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How businesses can tap the potential of WhatsApp to boost revenue

At TechSparks Mumbai 2024, AiSensy’s Gautam Rajesh Shelley and Meta’s Arzan Singpurwalla discussed effective strategies to enhance engagement and revenue through WhatsApp marketing.

How businesses can tap the potential of WhatsApp to boost revenue

Thursday April 18, 2024 , 4 min Read

In a world where businesses cannot afford to ignore digital interaction, the focus on using platforms such as WhatsApp to generate income has become intense.

Industry insiders Gautam Rajesh Shelley, Founder, AiSensyArzan Singpurwalla, Partnerships Lead-Business Messaging, Meta; and Ramarko Sengupta, Senior Editor, YourStory; discussed the growth of corporate messaging and creative ways WhatsApp is being used to open up income streams. Their observations, at the Mumbai edition of TechSparks 2024, highlight the revolutionary potential of WhatsApp marketing and engagement techniques driven by AI.

The WhatsApp advantage

In the late 1990s, internet and online purchases were rare. By the early 2000s, mobile phones became popular, leading to app development, but few companies succeeded in retaining customers.

Even today, the largest ecommerce brands in the country don't have more than 100-150 million monthly active users. WhatsApp has over half a billion users who use [it] daily. So there is a huge gap where brands can do outreach to audiences who use this app. People spend close to little under two hours a day or only on WhatsApp,said Singpurwalla, underscoring how the pandemic accelerated this realisation among brands, compelling them to capitalise on the platform's ubiquity and intimacy to drive meaningful engagement and transactions.

Adoption among small businesses

The conversation transitioned to the adoption of WhatsApp among small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Shelley elucidated how SMBs are embracing WhatsApp as a powerful tool for customer acquisition, onboarding, engagement, retention, and monetisation.

He outlined key strategies such as click-to-WhatsApp ads, automation of onboarding notifications, and leveraging WhatsApp Payments and Forms for seamless transactions and customer interactions across the entire sales cycle.

For acquisition, everyone should try out WhatsApp ads. That is the best way you can generate 3-5X leads. Second, you should have a website button. You should have a web link and a QR code that routes to WhatsApp. Next is onboarding; you can automate notifications for onboarding someone to sign up on your app. The third is engagement, which is officially basically broadcasting and retargeting remarketing; then comes retention and monetisation for which WhatsForms by WhatsApp payments have now come up,highlighted Shelley.

Innovation and future trends

Singpurwalla discussed WhatsApp's recent advancements, including rich consumer experience interfaces like WhatsApp Flows, native checkouts for in-app purchases, and features like catalogue browsing, and message scheduling.

We now have the ability for brands to enable native checkouts for consumers within WhatsApp itself through any payment gateway, without having to redirect them to a third party app or a website. Once a brand does that, that is a 30 to 40% drop-off; you're not able to complete a transaction just because you're moving out of WhatsApp onto a third-party surface, like an app or a website. So that is one solid innovation,he said.

These innovations aim to enhance user experience, streamline transactions, and drive higher engagement and conversions for businesses.

Maximising ROI on WhatsApp

Singpurwalla and Shelley highlighted the significant ROI potential of WhatsApp, compared to legacy channels like SMS and email. They emphasised WhatsApp's higher open and click-through rates, as well as its versatility across various stages of the customer journey.

Businesses can ensure meaningful interactions that yield tangible results by leveraging WhatsApp's capabilities and respecting user privacy and consent.

Tackling spam and ensuring relevance

During the panel discussion, the participants talked about two important topics related to WhatsApp messaging: spam and maintaining message relevance.

Singpurwalla emphasised the significance of obtaining user consent before sending them messages. He suggested that businesses should focus on delivering timely and relevant messages to ensure that their messages are not blocked or marked as spam. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of optimising read rates and user engagement through AI-driven insights and smart recommendation engines.

WhatsApp is a communication technology that gives businesses the ability to design a way of interacting with consumers. As a business, you need to respect the fact that when you're doing an outreach to your audience, you have to take consent because you're entering a private space. And, if you've taken consent, you're sending a relevant and timely message. And that is expected by the user, there's a very high chance you'll get super ROI,said Singpurwalla, adding that not taking user consent is why numbers get blocked.