the entire process and make your cart recovery messages more effective with distinct call-to-action buttons that lead the shopper back to the cart to complete the purchase.

Here’s what it looks like:

COD to prepaid

Let’s give you another example here of a drip campaign targeted at converting a subscriber who has already made a purchase.

Here’s what we mean; there are a number of online shoppers that prefer cash on delivery for their orders because they don’t instantly get the item in hand. While this makes them feel secure about making purchases, it can actually be harmful for a business.

According to surveys, about 40% of cash on delivery orders are returned or not delivered. Businesses then incur reverse logistics costs, dampening their overall revenue for the defined period of time. Sometimes hitting way below even break-even.

This is where the WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel comes into action. You can set up an automated drip campaign with QuickReply.ai to turn these COD orders into prepaid, by sending them reminders for a contactless delivery or incentivising them to prepay with discounts like an additional 5% off!

Learn more about converting COD to prepaid orders using WhatsApp here.

Newsletters

As an online store, you’re continually rolling out new discounts and deals. And you need to keep your shoppers updated too!

When you’re using email, SMS and other channels to push out notifications around them, why not use WhatsApp as well? You can send newsletters or updates to customers on a regular basis to keep them in the loop, driving them to your store.

With a 98% open rate of messages on WhatsApp, we’re sure this form of newsletter will keep your customers thoroughly engaged.

The biggest advantage of drip campaigns is that the brand can create the complete funnel beforehand. You can create a set of triggers and create particular action messages to send according to actions taken by your visitors.

All the drip messages come from a queue of pre-written messages so that you don’t have to write each one manually. For each customer, these drip campaign messages can be easily personalized to include the subscriber’s name for a more chat-like experience using a WhatsApp marketing tool like QuickReply.ai.

Whatsapp has a CTR (click-through rate) and message read ratio 70% more than emails, which makes it a better platform for running drip campaigns. Moreover, WhatsApp drip campaigns increase a prospect’s chances for brand recall because let’s admit it, we’re all using WhatsApp throughout the day for a number of reasons.

To create an effective drip campaign, follow this 4 step process:

Step 1 - Identify and segment your prospects based on their persona or their stage in the purchase cycle
Step 2 - Create a set of engaging, actionable, and targeted messages for every drip objective
Step 3 - Schedule and automate your campaign based on your objectives by setting a time and sequence using a WhatsApp marketing tool like QuickReply.ai
Step 4 - Assess your campaign’s performance and optimize your campaigns for higher conversions

3. Delight

Once you’ve converted your once prospective customer to a buyer through a successful drip campaign, the next step is to delight them by continuously interacting with them in a meaningful way.

Remember, the post-purchase experience is as important as the one before it! This is the stage at which a consumer decides whether or not they’d like to make more purchases from you.

If a customer has to continually try and reach out to you on email or call to know where their order is, the higher are the chances of them cancelling it or feeling dissatisfied with their experience.

And that’s exactly where the eCommerce WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel comes in again.

At the “delight” stage, you can use WhatsApp marketing with the help of QuickReply.ai to send out automated order status alerts.

You can also use these automated campaigns to nudge a customer to take a desired action while they wait on an order to be delivered. For example, asking them for feedback on how they felt about making a purchase from your store or what you can improve about it.

4. Engage

WhatsApp allows brands to provide customer support round the clock. Customers now prefer messaging apps over traditional emails to get instant customer support. And to meet these expectations, brands employ a chatbot and feed it with typical questions and answers to cut down on customer support costs by up to 30%.

Take a look at the OTT giant, Netflix, for instance:

And yes, you can do the same for your eCommerce business as well.

At this stage a customer or a subscriber may be seeking support for a number of reasons. These could be the smaller things like wanting help with a size guide, seeking better shipping or payment options to place an order, or simply not being able to find something they may have seen in a marketing campaign.

This type of WhatsApp marketing campaign is similar to the functionality of a live chat; and we all know that answering your live chat on time can result in a 27% increase in your conversion rates. Timely conversations can help you turn interest into sales in no time!

What’s more? By offering timely, 24/7 support, you’re also creating a positive rapport with your customers - whether they’re making a purchase at that very moment or not.  

WhatsApp marketing tools like QuickReply.ai come with a smart chatbot builder along with pre-existing templates that can be used to tackle 75% of customer support questions. All you need to do is add a hint of your personality to the messages and the rest is taken care of by the chatbot.

Why do you need a Whatsapp growth flywheel?

When interacting with a new brand, most online buyers make one-time purchases and move on to other brands due to the sheer number of options available to them.

However, a strategically implemented Whatsapp growth flywheel can be a gamechanger for your brand, not just driving one-time sales but ensuring the buyer comes back for more.

1. Better open rate

Whatsapp is used by more than 2 billion people worldwide. It is touted as the third most used social media network in the world (after Facebook and Youtube), with nearly 58% of Whatsapp users using the app more than once every day. This makes Whatsapp one of the best channels to execute the growth flywheel model.

With a higher open rate than emails and other traditional forms of marketing, Whatsapp drives better conversions and retains customers for longer.

2. Better customer engagement

By presenting your products/ services at the face of your customers, people are drawn to what they frequently see/interact with. Your products/services are easily reachable through the catalog section of Whatsapp Business, making it easier for customers to make repeat purchases.

Moreover, by connecting with your customers on WhatsApp, you get to offer your customers a glimpse into your brand through features like Stories.

3. Better customer retention

When you interact with your customers, understand their needs and delight them with the right recommendations and unforgettable customer service, it prompts customers to stick with your brand in the future thus improving customer retention tremendously.

4. Increased repeat sales

According to a study conducted by Shopify, the only way for a brand to sustainably grow online is to focus on customer retention as much as acquisition. It was found that an existing customer is 7 times more likely to make another purchase, and of a higher value if kept engaged with the brand.

Implementing the WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel

By now, you’re probably convinced that your business needs to make a switch to a growth flywheel model on Whatsapp instead of one-time broadcasts.

But the big question is, how to implement the eCommerce WhatsApp marketing growth flywheel?

Third party providers are not recommended because at some stage or another, you will get blocked or you will have to keep changing numbers, resulting in no recall amidst the people you’re messaging. Apart from that, these service providers are only suited for bulk, broadcast messaging and cannot cater to functionalities like setting up drip campaigns.

This is where QuickReply.ai comes in. QuickReply.ai equips you with features like team inbox, AI chatbots, advanced analytics and more so that sending broadcast messages or creating drip campaigns to keep customers engaged, becomes a cakewalk for your brand.

The WhatsApp marketing app uses the official business API and combines it with a powerful drag and drop chatbot builder that enables you to personalize your buyer’s purchase journey.

Simply put, with QuickReply.ai, we are helping DTC eCommerce brands ensure that their customers and subscribers don’t fall out of the funnel.

We make sure that in times when the competition for consumer attention is high, your message gets delivered and actioned upon.

Ready to embark on a successful Whatsapp marketing journey? Book a demo with QuickReply.ai today.

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