WhatsApp Group vs WhatsApp Broadcast for Shopify DTC Marketing

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WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging app in the world, with over 2 billion monthly active users. Today, the app is used for more than just exchanging personal text messages and conversations; like providing instant customer support to customers or even promoting businesses.

According to WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, approximately 175 million users send messages to business accounts on WhatsApp every day and the number is only increasing by the day.

WhatsApp Business API  has many useful features like a unified dashboard, KPI tracking and analytics, creating group texts, sharing photos and videos, sending and receiving documents, payment processing, and so on.

However, WhatsApp Broadcast and WhatsApp Groups are the two features that are trending in the DTC marketing domain.

Even though both serve the purpose of helping you reach multiple people at the same time with a message, they both function differently. And have a different impact on your business. In this blog, we’re going to help you understand the two and identify which is it that you really need to market your online business.

What is WhatsApp Group?

A WhatsApp Group is similar to a chat room where people can interact with one another and where all messages sent in the group are visible to everyone else in the group.

Assume that your classroom is a large WhatsApp group and that the students are members of that group. Other students can hear every chat you have with each other.

WhatsApp groups function in the same way. It allows you, as a business, to send messages to many people at once rather than sending one-to-one text messages.

While you can limit the number of members of the group that can respond to messages in the group, and use it solely for the purpose of promotions, WhatsApp groups aren’t inherently made for marketing purposes.

Not everyone you have added to the group may be interested in what you’re promoting. And spamming each person with the same message, may just result in bad words around your business.

That’s where WhatsApp broadcasts come in.

What is WhatsApp Broadcast?

WhatsApp Broadcast is similar to WhatsApp Group in that it allows you to share texts, images, videos, locations, and more to a bunch of people in one go. But in this case, the messages sent to those in your broadcast list, appear as individual messages on the recipient front; so your communication appears one to one, instead of the one to many in the WhatsApp group.

Assume that the classroom is a WhatsApp Broadcast and that the students are in your list. However, you now have the option to send out classroom updates and information to each one, but address any incoming queries separately in individual chats with each student.

Yes, WhatsApp Broadcast protects you from receiving a huge number of messages in one go; which may be the case when you make promotions in WhatsApp Groups, leading to missing out on conversations.

To learn more about WhatsApp Broadcasts, read: Guide to eCommerce WhatsApp Broadcast Marketing.

Now that you're familiar with both the terms WhatsApp Broadcast and WhatsApp Group, you might be wondering what the difference is between the two.

WhatsApp Broadcast vs. WhatsApp Group - What’s the difference?

The primary distinction between WhatsApp Broadcast and WhatsApp Group is that the former protects recipients' privacy.

WhatsApp Broadcast Recipients:

  • Have no idea that the same message is being delivered to many people.
  • Can't see who has received the broadcast message or how many people have received it, thus can't get their contact information.
  • Can choose to have a conversation with your business on a one-to-one basis in case they want to engage with your broadcast message.

Everyone can see your name and contact information in a WhatsApp Group, but you can add people to your contact list and chat with them privately using WhatsApp Broadcast.

Let’s just say, as a DTC business, WhatsApp broadcast is a more professional way of communicating with your customers. Imagine receiving an email from Amazon with millions of other customers in cc - we’re pretty sure, you’d mark it spam for being constantly ‘unread’ because of all the replies it might get.

Limitations of WhatsApp Group

The WhatsApp Groups feature is a great way to reach a wider audience. It saves you a lot of time and effort by allowing you to add members to a WhatsApp Group and send a message to a large group of people at once. However, it comes with a few limitations:

1. Lack Of Privacy

There is no sense of privacy when it comes to WhatsApp Groups because everybody can read your message. Anonymous members of the group may trace your contact information or view your profile picture.

2. Tons Of Unwanted Messages

Imagine being a member of a WhatsApp group where you are bombarded with unsolicited messages. This will not only irritate you, but it will also waste your productive time. Even if you have the option to mute these messages, the urge to not miss the important ones may cause you to read them all.

3. Occupies Device Space

It might be exciting to engage in group chats until someone starts promoting their business and sending images and videos to the WhatsApp group. These images and videos are sometimes downloaded automatically in the gallery, resulting in limited storage space.

4. File Size Limitation

Users can send unlimited files in any format; however, video files are limited to 16MB and other documents to 100MB. As a result, you'll have to send huge files or videos over email or other communication channels instead.

And imagine if auto-downloads are switched off a user. The file you just managed to compress and send across, wouldn’t even get displayed as a preview, and your promotion goes waste almost as instantly as the message is sent.

5. Difficult To Manage Conversations

What do you do when you wake up to 50+ messages in a WhatsApp group that you’re a part of? You either skim through the chat if you have time or simply choose to ignore it, thinking if it’s important, the person will reach out to you.

But as a business, you can’t afford to lose track of these conversations. These could be hot opportunities for you to sell to a customer. But a WhatsApp group with even fifty members, responding to messages and asking questions, things can quickly get out of hand.

6. Capped Number Of Participants

You can create a WhatsApp Group of only 256 participants at a time. As a result, as the number of customers for your business increases, you will be forced to create and manage multiple groups at all times.

Simply put, while WhatsApp Groups are great for promotions at first, managing these groups might be challenging as your business grows. It's at this point that WhatsApp Broadcast comes into play.

How to Start a WhatsApp Broadcast Campaign?

It is not difficult to launch a WhatsApp Broadcast campaign today. All you need is a WhatsApp Business profile and a smart WhatsApp marketing app like QuickReply.ai.

The app leverages the official WhatsApp Business API, giving you access to all its features, adding more powerful abilities like chatbot automations, one inbox and more to run, manage, track and optimize your promotional campaigns.

Step 1: Install the QuickReply.ai app from the Shopify App Store.

Step 2: Set up your WhatsApp Business profile. Add your name, logo, catalog, and other information to your business profile.

Step 3: After you've finished creating your profile, upload your customer list to the app - the list of customers who you’d like to reach out to with promotions using WhatsApp Broadcast.

Step 4: It's time to plan your strategy. Try finding answers to questions like what do you want to broadcast, who do you want to broadcast it to, and what do you want to achieve with the promotion.

Step 5: Set up chatbot automations to respond to commonly asked queries around the broadcast/ promotion you’re making.

Step 6: Use QuickReply.ai to set up and automate sending your broadcast message.

Step 7: Manage your incoming messages on the broadcast campaign, converse with customers to help them make informed purchase decisions.

Step 8: Track the performance of your campaigns and take note of how you can optimize your promotions the next time.

Pretty simple right? Get the QuickReply.ai app for WhatsApp marketing today.

But before you run a campaign, let’s quickly look into what you can use WhatsApp Broadcasts for.

How to use WhatsApp Broadcasts?

DTC brands are using WhatsApp Broadcast in different ways, depending on the products or services they sell, and who they’re making promotions to. So we took a look at some of the successful campaign ideas for you:

1. Promote Deals And Discounts

You can use WhatsApp Broadcast Group to promote ongoing and upcoming deals and discounts on your online store. When you're running sales, you want your promotions to be read instantly; and with a 98% open rate, WhatsApp makes for the perfect channel!

Example : “Hi! We are offering a 15% discount site-wide. Grab your favourite products before they run out!”

2. Announce Your New Arrivals/ Trending Products

Don’t wait for store visitors to explore your new arrivals at their own pace. Considering the competition in the space, they may just miss out on your products altogether or make a similar purchase before they stumble upon them. You can actually use WhatsApp Broadcasts to bring attention to specific products in your store.

Example: “Hi, We just launched our new collection of planners for 2022. Start your year on an organized note with us. Explore them all here: planners.link and get 25% off on all purchases.”

3. Nurture Cold Leads

There is always going to be a segment of online shoppers who visit your store, subscribe for updates or add products to cart and abandon it, or simply forget about your brand over a period of time. These consumers are called cold leads; but you can turn them into successful sales with WhatsApp Broadcasts - share social proof, media features, how-to articles, testimonials from other customers and more.  

Example: “Hi, looks like <product name> is making waves! Celebrity ABC recently featured our products on her Instagram feed and we’re crushing over it. Explore ABC’s picks on our store today!”

4. Collect Customer Feedback

As the owner of an eCommerce store, you should always strive to improve your customers' experience. Collecting feedback from your customers and working on it is the best way to improve the experience you offer to them.

Example: “Hi, thank you for being our valuable customer. We just wanted to reach out to you and request feedback to help us give you a better shopping experience. How would you rate our collection of products on a scale of 1 to 10?”

5. Inform About Important Updates

With WhatsApp Broadcasting, you can quickly notify your customers about any changes to your terms and conditions, shipping, return, and refund policies. Since these impact the customer experience in the longer run, you need to ensure they are read.

Example: "We've made some changes to our return and exchange procedures due to changes in our shipment partners. Don't worry; we're still on your side; we just wanted to make sure you are aware of them. Please read them here: <policy.change>"

6. Share Your Milestones and Achievements

Don’t just use WhatsApp broadcasts to promote deals, discounts, products and push for sales. Also use the communication opportunity to make customers a part of your growth journey. This includes sharing milestones and the smallest of achievements as well.

Example: “Hi, we're glad to inform you that our company has been featured in ABC magazine. We're happy that it's the most popular product this year. Thank you for being part of our journey.”

What’s more? This type of WhatsApp Broadcast message also reinforces the quality your DTC brand has to offer to them. .

Do you need WhatsApp Broadcasts?

Now that you know the difference between WhatsApp Groups and WhatsApp Broadcasts, we’re pretty sure you’re convinced your DTC brand does need WhatsApp Broadcasts.

But don’t take the wrong route, reaching out to third party service providers to send bulk messages to your customers.

If there’s one thing that leading eCommerce companies emphasize on, it is personalization. And yes, personalizing WhatsApp Broadcast messages today is a possibility with an app like QuickReply.ai.


Q1. Can we switch the WhatsApp group to broadcast mode?

Ans: WhatsApp is currently releasing a new feature for its iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps. Group administrators can use this new feature to convert groups into broadcasting channels.

Q2. How do I know if my broadcast message was read?

Ans: If you see two blue ticks next to your sent message, the recipient has read it. When every participant in a group chat or broadcast message has read your message, the ticks turn blue.

Q3. Can a WhatsApp broadcast have two administrators?

Ans: Yes, you can have several admins on Whatsapp broadcast. An admin is a person in charge of a WhatsApp group. He or she has the authority to add or remove people from the group, as well as restrict their activities. While you can have multiple admins in groups, there is no proper admin in the broadcast lists.

To explore how leading brands on Shopify are using QuickReply.ai for WhatsApp Broadcast marketing, install the app or reach out to us for a demo.

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