Since launching over a decade ago, WhatsApp has grown in popularity worldwide.
As the global user base of the chat app has continued to grow, its platform has also expanded. After adding features like group chat and video features, the platform quickly became a place where brands could interact directly with consumers.
Due to the booming popularity of WhatsApp, one of the biggest functions so far was introduced in 2019: a special app called WhatsApp Business. This app, which had five million active users in its first year, is similar to the consumer version of WhatsApp. However, companies can create a public company profile that contains links to e-commerce shops and a catalog with product photos.
But WhatsApp didn't stop at business sites. In 2020, the company started introducing an online payment function. The function was already started in the Brazilian app, but will ultimately be expanded worldwide.
According to the brand, the WhatsApp payment tool can accept payments from brands with WhatsApp business sites for a processing fee of 3.99%.
One of the main reasons why WhatsApp's payment feature, which is based on Facebook Pay's transaction software, is first introduced in Brazil is that WhatsApp can learn more about how local benefits can benefit from chat transactions. Before this launch, WhatsApp was already one of the top messaging platforms in Brazil and has been used by a number of brands to reach the audience in this region.
"Over 10 million small and micro businesses are the heartbeat of the Brazilian communities. It has become a matter of course to send a Zap to a company to answer questions. In addition to viewing a store's catalog, customers can now also send payments for products too simplifying payments can help bring more businesses into the digital economy and open up new growth opportunities, "said a WhatsApp blog post.
Below I will explain how the payment function works and how brands can use it as part of their WhatsApp or mobile messaging strategies.
How the WhatsApp payment function works
Since the payment function is supported by the Facebook Pay software, sending a payment via WhatsApp is similar to sending a payment via Facebook.
To give you a better idea of how the tool works when viewed on global WhatsApp platforms, I will first walk you through what the consumer sees.
As with Facebook Pay, WhatsApp users must enter their MasterCard or Visa information in the settings area of their profile. Users do not need Facebook to use the WhatsApp function. However, the two companies are working on an integration that allows users to submit a payment method for both platforms to Facebook Pay instead of having to enter the same information twice.
In addition to adding a credit or debit card, users must also provide information for the bank account where their payments are received. Currently, users need an account with one of the three Brazilian WhatsApp banking partners to receive or send money. However, as the function is extended to different countries, WhatsApp will work with banks in every new area.
Once payment information is added, users can open a chat thread with a friend, go to the message box, and tap a payment button. From there, you can enter the amount you want to send and send it to your contact without any additional transaction fees.
Before the transaction is completed, WhatsApp asks the senders to confirm their identity with a six-digit PIN or a fingerprint.
Although WhatsApp hasn't gone into much detail about what this feature will look like for brands, the announcement suggests that shoppers can start chatting with a company – as they would with a friend, discuss a product or service, and then safely make a purchase directly in chat.
Now that you know a little about how WhatsApp payments work, here are some of the benefits that this feature can offer your business.
How brands can benefit from WhatsApp payments
1. Chatting with customers can lead to immediate purchases.
Every day, conversation marketers and community managers answer a handful of questions asked in social media posts, comment threads, and direct messages. In the meantime, sales reps can communicate with potential customers via email, Slack, WhatsApp, or another form of direct messaging.
While modern technology offers a number of ways to communicate with potential customers, there can still be significant friction points at the end of the chat. After that point in time, the representative or marketer must have the prospect of going to an e-commerce website or landing page, entering their personal information and buying the product or service. When potential customers spend a lot of time chatting with business representatives but ultimately don't buy the product, the time it takes to send messages can feel like a huge waste.
WhatsApp's payment tool eliminates some of the friction between a chat and a purchase. Instead of sending potential customers links to your WhatsApp business catalog or ecommerce website and hoping they click, research the product, add it to the cart, and buy it, you can give them all the information they may need , and answer all of your questions. and then offer them the opportunity to purchase a product or service directly in chat.
2. The WhatsApp payment tool offers local businesses new or additional sources of income.
As WhatsApp noted in its announcement, consumers in Brazil already contacted brands, asked questions, received product recommendations, and even sent their payment details in chats before WhatsApp added the option for a full transaction. WhatsApp is also a common way for people in Brazil to get to know and interact with local businesses or businesses that may not have full e-commerce websites.
For small and local businesses that deal with online sales, WhatsApp offers a new source of income where they don't have to create a robust online catalog or website. You can now promote your business and current products, chat with potential customers and sell products on one platform.
For example, if you own a small or local business, or work as a marketer for it, especially in a region where WhatsApp is widely used, you can promote your brand with a company page and online product catalog by creating a business account. If a user is interested in one of your catalog items, you can experiment with the processing of online purchases from there for the first time.
If you already have an e-commerce website, you can use a WhatsApp business account to promote your online store and use your catalog and chat features to highlight or sell certain items, e.g. B. Products that are new to the shop
3. Marketers and brands can better track customer trips and ROI.
Now that customers can learn more about a brand, chat with them, and shop directly on WhatsApp, brands can use previous threads to learn more about which chats lead to purchases, which don't, and how much ROI they get WhatsApp payments – even with that Service fee.
When brands are on their way to digital transformation, it's important to learn how to engage and transform customers. Now that the buyer's entire journey can take place on WhatsApp, brands can get a better idea of why consumers are converting and what might be keeping them from a conversion path.
When a brand tests a marketing campaign on WhatsApp, that company isn't limited to sending URLs to track online stores to determine how successful their marketing content has been. If a user who interacts with the WhatsApp campaign also makes a purchase via a private chat, this can also be tracked as an ROI.
On WhatsApp, marketers and salespeople can use chats to get to know the user, inform them about great purchases, and ultimately build the trust that is needed to turn the person into a customer.
Alternatively, although a brand can simply end a chat after a customer makes a payment, they can check back in to let a customer know that their package has been shipped, check in to see how the product works, and let them know inform you of new offers or products that you might be interested in later. This method, in turn, could lead to upselling, more shopping, and more brand trust.
If you'd like to use WhatsApp's payment tool after it's fully launched, keep in mind that continuing customer relationships offers significant benefits instead of simply canceling the chat after you've received the money.
Bring the buyer's journey to WhatsApp Chat
Now that WhatsApp enables users to better discover, learn about, interact with, and pay for brands through WhatsApp Business, the platform has made the buyer's journey completely mobile.
As a marketer or sales representative, it is your job to help the potential customer with their questions and guide them through the buyer's journey. With the WhatsApp payment feature, you can move them more smoothly from a lead to a customer. You can then continue to use chat and other WhatsApp features to build a brand-customer relationship, so the buyer's journey and brand trust remain after the first purchase.
Read this post on effective WhatsApp marketing campaigns and this WhatsApp for Business guide to learn more about how you can use WhatsApp to guide users through the customer funnel. Still not sure if a messaging platform like WhatsApp is right for your marketing or sales strategy? You can learn more about this landscape from this list of messaging app statistics.