More than 100 billion WhatsApp messages are sent out on a daily basis, throughout its 195 countries of service. WhatsApp’s continuously expanding business offering provides massive opportunities for ecommerce stores, specifically.
How WhatsApp is changing the ecommerce industry
Most people in the ecommerce industry will be familiar with the following story: email open rates are not what they used to be. And commercial SMS messages, as a potential alternative, are difficult to deliver accurately in a lot of countries.
Besides, email and SMS are collectively being opened for reading at 21.33% on average, as per Mailchimp. WhatsApp, on the other hand, is performing at a staggering 98% open rate.
This might make you wonder:
Why aren’t all ecommerce businesses using WhatsApp marketing? It’s a good question. Many businesses are currently missing out on the vast amounts of valuable customer communication WhatsApp has to offer.
But the tide is turning, as more and more big brands are turning to WhatsApp for customer communication.
Especially now that 3rd party cookies on their way out, brands are searching for new retargeting opportunities. And when you find out WhatsApp generally achieves click-through rates of 45-60%, you might even ask yourself:
Why did it take this long for businesses to start offering WhatsApp-first communications to their customers?
Zuckerberg: "WhatsApp is really going to be the next chapter”
It seems WhatsApp is finally gathering momentum for its business offering. Marc Zuckerberg even coined it “the next chapter” for Meta in a recent interview with CNBC.
Meta is seeing how small- to medium-sized businesses can use WhatsApp to drive personalised 1-on-1 messaging, at scale. This creates a great experience for the end-customer — on top of providing massively profitable business use cases.
In the interview Zuckerberg explains his company is betting on “business messaging and commerce being a big thing” for the future.
One of the ways in which Meta is scaling monetization is their latest initiative: click-to-message advertising.
This format allows advertisers, especially small- to medium-sized businesses, to open direct conversations with their prospective customers using Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp.
But this isn’t all WhatsApp has to offer ecommerce businesses.
Here’s how WhatsApp marketing helps ecommerce businesses
Click-to-message advertising is just one of the examples of how WhatsApp marketing is helping ecommerce businesses.
The following 3 core features are already widely used:
The ability to use WhatsApp’s extensive API allows 3rd party apps to turn customer data from your webshop or CRM into highly personalised messaging. This allows for time or event-based messaging, reaching the right audience at the perfect time.
Broadcast messages to groups of people through WhatsApp and replace or enhance your broad, 1-to-many communications with a WhatsApp message.
Quick and easy conversations
Whether you want to set up a chatbot or have a real human available, with WhatsApp you can take care of all incoming customer support requests, sales conversations and requests for product information.
Do note that broadcasts through WhatsApp shouldn't become a rehashed version of your existing newsletter. This kind of approach is used all too often and leads to unsubscribes and lost conversions.
Businesses sometimes view WhatsApp as an opportunity to reach those who ignored their newsletter, and end up coming across spammy.
Instead, WhatsApp marketing should be an opportunity for you to enhance your online store’s user experience. Build 1-on-1 relationships instead of spamming customers with unwanted content.
An example of product sale updates on WhatsApp
WhatsApp business use cases for ecommerce
Looking at the core functionality of WhatsApp Business, a little imagination can go a long way in coming up with use cases for ecommerce. Especially considering the ability to operate as a single business entity, using several phones, from one and the same WhatsApp number.
Add to this the ability to send out messages to up to a million users simultaneously, and you have some serious marketing potential.
We’ve found these to be five of the most impactful use cases of using WhatsApp for ecommerce businesses today:
Back in stock notifications
These notifications proactively bring back customers after they've given a notice they were looking for a certain product, which was out of stock at the time.
Abandoned cart reminders
These notifications are a simple way to help customers who got distracted during their buying process finish their purchase. Drive them back to your store with a WhatsApp message, so they can finish checking out their abandoned cart.
Product sale updates
Whether someone was actively looking at a product and found it too expensive, or there's a upcoming discount all customers need to know about, these updates can draw maximum attention to a product sale.
Updates about a new offering
Notify customers about news brands being introduced, new collection releases by their favourite brands, or the latest version of their go-to sneaker. These updates can be highly personalised and targeted, but may also serve as newsletter-style broadcasts.
With WhatsApp messaging and a mobile-friendly website, users can go from receiving a discount code to making a purchase in minutes. The effectiveness of this tactic makes it a very interesting use case to run some tests with.
Examples of successful WhatsApp marketing campaigns for ecommerce
As with all possibilities and features a platform offers, actual use cases are the best inspiration. That’s why we’ve handpicked a few examples showcasing the power of WhatsApp marketing for ecommerce.
International streetwear giant Patta
Top-notch sneaker freak brand Patta has become a major force on the global streetwear scene, since being founded in 2004 by Dutch sneakerheads Edson Sabajo and Guillaume Schmidt.
As WhatsApp showed great potential, they grabbed the opportunity to get ahead of the game and put their own spin on ecommerce marketing.
Patta now uses ShopPop's Button to Drawer widget, sending their fans WhatsApp notifications about new collection drops. The latest drop, for Patta x New Balance, had open rates of over 70%.
Minimalist footwear brand ETQ
At ETQ, minimalism is the name of the game. Footwear is designed in Amsterdam and then made by hand in Portugal, with love for detail, quality, and sustainable production.
Their Shopify build matches the minimalistic aesthetics of their sneakers, and fully captures their brand’s identity.
ETQ sends out automated back in stock notifications on WhatsApp, through ShopPop. These notifications are converting at a staggering 50% of total opt-ins.
An example of back in stock notifications on WhatsApp
And to add to this, they're also using a widget on checkout pages which lets customers sign up to receive WhatsApp notifications about new collection drops. These notifications perform at an average open rate of over 70%
Fast-growing women's watch brand Burker Watches
Burker Watches is a young, fast-growing watch brand for women. Moving with the times gets a whole new meaning at Burker Watches.
Based in the fashionable city of Amsterdam, they passionately design watches that make sure fashion and design are accessible to every woman, now and in the future.
Burker currently sends out automated back in stock notifications and abandoned cart reminders on WhatsApp. The abandoned cart reminders are seeing open rates of 72.1% and conversion rates of 26.1%.
Thousands of euros in otherwise lost revenue can be attributed to these simple WhatsApp reminders. How's that for an innovative ecommerce marketing strategy?
Have you considered adding WhatsApp to your marketing mix?
Hopefully you’ve gotten inspired through reading about WhatsApp’s potential and gained some insights and new ideas for your ecommerce business.
If you’re looking to launch your own WhatsApp marketing campaigns on Shopify, we’d be happy to show you what’s possible.
If you’d rather try everything out yourself, that’s just as easy. Simply sign up for a free account here to add new chat marketing channels to your Shopify store.
Note: this blog was originally published by ShopPop
WhatsApp’s continuously expanding business offering provides massive opportunities for ecommerce stores, specifically.