On a press conference held by WhatsApp in New Delhi, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, revealed that WhatsApp crossed 400 million users in India. A spokesperson from WhatsApp confirmed that the platform indeed had more than 400 million monthly active users in the country.
In 2 years, WhatsApp has doubled its user base from 200 million in 2017 to 400 million in 2019. According to research firm Counterpoint, India has about 450 million smartphone users, and it is estimated that India has over 500 million internet users.
With these growing numbers and WhatsApp’s penetration, below are sectors that will be impacted and adopt WhatsApp in coming days,
- Customer Relationship
- Social Commerce
- Crowd Funding
Any B2C business which needs to continually be in touch with customers to keep their service updated will like to use WhatsApp. We have already seen players like BookMyShow, RedBus, Shopclues, MakeMyTrip etc. using WhatsApp to show updates on reminders, booking status, delivery status, offers/promotions etc.
With advanced spam filters and tools, when it comes to traditional channels like E-mail and SMS, there is always issue with deliverability and opening rate. With WhatsApp Business API opening up for more and more businesses, we can see WhatsApp taking over E-mail and SMS slowly in the coming days.
Social Commerce is going to be the next big thing in India, and over $100 million funding has flown in that sector in the last couple of months. Social Commerce platforms like GlowRoad and Meesho, which is built on top of WhatsApp for social selling will see a significant impact on the growth of WhatsApp.
GlowRoad’s founder Kunal Sinha, said, their majority users come from Tier II, III and IV cities where traditional channels like e-mail is not a friendly way to reach users, and WhatsApp is a game-changer.
Facebook also recently announced that they are building their own cryptocurrency and payment gateway, which would be used in creating a better e-commerce experience in social media.
Crowd Funding platform’s success depends on the volume of the word spread about the cause or campaign to users at low cost and to do this, there could be no better channel than WhatsApp. WhatsApp also helps in creating a conversational window which helps to break the trust barrier, as customers usually ask a lot of questions before making a donation.
Milaap has already tried WhatsApp Business API to create a conversational approach and saw 2x higher gross donation in WhatsApp when compared to traditional channels.
E-Commerce is one of the fastest-growing markets in India with the potential to become a $220 billion market by 2025. E-commerce can use WhatsApp as a medium for creating a better post-sales experience and cross-sell products.
Once the user purchased a product and had a better experience with a site, the probability of their purchasing again is high. Currently, e-commerce uses a traditional way like E-mail, SMS and Push notifications to retain users – but WhatsApp could win these mediums hands down.
Another major challenge in Tier II and III cities are the slower internet speed, and if the e-commerce player can provide the same experience of browsing products within WhatsApp, it could increase their conversion significantly.
Retail business can simplify their shopping experience with WhatsApp. With the increase in online shopping sites, retail stores are facing issues with footfall. If they can create an experience in WhatsApp where they keep the user informed about collections, stocks, price, offers, promotions, etc. it could be a game-changer to their customer acquisition game.
Few players in India tried to bring offline experience online, but none which saw limelight. With the penetration of WhatsApp, we could see a few big players in this space.