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How Retailers Can Benefit from WhatsApp Customer Engagement

To stay ahead of the game, retailers must constantly explore new, innovative ways to communicate and connect with their customers. WhatsApp, the global messaging giant, is fast becoming a fantastic platform to facilitate this. With nearly three billion users worldwide, WhatsApp allows retailers an opportunity to engage directly, quickly and personally, with their customers, fostering WhatsApp customer engagement.

So how can retailers use best practices when it comes to enhancing their customer engagement on WhatsApp? Executing this correctly can lead to an easier way to streamline communication, reduce friction points for their customers and ultimately, drive sales. 

Understanding WhatsApp as a Retail Engagement Channel

As the world’s most popular global mobile messenger app, as highlighted in a 2023 report by Statista, WhatsApp’s presence across multiple demographics is a potentially lucrative channel for all retailers. 

Whereas some platforms such as social media can be niche pockets of particular types of customers, WhatsApp encompasses a huge range of age groups, geographical locations and communication preferences. While Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha prefer Snapchat, and Baby Boomers prefer in-store experiences, all likely have WhatsApp on mobile devices.

WhatsApp has managed to become such a force due to many factors, the first being its incredibly easy usability. With user-friendly features, the platform’s group chats and broadcast lists enable efficient communication dissemination to a wide audience effectively.

There’s also the chance to use the WhatsApp Business API to develop even more advanced functionality for a business.  One key use is the chance to have automated responses, ensuring customers feel acknowledged but also allowing them the chance to leave messages and offer async communication for any customer queries, complaints or assistance, at the touch of a few buttons.

There’s no waiting on a phone, or with a chat box open on a home page, a customer can simply type their message and receive a response directly to them, keeping all communication tied together, linked to their telephone number or email address to build a bigger data profile. What does this mean? It means a happy customer, with a level of personalisation that is hard to achieve through these other channels. 

whatsapp customer engagement for retailers to engage directly, quickly and personably

Another benefit is the end-to-end encryption of WhatsApp. This secure communication is a crucial factor for both customers and companies. Customers can share personal information, enhancing the relationship with you, knowing that the app is backed by solid security. 

Also, the ability to send multimedia such as video, photos, PDF and other file types over messages allows for a richer, easier-to-access, repository of information points for customers and retailers alike. This allows for a better, more engaging and streamlined conversation, preventing the customer from having to click or open other apps, browsers, etc to get answers to their questions. 

Integrating WhatsApp into Your Customer Engagement Strategy 

If you are interested in adopting WhatsApp as part of your omnichannel strategy the first thing to do is set up a WhatsApp Business account. 

Designed for small businesses, this version of the app offers a range of tools tailored for commercial use. Signing up involves verifying a business phone number and creating a profile for your business. This includes information such as opening times, store addresses and a brief description of what your business offers. 

Following set up you can begin to leverage the features of the platform. There’s the “Quick Replies’ feature which allows you to save and reuse frequent messages, helping to speed up response times that can be used to answer any frequently asked questions. You can also organise your chats for easy management using the “Labels”. As well as keeping the WhatsApp space tidy, it also allows for different teams to use the platform efficiently. Customer service, social media and marketing can have what’s relevant to them, allowing customer interaction to be more efficient, professional and most importantly relevant. 

Once you are set up you can also integrate other tools, like refive, to enhance interaction with customers. refive’s digital receipts and data capture capabilities offer a unique way to enhance your interaction with customers post-purchase.

Customers access their digital receipts via QR codes, eliminating the need to share personal data at checkout for enhanced privacy. They can then choose to receive/save their digital receipt to WhatsApp. Linking this action with WhatsApp availability enables ongoing communication with your customers through special offers, loyalty codes, and feedback requests.

Strategies to Attract Customers to Your WhatsApp Channel

If you are signed up with WhatsApp then you may be wondering how to increase and promote your WhatsApp channel. This can be achieved by digital options like including it on your social media channels, or website or in-store touchpoints. For offline methods, include the WhatsApp number in physical stores using incentives such as exclusive deals and early access to sales via WhatsApp.

Other options include giveaways and competitions with WhatsApp entry options or offering personalised customer service with recommendations and styling tips. 

If using refive as part of your omnichannel strategy you can include a call-to-action to join the retail WhatsApp channel. Additionally, the data analysis offered by refive can help you tailor promotion strategies for WhatsApp, ensuring targeted outreach.

Best Practices for Engaging Customers on WhatsApp

WhatsApp offers a personal and professional platform, requiring a balanced engagement approach for effective customer interaction.

Maintaining a friendly tone while being respectful of the customer’s time and privacy is key. Each communication must be intentional, thoughtful and timed correctly. Being concise and contextual must be considered and over-communication should be avoided. 

Avoid sending messages too early in the morning or late at night. It’s also important and a legal must to respect the customer’s choice to opt out of communication.

Finally, respecting a customer’s privacy is paramount. Ensure that you have consent before sending messages and that you protect customer data in compliance with privacy laws.

Engaging On WhatsApp Can Be Transformative For Retailers

Leveraging WhatsApp for customer engagement offers a fantastic opportunity for retailers to engage in a personal, direct, and secure manner. Using WhatsApp by promoting and using best practices can rapidly enhance your customer service offerings as a retailer. By deepening that customer relationship, you can associate your brand with the same communication methods used by their closest friends and family.

Discover how refive can integrate with WhatsApp and your overall strategy, get in touch today for a free demo

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