Marketing with the messenger

Selling via WhatsApp

The messaging service WhatsApp offers new opportunities to get in touch with customers and sell products. Conversational commerce also offers a lot of potential for furnishing companies.

May 07 2021

The old chest is to become something very special. But can the piece of furniture be painted with this white colour or is that rather not recommended? And how much paint will I need? The customer is at a loss - and contacts the company via WhatsApp.  

WhatsApp? That's the messaging service that is mainly used for private chats and is a subsidiary of Facebook. In fact, WhatsApp is becoming increasingly interesting for companies as well. They can use it to communicate quickly with customers, offer products and services, present promotions and strengthen their brand in their online presence. 

This is what the German online colour retailer MissPompadour is already doing successfully: every day, around 500 enquiries are processed via WhatsApp; direct communication with customers also leads to sales, they say. The medium-sized company has meanwhile permanently incorporated the channel as a marketing tool.  

It works like in the example mentioned above: questions about the use of the product can be handled easily via WhatsApp. The customer knows that the chosen colour is suitable and how much of it he will need.  

The advantages of WhatsApp 

Quick, simple, personal - these are the advantages of WhatsApp. And it is precisely these characteristics that now make the service interesting for businesses. Apart from the fact that WhatsApp is becoming more important in companies themselves as a rapid communication tool, it is also of increasing importance as a sales and communication channel.

Facebook has recognised the potential that lies dormant in business via WhatsApp. After all, two billion people worldwide use this messenger and around 175 million send at least one message with it every day. The first step towards its use in business was the WhatsApp business app, which was already introduced in 2018 and is particularly interesting for small to medium-sized companies.

Among other things, you can use it to create a catalogue of products and services, answer questions from customers and automate messages. Recently, a shopping button was also introduced for the app, which can be used to order goods directly in the chat.   

Berlin start-up builds on WhatsApp 

An entire ecosystem is emerging around WhatsApp. For example, the Berlin start-up Charles has specialised in so-called conversational commerce; WhatsApp is also used as a sales channel for this purpose. With the help of the Charles solution, which functions as software as a service (it is provided via the Internet and does not have to be installed), companies can offer their customers, among other things, the ordering of products, the tracking of deliveries or the sending of personal messages.  

What is Conversational Commerce? 

What is behind this Conversational Commerce, which is already seen as the next big trend in e-commerce and for which WhatsApp is an important way of implementation?  

The basic idea: just like in a real shop, customers should be able to chat with salespeople when shopping online, and the advice should feel personal and authentic. This works with the help of social messaging, i.e. via WhatsApp or other services such as Facebook Messenger. Chatbots can be used, but it is always important to build long-term customer loyalty.  

Another example of the use of WhatsApp in the furniture industry is Kare: The Munich furniture store - just like the previously mentioned paint specialist MissPompadour - promotes the messaging service quite eagerly. Customers and potential new customers can use it to ask specific questions about orders or products, check the availability of the desired furniture or order goods.

Such an application is interesting for furniture retailers, for example, in connection with the increasingly important click-and-collect concepts: this gives customers the certainty of being noticed.

Author: Robert Prazak

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