Ecommerce has grown exponentially over the last few years and is predicted to accelerate in the future. Case in point, in 2021, retail ecommerce sales hit $5.2 trillion worldwide. It is predicted to grow by 56% over the next three years, reaching a whopping $8.1 trillion by 2026.
Now, ecommerce businesses are always on the lookout for new and better ways to reach their audience, and one such approach to elevating ecommerce is conversational commerce.
As we contemplate the future of conversational commerce, we think that WhatsApp commerce stands out, and here’s why.
Why do we think WhatsApp is the future of ecommerce?
1. WhatsApp for business
WhatsApp started off with a simple concept - to enable conversations between people across the world. However, the platform with its simplicity and ease of use became a hit among users so much that businesses started realizing the potential in leveraging WhatsApp to reach out to their customers. However, since WhatsApp was more for simple, straightforward peer to peer communication, there were certain limitations that companies faced while trying to use WhatsApp to communicate to their customers.
Soon enough, Meta saw the opportunity in enabling WhatsApp as a platform for businesses and launched WhatsApp for Business which completely transformed how businesses conversed with their customers.
Today, WhatsApp for Business offers a plethora of features for businesses and has become a key sales channel for companies. Coincidentally, the use of WhatsApp by businesses and ecommerce companies also led to the term ‘WhatsApp Commerce’ being coined.
2. The global audience base
Over 2.24 billion people use WhatsApp monthly, making it one of the most popular messaging apps across the globe. Apart from this, WhatsApp is available in 180 countries and 60 different languages.
Clearly, WhatsApp has quite a strong and global audience base. Now imagine having access to such a huge user base and being able to target them using their interests. This allows you to leverage WhatsApp as a sales channel and sell your products.
3. Easy to communicate with customers
WhatsApp’s popularity as a messaging channel and its ease of use means that communicating with customers has never been easier. You can engage with your customers in real-time and leverage in-app notifications and alerts to send messages to your customers.
In addition to making it so much easier to communicate with customers, you are also able to form strong brand connections since customers can directly reach your brand. All they have to do is initiate a chat; voila, they are conversing with your brand, making conversational WhatsApp commerce a breeze.
4. Features for easy replies and automated messaging
The great thing about WhatsApp is that the app has been able to roll out several critical features for businesses.
For instance, WhatsApp allows you to create message templates and replies for commonly asked questions. Simply leverage these templates to send out quick replies to your customers.
Another great feature of conversational WhatsApp commerce is its automated responses. When communicating with customers, it is important that they be able to reach out to you any time they have a query. WhatsApp allows you to send automated messages in case you are unavailable or unable to reply to your customer with the help of the WhatsApp Business API using QuickReply.ai.
For instance, say you are out of office and will be back only by 9 AM the next day. You can set your automated message to convey that you are OOO as of now but will get back with a reply as soon as you’re back.
Similarly, WhatsApp Business API solution providers also feature robust messaging analytics that allows you to build customized reports based on how critical metrics pan out. By maintaining such reports, you have a complete overview of what’s working and what’s not and can make changes to your campaigns accordingly.
5. Around the clock support
One of the best parts about leveraging WhatsApp for commerce is that it allows you to provide around the clock support to your customers. Just like we mentioned in the previous point, features like automated messaging and message templates go a long way in enabling your support agents to provide quick, real-time support.
You can even enable live chat tools through WhatsApp meaning that you need support agents working 24/7. Instead they can focus on more impactful tasks while the rest is automated using a solution like QuickReply.ai.
Apart from this, using WhatsApp also means that your customers no longer have to rely on traditional methods of contact support agents such as IVRs, emails, or wait in queues. After all, customer support is just a message away and is instantly accessible.
The future of commerce, without question, is personalization. Customers expect brands to know their personal preferences and interests and tailor product and service offerings to align with these interests. Personalization is also a great way to elevate customer satisfaction.
The advantage of using conversational WhatsApp commerce is that you can easily understand customer personas and preferences since it facilitates one to one conversations between brands and their customers.
Features such as real-time notifications and in-app alerts help to notify customers when products are in stock or when a new offer has been released and also to relay information regarding restocking, delivery, and more.
For instance, say a customer places an order for groceries through WhatsApp with a popular online retail store. The customer continuously gets notified as to whether the order is confirmed, when it is packed, and when it is shipped.
This makes the end-to-end buyer’s journey a seamless experience.
Additionally, you can add another level to personalization by including the customer’s name within your text messages.
7. Payment features
Another advantage of WhatsApp commerce is that it provides customers with an easy option to make payments. Customers are not forced to use one platform to confirm the purchase of their products and make payments on a completely different one. Instead they can make purchases and payments through a single platform, thus reducing the hurdles a customer has to go through when purchasing online.
8. Manage customer data with ease
Data is an integral cog in the wheel when selling your products and services. With WhatsApp you can easily capture and store important data without a hitch. You can keep going back to customer data to analyze customer preferences and integrate these insights into your ad campaigns to enable customers to get highly relevant information regarding your products.
9. Security and privacy
One of the most important aspects for online shoppers is stringent security and privacy of data irrespective of the platform used. The Whatsapp business application is required to adhere to the local security and compliance regulations across the countries it operates in.
Aside from this, WhatsApp itself has a complete end-to-end encryption system to protect users’ identity and privacy.
This means that users need not give a second thought to their security when using WhatsApp for commerce since their data is not only protected by WhatsaApp’s own encryption but also the local laws of their country or region.
10. Decrease cart abandonment rates
A large fraction of incomplete purchases due to cart abandonment occurs among mobile users. And the reason is that when a user makes purchases through smartphones, the screen size and interface is much smaller and can become a challenging experience for mobile users.
A few other common reasons for cart abandonment can also be traced back to unexpected added costs, items going out of stock just before purchase, delayed delivery timelines, and so on.
The great thing about using WhatsApp conversational commerce is that you can continuously remind your customers regarding products in their cart. You can send out notifications whenever a product is back in stock or alert them when there is a huge sale or discount going on. Additionally, WhatsApp payments also allows users to complete their purchases seamlessly within the app, thus reducing the likelihood of cart abandonment and increasing conversion rates in the process.
11. Give customers an immersive shopping experience
Over the last few years we’ve gone from offline shopping to what we now call contactless shopping. However, the problem with contactless, virtual shopping is that there is little to no human interactions involved. This means that customers lack any form of assistance when shopping.
However, the best part about WhatsApp commerce is that you can promote your products using the product catalog feature. This feature allows you to add photos, pricing, videos, and other key aspects of your product and showcase it to your customers with ease. You can also add descriptions of products, making it easy for your customers to browse your online offerings and choose as per their liking.
As we discussed before, the ecommerce industry is growing rapidly and how. However, despite the popularity of online shopping, we cannot simply take away the importance of physical touch and being able to get the feel of products while shopping. Apart from this, consumers also find it important to be able to talk to the brand before deciding to make a purchase from them.
In such cases, WhatsApp plays a key role in enabling conversational commerce which is undoubtedly the future.
If you’re looking to turn your conversations with consumers into sales opportunities then look no further. Simply book a demo with our experts and discover how you can get more shoppers to your store.