With over 1.2 billion active users, the messaging giant WhatsApp is introducing a new update that will allow businesses to monetize on the fastest growing means of communication — messaging. A beta-version of Whatsapp for Business has already been put into works earlier this year allowing select companies to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, order confirmations, payment links and other updates via the messaging system. The rumour mill has it that the public version is set to roll out at the start of 2018.
Offering accounts to businesses is not just an attempt to keep their edge, but a market necessity. Research conducted by Nielsen has shown that almost 70 percent of the people questioned were already expecting to be able to direct message with businesses over Whatsapp within the next two years. Time is ticking.
Businesses will be able to receive a verified account denoted by a green checkmark confirming that WhatsApp has cross-checked their phone number and it belongs to a legitimate business account, much like verified Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Move Over Email, There’s A New Boss in Town
The benefits of Whatsapp for businesses are manyfold. Over 42 percent of all 18–29 year olds with a smartphone have reported using messaging apps like WhatsApp. With people constantly on their phones, direct messaging with WhatsApp business accounts will mean a greater reach of users and higher engagement. Every marketer will attest to the frustrations that come with the average 15 percent open rate of sales and promotional emails, leaving a large chunk lying dormant in customer inboxes. This will soon become history. Ensuring you are using relevant content for your target audience (and avoiding the pitfalls of over spamming), direct messaging means a higher percentage of potential users actually receiving and reading content and a good use of marketing resources.
More importantly, WhatsApp will allow business-to-client experiences to become more personal and create an upper hand over the competition in the ever fervent race of faster response times, enhanced customer convenience and a streamlined user experience.
The Reviews Are In
Of the early adopters, Dutch airline KLM is using WhatsApp for businesses allowing their users to receive flight updates, booking confirmations, check-in notifications, boarding passes, and flight status updates via the messaging system. And they don’t look to be slowing down. They have expanded on the platform and presently offer customer support over Whatsapp in 9 different languages 24/7.
Indian online ticketing service BookMyShow has made the messaging integration accessible to 25 percent of their user base allowing ticket confirmation to be received via a WhatsApp message from a verified account. Pleased with the success, BookMyShow has confirmed they will make WhatsApp a default ticket confirmation channel for all its users in the near future.
Accept Payments via Whatsapp
Extending beyond updates and purchase confirmations, perhaps the easiest way to monetize on Whatsapp’s new release is to offer customers a secure payment gateway via the messaging system itself. Sendbee provides just that.
Set to launch with the official release of Whatsapp for businesses in early 2018, Sendbee is one of the first platforms that will allow small and medium-sized businesses to provide their customers with a safe and simple way to finalize a purchase with in-chat payments.
Businesses will no longer need to direct customers to their online shop, Paypal or Bank Wire to finalize sales. Customers will be able to pay instantly without leaving WhatsApp. To make payment link creation even easier, businesses will also able to create a product catalog and send product payment links directly to their customer’s WhatsApp numbers. By eliminating unnecessary extra steps, Sendbee helps streamline the purchasing experience and overall user satisfaction.